Helping people in need is a noble cause. There are plenty of 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 a complex way of helping people, covering various groups of ages: coloring books distributed for free for kids from schools and preschool classes; ABC online guide (in Romanian) for kids and parents who use online tools, freebies on various topics that secure and improve animal welfare; a national study created to improve communication between dog pets and their owners. Financially, we provide free spay/neuter for pets owned by people with low income from rural areas The FriendsForever program offers financial aid for seniors with low income to help them keep their furry buddies close and never be forced to abandon them. We also provide emergency relief during disasters (e.g. floods) for pets and donate clothing and food supplies for people from the affected areas. Before COVID, we visited rescued dogs and the seniors from local retirement homes to cheer them up. People who adopt dogs from our shelters have also a positive experience that reflects on the well-being of their whole family.
About romanian animals
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.
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 that the animal activists can’t verify. Legally, in public shelters, a dog can be euthanized after 14 days. Often, the dogs die of starvation, eat each other, or die because of 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 companions, the followings: sterilization, identification by microchip, registration of the microchip in the national database called RECS.
The number of street dogs in Romania is extremely high, estimated to be some 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.
Why doesn't the local community offer financial help to the shelters in Romania?
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.
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).
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.