One of Croatia’s Best: Petrinja Search Dog Poisoned in Slano Near Dubrovnik

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Srđan Botica Facebook
Srđan Botica Facebook

In September last year, TCN highlighted the dark side of Dalmatia’s streets, unfortunately, plagued by animal poisonings. 

Four months later, and the situation is just as dire. 

On Friday, Croatian media headlines shared the heartbreaking story of a Belgian Shepherd named Alice, who was also recently in the spotlight as one of Croatia’s best search dogs in the Petrinja rubble.

Alice’s short life came to a tragic end this week, but not because of her efforts in Petrirnja. Alice was poisoned, presumably by rat poison, in her hometown of Slano near Dubrovnik. She was just three years old. 

Alice’s owner Srđan Botica, a DVD Slano firefighter, formed a search team to help find anyone buried under the rubble after the Petrinja earthquake last month. Botica said Alice was one of the best search dogs in Croatia, and she was trained to save lives.

“We had training, camps, simulations, license exams, and she passed everything with the best grades,” recalled Srđan, who hurried with Alice to Petrinja after the earthquake rattled the central Croatia region. They stayed for six days, ready to rescue anyone in need.

“She was the craziest and sweetest dog in the history of dogs,” Srđan said. 

An inconsolable Srđan revealed that Alice died in his arms. She was part of a family that put a lot of love and time into her and her training. DVD Slano knew what it meant to have such a capable search dog on the team. 

Srđan wants to believe that the poisoning did not happen intentionally and can’t point the finger at anyone. He went to both the Municipality and the Administrative department to ask if any poison had been reported, but it had not. He searched the entire area around the house – especially since he has three more dogs – but found nothing.

“We have a big yard, but I can’t even think that someone would deliberately throw it in the yard. She probably found it while out on a walk,” said Botica, who took in Alice when she was seven months old.

“I don’t accuse anyone because Alice was a favorite of the whole town. We don’t know what she was poisoned with, except that there was no way out. She died in my arms last night, blood on her mouth and nose and goodbye.” 

Srđan lost one dog in the same way 14 years ago and said another in the neighborhood died from poisoning a year ago.

“People in Dubrovnik and the surrounding area know how to throw sausages with nails in them; it must stop,” he said. “You know everything I have to say. We need to put an end to this,” Srđan commented about poisoners. 

Poison in public areas has killed many animals across Croatia, and the criminals are rarely found for punishment.

Killing an animal, whether by poisoning, severe abuse, or in any other way, warrants a fine of 10 to 15 thousand kuna. Poisoning is also punishable under the Criminal Code with a prison sentence of up to one year.


“If there is a heaven, I know that you are up there now. While my tears are flowing, I laugh at the same time because I know that you will make a total mess and confuse them upstairs, but also crawl under everyone’s skin, just like all of ours, you abnormally crazy, voracious, cuddly, jealous creature. We all love you.”

Unfortunately, it is too late for Alice and hundreds of other animals in Croatia. 

Sources: Dubrovacki Vjesnik, Dubrovnik Net,

To read more news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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