The entire structure for the shelter was financed and built by the Italian animal welfare organization “LIDA Sezione Olbia” on the dusty land near the airport Olbia.
The Rifugio should be a haven for brethren, where the poorest of the poor could forget their physical and mental hardships.
Within a few years the dream turned into a nightmare.
There is no concept of prevention in Sardinia. The fact that stray dogs are rarely neutered has led to an explosion in the number of dogs on the island which has in turn lead to more and more dogs being “left in the hands” of the workers at the shelter, or simply abandoned at the gates at night or even in some cases thrown over the fence.
The size of the enclosures had to be constantly reduced in order to accommodate the new additions. In no time at all there were 300 dogs which quickly increased to 400. To date there are over 700 dogs living at the Rifugio for which new living enclosures must be found.
The uncontrolled increase of animals living on the street stems from a lack of awareness and in some cases a lack of interest. Even dogs with owners tend not to be neutered and wander the streets of Sardinia.
As a result of an initiative by the Sardinian authorities the strays are captured and brought to the islands shelters. Many of those are already ill or wounded and in dire need of medical care.
A meal every day, a privilege which is for many dogs out of reach, a privilege which is taken for granted in Germany, is for the dogs in Sardinia a luxury, a luxury that very few have experienced.
Due to a lack of resources, the Rifugio is rarely in the position to buy the appropriate food for the animals. Puppy food which contains the vital nutrients essential to provide the young with a goods and healthy start to life is unfortunately too expensive for the Rifugio to be able to consider. Many of them have lost the warmth and nourishing milk of their mothers far too early in their lives. Their bodies need to have the chance to prepare a defense against the hot summers and the cold wet winters.
Though animal protection laws do exist the Rifugio is always fighting for survival, because the town of Olbia, private veterinarians, the ASL and even the Ministry of Health have no interest, to "let live" these.
Castration, sterilization, and educating people but also consistent prosecution and punishment of animal cruelty are necessary to prevent future suffering of animals.
But the animals, for whom each prevention comes too late are in need of help because they "exist" and feel physical pain, hunger, thirst, fear and mental anguish.
Please help these animals as they have nothing but their bare lives.
Location: Olbia (OT), Italy