16 May

Galati public shelter

Galati Public shelter

The smell of death

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

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

PS5

The dogs sheltering facilities improved considerably after mass-protesting, including from ROLDA supporters.  In 2013, the pound was completely renovated and additional housing spaces were built outdoor. The biggest “victory” was when the building was re-designed for a better ventilation and to allow to 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, anther 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 being sick, wounded, under-weighted. I also met dogs with distemper – a very contagious source especially for un-vaccinated 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, handling – dogs have clean water and a source of food.

But the horrifying smell of death is there, filling the air.

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

Most of the dogs from the public shelter are not aggressive. They share a common space, sometimes 10 adults dogs together. Of course, fights happen. When they see a new face, many wag their tail. I rarely heard an aggressive bark. But I commonly saw despair – and as weird as it sounds, those were not the worst cases. Despair can be a motivational feeling. The worst was a (small) number of dogs that simply stand there, with “empty” eyes waiting for their end to come. No hope, no gesture, no feeling.

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 loose hope. The feeling of hopelessness worries me the most because it shows a death soul.

The whole situation in Romania is overwhelming. ROLDA private shelters function at full capacity. Adoptions rate decreased as across Romania, the 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 as trash by an indifferent society. Romania brand as a country is often equal with 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, imprisoned in private shelters were they have some quality of life. Some others, imprisoned in public shelters from where there are only two ways out, only two ways to “set them free”: adopted or dead.

Looking to 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  temporary for dogs in need of quarantine, for sick and neutered dogs, mothers with puppies.I strongly believe that sick dogs deserve the adequate treatment and not to suffer in silence and slowly die. With the help of local community and public investments, I believe that ECOSAL shelter could become one of the best public shelters from Romania.

 

Wish to make a change for these dogs YOURSELF?

  • Visit the place to see the reality yourself!
  • Volunteer!
  • Adopt a dog!

 

When was the last time you saved a life?