January 6, 2020 – It is with great sadness that the global animal welfare organization, FOUR PAWS, announces the death of Founder and President, Heli Dungler, who died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday, at the age of 56. Heli Dungler has decisively shaped animal welfare over the past 30 years and expanded FOUR PAWS into a global organization.
“His death is a severe blow for us and fills us with great pain. Our thoughts and our deepest sympathies are with his wife, his daughter and all his relatives during these difficult hours”
-Josef Pfabigan, board member of FOUR PAWS and long-time friend and colleague of Heli Dungler
Heli Dungler was born in 1963 in Waidhofen an der Thaya in Lower Austria. In 1984, he started his career with Greenpeace, Austria. During this time, he nurtured a desire to actively promote animal welfare.
In 1988, he founded the animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS in Vienna and initially focused on animal protection issues such as fur farming, battery farms and circus animals. For decades, through negotiations with decision-makers around the world, he campaigned for higher animal welfare standards in agriculture, for legislative changes in the keeping of brown bears and for the protection of big cats and stray animals.
Thanks to Heli's tireless work, today FOUR PAWS is renowned global animal welfare organization, represented in 15 countries and revealing suffering, rescuing animals in need and protecting them worldwide.
"Through his passion and tireless efforts, FOUR PAWS was able to save the lives of many thousands of animals. The world has lost a very special animal lover and visionary. The employees of FOUR PAWS, his relatives and friends, mourn the loss of a very special, charismatic and humorous person. We will honor his memory by continuing the work he loved so much."
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.fourpawsusa.org