About us

Our non-profit volunteer organisation Društvo za zaštitu životinja Dubrovnik was founded in 2001. Our first goal was achieved when we were able to close the Mišići facility for animals in Dubrovnik. It was a terrible place where animals died in horrible conditions or were killed by the people who were in charge. After the facility closed, volunteers rescued the remaining animals. We brought them into foster care and worked hard to adopt them all to their forever homes.

In 2004, with the permission from the City of Dubrovnik, we were able to use the space on a hill named Žarkovica to build a new animal shelter. Located above Dubrovnik, we built Žarkovica Animal Shelter with volunteers and our own materials.

 
Dogs at the shelter

Dogs at the shelter

The dogs get a sea view but it isn’t 5 star accommodation

The dogs get a sea view but it isn’t 5 star accommodation

 

All these years later, the shelter survives in very harsh conditions. We don't have electricity or running water and the shelter is exposed to strong winds and thunderstorms. It is freezing cold in winter and scorching hot in the summer. Yet the dogs are thriving because of the love and care of the Žarkovica family.

 
Container that a volunteer lives in at the shelter

Container that a volunteer lives in at the shelter

Winter is so cold at the shelter that sometimes the water freezes

Winter is so cold at the shelter that sometimes the water freezes

 

The average number of dogs in the shelter is around 300. All dogs are regularly vaccinated, microchipped and castrated. Volunteers spend 24 hours a day with the dogs and they are all very well socialized, friendly and ready for adoption.

In addition to the daily running of the shelter, volunteers are working on many animal welfare campaigns. We promote animal welfare, we educate children, organize humanitarian concerts and exhibitions, we promote veganism and protection of farm animals and we advocate a ban on testing on animals, hunting, circuses, zoos etc.

Our organisation 'Društvo za zaštitu životinja' also helps injured and sick wild animals. They get medical help when it is needed and after recovery, they are returned to nature.

We also have feeding stations for cats and we currently have over 250 cats/kittens in our care. When we have the financial resources, we also run Trap-neuter-release programs for street cats. When we come across street cats that require special care who can't live on the street, we place them in foster care in the homes of our volunteers.

According to Croatian animal welfare law, the City of Dubrovnik must have a City animal shelter for stray animals to go to. But obviously they don't recognise the importance of animal care as there is currently no animal shelter provided by the City of Dubrovnik. We are proud and happy that we can [with hard work from our volunteers] help the City of Dubrovnik - the worldwide famous tourist destination to be more successful because abandoned animals on the streets don't go well together with the tourism.

With all projects of Društvo za zaštitu životinja Dubrovnik, volunteers have invested their own funds. But as the volume of work needed has increased, we have needed more help. We are fortunate to have support from our friends from around the world – donors, volunteers, adopters and all other people who have helped in different ways, recognising and supporting our work. We couldn't succeed without the incredible support that we receive.

Come visit us at Žarkovica Animal Shelter. You will never forget your time with us. You may even find your new furry best friend!

 
Entrance to the shelter

Entrance to the shelter

 

This website was made by an animal-lover from Sydney, Australia with the help of donors of this campaign, Craig Derrick for taking amazing photos of the animals waiting for adoption, idivity, Tina Duk, Steve Enstone, Kerry Jones, Claire Scannell, Annie Curran, other contributors and photographers and Sandra Sambrailo for her selfless dedication to saving animals.