With us, a dog stops
We are grateful to our supporters for giving us the means, and the trust, to live such an amazing experience, and to give so many homeless animals a second chance at life. We want to share our stories and our mission around the World, with other animal lovers that embrace our vision.
We are always happy to hear your thoughts, your suggestions, and your ideas. Constructive criticism and engaging people from communities both locally, and internationally, always makes us stronger; makes us think harder, and makes us more effective in our rescue efforts. We have been successfully saving and rehabilitating animals in need for over a decade. But we never stop learning, and never stop striving to better serve our community, including the millions of strays on our streets.
Contact us anytime by email, phone or….Surprise us with a visit!
We have had hundreds of volunteers come work with ROLDA and our dogs for weeks, or even months, at a time. Would you consider becoming a ROLDA Ambassador in your own country? We’d welcome the offer!
Contact person: Hege
rolda.norge (at) hotmail.no
+47 9204 2553
Gatehunder fra Romania
Frequently asked questions
What is ROLDAs position regarding euthanasia?
ROLDA has a strict no kill policy.
Absolutely everything we do is guided by our ethos of universal compassion and a respect for life. ROLDA only ever euthanises an animal under the expert advice of our vet, and only where prolonging life would be cruel. Where a chance exists to save their life and create an acceptable quality of life, no matter how slim, ROLDA will always provide the treatments necessary to give them the best possible chance. We never put cost or convenience before the life and wellbeing of any animal. See ROLDA Mission and Policies here.
What is ROLDAs relationship with the authorities?
Periodically, ROLDA shelters fall under the supervision of the Romanian National Veterinary Authority’ inspectors. Unbelievably, but in this moment, Romanian laws are currently directed against the humane methods of homeless animal control advocated and implemented by ROLDA. We hope that some Government authority will decide to start a serious, constructive, and open dialogue regarding the management of the monumental problems of strays. And of rampant animal abandonment and abuse in Romania. ROLDA is always open to sharing our vision, our humane policies (and the reasons why they work, where mass slaughters never have) and our extensive experience managing local stray populations.
ROLDA actively encourages input from local communities, and those individuals concerned with animal welfare here and around the world. Sustainable, meaningful change to create a more compassionate and peaceful future depends on the involvement of people from all walks of life, and any interested or affected organizations.
Does ROLDA work in other countries except Romania?
Yes, we have a dedicated group of volunteers working in several European countries, the UK, and Australia. They act as ambassadors for ROLDA, fundraise, and help to raise awareness of the horrific conditions Romanian stray animals face. Here in Galati, we are actively involved with young people to help them understand animal abandonment and cruelty issues, and to inform them of the compassionate, humane ways we have of dealing with overpopulation.
Why not helping people instead?
Helping people in need is a noble cause. There are plenty people in Romania and across the World that need help. Our charity focus is animals in need while many other worthy charities focus exclusively to help the people. However, our charity also helps people. We have an educational program addressed to seniors in USA and Canada, we provide free spay/neuter, free microchiping and emergency food aid for the pets owned by people with low income. We also provide emergency relief during disasters (e.g. floods) for pets and donate clothing and food supplies for people from the affected areas or for seniors from the retirement homes. People who adopt dogs from our shelters have also a positive experience that reflects on the wellbeing of their whole family.
Does ROLDA offer any volunteer opportunities?
Yes. Volunteers are the heart of our charity and we just don’t have enough words to explain how important a volunteer work in our rescue mission is. Join us!
1. On-site Volunteers: Visit our shelters and you will have the proof that dogs do smile. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what opportunities suit your interests the best. We don’t cover (yet) health insurance.
2. Virtual Volunteers: If you can’t travel to Romania, if you don’t know if you have special skills to help a charity, but you have a big heart, a clever mind and the motivation to contribute to the homeless animals’ cause, if you have some spare time to share with us, don’t waste a moment – contact us!
There are so many ways in which you can help us e.g. photographer, graphic designer, fundraiser, marketing advisor for online and offline market.
Why is there an age limit (23 years) to adopt from ROLDA?
ROLDA is unfortunately short on foster options, despite the fact that our ROLDA team works tirelessly to make sure that all adoptions are 100% successful. Common reasons some adoptions may not go through are a lack of money, and/or personal income, and occupying a rented property where animals are not allowed. Young people (under 23 years old) are exposed to these circumstances the most. This policy is just one of ROLDA’s precautions to safeguard the wellbeing of our animals, and to ensure that both the adopted animal and the adoptive individual have a 100% positive experience. We do encourage young people (under 23 years old) to adopt, but this important decision must be supported and sustained, (including financially) by a parent. They act as a guarantor to ensure the animal in question is provided for.
How are animals transported?
By special equipped van (authorized by the national veterinary authority in Romania) from Galati to Bucharest airport (3-4 hours driving). By airplane to the adopter’ destination .
Why should I adopt from Romania when our country shelters are full?
Statistics show that people, who adopt dogs from abroad, actively help the local organizations and have adopted at least once from their local shelter.
How can I verify ROLDA is a legit organization?
Transparency is one of our top guiding principles. For the activity conducted in Romania, you can find the last Financial Report (as well as previous years reports) on the official website of Ministry of Finances (http://www.mfinante.gov.ro/agenticod.html?pagina=domenii), searching ROLDA under the registration number: 18416340. Alternatively, you can find the Financial Report at: https://rolda.org/financial-info-rolda/ and the latest Annual Report: https://sponsoradog.rolda.org/report/
The bookkeeping service in Romania is externalized, meaning that we work with independent institutions or experts that keep accurate financial records each year.
A number of people from around the World (including representatives of corporations, media or diplomatic missions) wrote testimonials after visiting our shelters. (https://rolda.org/rolda-testimonials/ )
Are street dogs dangerous or friendly with kids?
Our staff members carefully assess each dog that comes into our care to the best of our abilities. We have over a decade of experience working with abused and stray animals, and have successfully rehabilitated and rehomed many hundreds of dogs. We believe that giving an honest and professional evaluation of a dog’s behavior before promoting them for adoption greatly increases their chances of finding a suitable home.
We don’t use children in “experiments” to see how a dog behaves in the company of kids. The parent/adopter must keep children and their new furry friend under strict observation to avoid unpleasant incidents. These can sadly occur with any dog, or other pet, regardless of the animal's background or breeding.
Rescued dogs often make the most loyal and loving pets. So many former street dogs are forever grateful for receiving simply a cozy bed, healthy meals, and a safe place to call home. You alone can give hope to these deserving souls.
Why doesn't the local community offer financial help to the shelters in Romania?
30% of Romanians live on the very edge of extreme poverty. The average monthly income of a family in rural areas is less than 200 EUR per month. Usually, the family consists of at least 3 members, often more. Housing options are very limited, and essential services like electricity, gas etc. can be unreliable. People living in the countryside/villages fare the worst. They are 3 times poorer than people living in towns. 1 of 3 children is living in poverty in Romania. The poorest regions in Romania are the north-east of the country and the south-east; this is where ROLDA is operating and where we believe we can do the most good.
There are, of course, many animal lovers in Romania. However, the costs involved in simply registering a dog with the authorities, providing vaccinations, microchips (as required by law) and sterilization are far beyond the financial means of most people, especially in rural areas. With so many children and families in need, the general public and the government turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions of strays.
Why are there so many strays in Romania?
Primarily due to poverty, the number of homeless animals here has skyrocketed. Population numbers are neither efficiently, nor effectively controlled in many countries in Asia, South America, Southern and Eastern Europe. Due to a lack of education, homeless animal populations are not humanely controlled. No thought, nor consideration, is given to the suffering these creatures have endured on the street.
Romania has by far the worst stray overpopulation issue when compared to all the Eastern and South Eastern countries in Europe. Tragically, the situation receives far less attention and media coverage when compared to countries like Greece, Turkey, and Spain. Primarily because Romania is not a major tourist destination. There are no outsiders to see the pain endured by our abandoned and abused animals. They sadly remain out of sight, out of mind, and of little interest to the international media.
In the Romanian situation, the first large groups of strays appeared in the 80s during the communist regime (under dictator Ceausescu). During the cities’ industrialization, thousands of families were forced to move from their native villages to small apartments. These people left behind their properties, their houses (with a small, but subsistence level garden) and at least one family dog that served as companion and guardian.
During the forced relocation of Romanian rural people, thousands of dogs were abandoned as they were not permitted in the tiny urban apartments. During the 80s, attempts to control the dogs’ population were poorly managed using barbaric, brutal methods. Gas chambers, and primitive electrocution procedures sentenced tens of thousands of dogs to slow, agonizing deaths. Dogs were boiled (sometimes still alive) to be skinned for industrial purposes. Starting in the 90s, after the fall of the communist regime, the increased number of strays represented no priority for a new breed of politicians who predictably were content to turn a blind eye to the dogs’ suffering. Until the election campaign.
When ROLDA was set up and why?
ROLDA was legally incorporated as a Foundation in Romania in February 2006 after ROLDA’s founder, Dana Costin, was ‘adopted’ by a street dog living rough in her town, Galati, in the south of Romania. Nursing him back to health and giving him a loving home, changed Dana’s life. She decided instantly to start a charity dedicated to help the dogs scavenging on Galati’s streets and wasteland. Since then, Dana have dedicated her entire life and all her resources to rescue and rehabilitate as many abandoned and uncared for animals as is realistically possible. Luckily, soon enough, volunteers from around the World joined her and made this dream possible.
Does ROLDA work with any other international animal protection organizations?
ROLDA is an independent not-for-profit organization and not aligned financially or structurally with any other international organizations. ROLDA Romania closely works with the other ROLDA branches located in Australia, the US, the UK and several other European countries
Swiss Animal Protection is a constant grantmaker of ROLDA Romania's branch. We also closely work with international charities like Cathy Kangas Foundation for Animals and SPCAI.
Is ROLDA an international organization?
Yes. ROLDA became an incorporated charity in Romania in 2006. Same year, Romanian League in Defense of Animals, Inc. became a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible organization. Years that followed, volunteers from around the World set up the following branches:
In addition, ROLDA has ANBI status in Holland. A very active group of supporters is established in Switzerland under the name of Association ROLDA Suisse, leaded by celebrity Lolita Morena, who is also member in ROLDA’s Board of Directors and member of Swiss Animal Protection Board.
I would like to build a shelter for animals. Can you help me?
ROLDA works in Galati area, one of the poorest regions of Romania where the strays’ population is officially estimated to 18000. While we focus exclusively, to maintain the current facilities and start new projects in this area, we applaud others initiatives. For sure, Romania needs more open minded, educated, responsible leader activists to create additional animal facilities. Please be aware that you need an efficient business plan. The beginning enthusiasm must be replaced with a determined attitude. A well designed animal facility costs lot of money, you need to find investors and reliable partners, build up a community that will offer constant support because, after the initial building costs, you need money to sustain the shelter/project. You can find useful tips on RSPCA International website But remember: the wellbeing of your animals should come first, not your personal emotions. And your first quality should be endurance. Good luck!
How do you know that adopted animals end up in good hands?
ROLDA promote only sociable, healthy dogs via https://sponsoradog.rolda.org/dogs-we-care-for/.
We assess the best possible each dog’ behavior and we make sure the adopters are experienced with former street dogs. After completing a pre-adoption application, all adopters accept a mandatory home check. They all sign an adoption contract. After receiving the dog, adopters remain in good communication with our trustworthy representatives from ROLDA international branches. These representatives often meet our dogs and their new families during various events that we organize.
How much is the adoption fee?
200 EUR. Click here to visit the Contact page https://rolda.org/contact/ to get you in touch with the closest ROLDA branch for more info about the adoption costs and procedure. Or feel free to contact us directly at ROLDA’s Head Office in Romania at email@example.com or by phone/WhatsApp: 004 0748 903 612.
I want to adopt a dog from ROLDA. What is the procedure?
The adoption procedure is slightly different, from country to country. Please read carefully this article: https://sponsoradog.rolda.org/international-adoption/ before applying.
Please complete the pre-adoption form and send it by email to the closest ROLDA branch along with your questions about the adoption procedure. You can also contact ROLDA office in Romania by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp: 004 0748 903 612
How do I know my donation is used for its purpose?
Our charity asks for donations for specific goals like winter food supplies, repairs, veterinary costs to treat a specific dog, aid supplies for the pets of poor communities. When you donate to a specific goal, your donation is marked accordingly. When you choose to make a donation for general purpose, you give us the freedom to put your donation where it’s most needed. The existing ROLDA donors know we use their donation for the highest possible impact.
What if donations received are above the goal’ limit?
Each project has an estimated goal. In case the goal is reached, the supporters are announced and any further donation is redirected, with donor’s permission, for a similar goal or for “general purpose”.
Are street dogs dangerous or friendly with cats and other small pets?
Our staff assess in the best possible way a dog behavior before being promoted for adoption. We use our knowledge, experience and available resources to do this. Because we respect each living creature, we can’t be asked to make experiments and see if a dog attacks a cat or not. This will be a very stressful situation for everyone, especially for the cat. We can only observe if the dog has killing instincts, or hunting instincts more intense than “normal”. Please remember that many strays remain alive on the streets because they were hunting their meals. Most of the dogs chase smaller animals – it is important to distinguish if they chase to kill or chase for fun. It is the adopter responsibility to supervise how the dog will interact with the cat (or any other smaller pet from inside the house).
What is the current strays' situation in Romania?
Since 2001, little has changed. The public shelters administrated by the local authorities continue to be filthy, overpopulated and most don’t respect the minimal standards clearly specified by the European applicable laws. Dogs from public shelters “disappear” mysteriously, are killed with methods which the animal activists can’t verify. Legally, in public shelters, a dog can be euthanized after 14 days. Often, the dogs die of starvation, or eat each other, or die because untreated diseases, wounds, poor hygiene before the 14th day.
The only positive change is the law approved in 2013, which declared mandatory, for dogs with human companion, the followings: sterilization, identification by microchip, registration of the microchip in the national database called RECS.
The number of street dogs in Romania is extreme high, estimated to 2.5 millions. The poorest areas (north, south-east of the country) have the highest number of strays.
After ROLDA created the first modern private shelter in Romania, it is encouraging to see that others, mostly foreign citizens helping Romanian animals, followed us and built, in different communities across the country, a few quality facilities for rescued animals.
While the poverty, lack of education and corruption exist, it is difficult to control efficiently, humanely and responsibly the strays’ overpopulation at national level.