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The smell of death

There are thousands of street dogs suffering day after day on Romanian streets but nothing compares with the conditions of the local public shelter which can be summarized in just one word: despair. The place was a farm during the communist time and was later, used alternatively as a dog pound and storage space.

The smell of death

There are thousands of street dogs suffering day after day on Romanian streets but nothing compares with the conditions of the local public shelter which can be summarized in just one word: despair. The place was a farm during the communist time and was later, used alternatively as a dog pound and storage space.

Today, it houses about 800 dogs according to the caretaker Lidia.

The dog sheltering facilities improved considerably after mass protesting, including from ROLDA supporters.  In 2013, the pound was completely renovated and additional housing spaces were built outdoors. The biggest “victory” was when the building was re-designed for better ventilation and to allow all the dogs to enjoy the sunlight, as they were living in very dark and smelly, filthy spaces.

I joined Hege to visit the public shelter a week ago when we adopted 4 dogs (one mom with a puppy, another small-size female and a puppy alone). I witnessed how the dog catchers unload the dogs from the van and how the dogs are placed in their new “homes”. For some, unfortunately, this will be their last home. I met all the dogs and I noticed a lot of being sick, wounded, and under-weighted. I also met dogs with distemper – a very contagious source, especially for unvaccinated new puppies, just brought in.

Although the kennels were clean, the water was fresh and there was not much smell – there is an obvious, complete lack of care for the dogs.  Except for Lidia – there isn’t someone to care for them. For employees, those dogs are numbers, not souls! Numbers that increase, decrease, … “just” numbers!

I’ve seen a few public shelters across Romania personally and many others in pictures. Galati public shelter is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of facilities, and handling – dogs have clean water and a source of food. But the horrifying smell of death is there, filling the air.

There are dogs that will die soon because of untreated, infected wounds. Dogs suffering from contagious diseases are waiting for their life to pass – as nobody will give them any treatment or at least humanely handle them. More, these contagious diseases will be spread to others, innocent souls catch because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A dog doesn’t need much to be happy and one has to make serious “efforts” and treat really badly a dog to make him lose hope. The feeling of hopelessness worries me the most because it shows a dead soul. The whole situation in Romania is overwhelming. ROLDA private shelters function at full capacity. Adoption rate decreased as across Romania, animal activists make efforts to place more and more dogs outside the country.

I do not know how many people will see this article as an alarm sign. Crippled souls that suffer around us should make us worried about where our humanity has gone. Thousands of years ago, the dog was tamed and became humans’ responsibility. In the present time, dogs are treated like trash by an indifferent society. Romania’s brand as a country is often equal to the street dogs. If we turn blind to shocking images or deaf to all the cries for help, the problem will not go away.

Two million street dogs suffer day by day in Romania. Some of them, we see on the streets. Some, are imprisoned in private shelters where they have some quality of life. Some others are imprisoned in public shelters from where there are only two ways out, only two ways to “set them free”: adopted or dead. Looking at all the suffering dogs I wonder when they will be set free, how and by whom?

Visitor suggestions

These are some suggestions for the shelter’ administration from a person that recently visited Galati public shelter:

I would encourage them to use the inside cages only temporarily for dogs in need of quarantine, for sick and neutered dogs, mothers with puppies. I strongly believe that sick dogs deserve adequate treatment and not to suffer in silence and slowly die. With the help of the local community and public investments, I believe that ECOSAL shelter could become one of the best public shelters in Romania.

Wish to make a change for these dogs YOURSELF?
Volunteer!
Visit the place to see the reality yourself!
Adopt a dog!

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