People may ask why adopt a dog from Romania when there are so many dogs in need of homes our doorstep. The answer is right here....
It is estimated that there are up to a million dogs living on the streets of Romania. You will see them just about everywhere you go - in the parks, wandering on every pavement, sleeping under parked cars and in social gatherings around restaurants and rubbish bins. Whilst many adapt to life on the streets, it is not uncommon to see them wandering around with terrible injuries having been hit by a car, or with wounds sustained from fighting with another dog.
The problem arose during the 1980s when the then dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, wanted to industrialise Romania. Factories sprung up all over the cities and houses were destroyed to make way for high rise apartment blocks. People who lived in the country were under pressure to abandon their farms and homes in order to take up employment in the cities. Overcrowding soon became a problem and so family dogs were simply let out on the streets to fend for themselves.
In addition to this, Romania has very outdated ideas regarding sterilisation. Owners don't have their pets neutered but allow them to roam the streets. It doesn't take a genius to work out what happens next and so the stray dog situation simply worsens with each passing day. It may surprise you to learn that just one female and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just six years, and so it is easy to understand how the streets have become so filled with these homeless furbabies.
Many locals are sympathetic towards the street dogs, but unfortunately, the Government’s method of attempting to deal with them is far from sympathetic. The laws on terminating the lives of these dogs has gone back and forth many times, but, the ‘euthanasia’ of stray dogs was legalised in Romania in September 2013 when the Romania President pushed through a law allowing the euthanasia of dogs 14 days after their capture. Unfortunately, however, ‘euthanisia’ is a euphemism for inhumane slaughter.
State appointed dog catchers are responsible for rounding up these dogs from the streets. It isn’t uncommon to see them beating the dogs to death, shooting them, setting them on fire or feeding them with food laced with poison. As if this isn’t bad enough, the rest are taken to one of Romania’s municipal shelters. One would like to think that these shelters are like the shelters we see in the UK where dogs are cared for and worked with until they can be re-homed. Sadly, however, they aren’t and the fact that these shelters are commonly referred to by many as ‘kill shelters’ just about sums up the squalid, over-crowded concentration camps where the dogs are just waiting to die, out of the public eye.
The dogs are starved to the point where they often have to feed on the dead bodies of the ones that have passed away. They are cremated whilst still alive, poisoned with an injection of petrol (or some other fatal toxin) straight to the heart, or simply beaten to death. No attempt is made to look after them or re-home them; they just live out the rest of their days in a sad, lonely, hungry, thirsty, beaten and painful state. Fights, often fatal, are commonplace but no one cares. These kill shelters really are a fate worse than death for these poor souls.
The political instability surrounding the street dogs of Romania causes this constant back and forth between doing nothing followed by a mass killing spree. The saddest thing is that it is well documented that the stray dog problem in Romania will never be solved by killing the dogs, but only with a sterilisation programme and by educating people. But, whilst the mass killing is legal, and it’s lining the pockets of the officials who authorise it, sadly nothing will change.
As you will see, the plight of these dogs is desperate and each one adopted really is a life saved so please think about adopting a dog (or two!) from Monica's Romanian Rescue.
Click to watch a short video on You Tube.
(Best watched with sound).