Italy: A Terrible Tragedy – 2 Activists Killed Helping Animals

I am a member of LIPU  which is a registered British charity helping birds in Italy.

Today I received their summer newsletter and read that Paola Quartini, LIPU activist from Genoa and Elvio Fichera, volunteer of the Association for Abandoned Animals, both animal welfare workers, went to the home of Renzo Castagnola accompanied by two police officers.  They went to serve a warrant on Castagnola for cruelty to animals.  He kept several dogs, belonging to others, in terrible conditions.  He had been visited before.  The dogs were to be confiscated.

After an inspection, Castagnola made an excuse to go into his house to find a pen and when he reappeared he was armed.  Castagnola fired several shots at Paola and then at Elvio, killing them outright.  He then injured his wife before turning the gun on himself taking his own life.  The victims had no chance to defend themselves, escape or for the police to intervene.

The two animal welfare volunteers had spent years dedicating their lives to helping animals and wildlife.  They had a wealth of experience in animal and environmental issues in the area. 

Paola was 54, was most active and was very knowledgeable on many matters, including the law.  She was very animal-focused.

The wildlife and animals have lost two caring and devoted people.  They lost their lives for an ideal they cherished.  They will be missed by many.


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