In 2004, ROLDA became aware of a horror scenario unfolding on our doorstep. A local steel mill, owned by one of Britain’s and the world’s richest men, Laskmi Mittal, had become an involuntary home to countless stray dogs desperately seeking shelter and food. Instead of looking for a humane and compassionate way of dealing with vulnerable animals, management decided to poison hundreds of innocent animals and dispose of their remains in the Danube river. We, as any human being with a shred of decency, were appalled and apoplectic in our anger at this grotesque injustice. Faced with the daunting task of taking on the depraved indifference of those who put profit before humanity and the vast resources at their disposal; ROLDA refused to give up without a fight.
Our work in numbers
Saved since project started
Represent the full capacity of the shelter
From all dogs catch are adoptable
We instantly made our outrage known and petitioned Mittal with the details of the sickening acts of cruelty unfolding on his property.
Our voices were finally heard and, in the spring of 2007, ROLDA’s founder and president, Dana Costin, was contacted by the representatives of the steel company to discuss the out-of-control stray dog population. Desperate and starving dogs were migrating from the city to the oft-abandoned industrial complexes in search of warmth and food.
Many found their way to Mittal’s steel plant, enticed by the shelter it offered and the acts of kindness of some staff who would share what little food they had with them. Frustrated by the impact of the dogs’ presence on their productivity and profit margins, the steel mill management took to medieval methods to remove them. After several months of intensive negotiations, ROLDA succeeded in convincing management to abandon the barbaric methods of killing strays and invest in humane solutions to decrease the stray numbers.
When ROLDA was called by the steel plant management to come up with a plan to collect all the dogs from the plant premises, we knew these dogs have only one chance. If we failed, hundreds of innocent animals would greet a painful and traumatic death.
ROLDA agreed to have built on our land a shelter for dogs captured from the steel plant, as the only alternative these dogs have to live – giving us time and opportunity to feed them, give them medical care and prepare them to become one day become to someone the loving companion they only wish to be. Many of the dogs we encountered had been born into the wild, never knowing the comfort of a home and the love and affection of an owner. These dogs need kindness, time, and patience to grow their trust in humans. Many more, traumatized by past horror and cruelty, required long and comprehensive psychological rehabilitation as well as caring for their physical injuries and ailments.
The scale of the challenge deterred many; ROLDA stood up for these dogs and said yes. We knew no one else would step in to save this animal and we know we made the right decision and when we look at all the dogs lives we transformed, all the dogs saved from the steel plant that live safely in homes across Europe. Our largest shelter can be found in the outskirts of Galati, Romania’s fifth-largest city, it’s outskirts home to sprawling industrial complexes in stark contrast to unforgiving wilderness beyond.
Our 15,000msq site was paid for in the summer of 2006, with the money donated to us by one of our most generous British donors. The shelter consists of two rows of kennels in parallel formation.
In total, 12 paddocks (120 kennel boxes). Every box is 18 square meters (3 x 6m) and can accommodate up to 6 dogs (dependant on size). The sanctuary was authorized by the National Veterinary Authority (ANSVSA) in 2012 and the same year, included in the TRACES system.
The first paddock welcomed dogs in the fall, 2007. In 2012, our veterinary clinic was completed and in the same year, we completed multiple running and play spaces for our dogs to exercise and socialize. More such spaces are in our construction pipeline and will be erected when funding becomes available.
Over time, ROLDA expanded by purchasing additional land surrounding our shelter, bordered by Acacia trees which we’ve strategically planted to act as a natural barrier to the snowstorms that plague the boreal Romanian winters.
Between 2007 and 2016, ROLDA successfully decreased the stray population within the steel plant premises by over 90%, reducing a population of over ten thousand to one approximately one thousand, providing lifesaving food, medical assistance, sterilization and rehabilitation.
Many of these dogs went on to loving homes internationally. It was a herculean challenge for our team. The gargantuan size of the steel mill, over thirty times larger than Vatican City, meant our small team had to cover the ground over which a city or micronation would sprawl. However, despite the mammoth challenge ROLDA rose to the occasion.
The initial agreement between ROLDA and the management steel plant included basic investments like access to water and electricity, but years passed, and these promises went unfulfilled; the much-needed construction of outdoor spaces for dogs’ exercises was also postponed.
In 2014, after countless of our calls, letters and emails went unanswered, ROLDA approached Mittal’s headquarters in London with news of the dire situation in Romania in which they were complicit in creating. Soon after, a new contract was agreed with a plan of investments which included connection to an electricity network. Unfortunately, the new management at the steel plant failed to deliver on the promises outlined in the new contract.
They even went as far as to use illegal and unethical methods to prevent ROLDA from holding them to account. In February 2016, they aggressively terminated the written agreement, leaving the promised investments unfulfilled, the large sanctuary with no sewage system, and worse: refusing to pay for 200 dogs (from a total of 644) collected by ROLDA from the steel plant and housed in our shelter.
Nearly one thousand dogs remained on the steel plant premises left to starve; now even the steel plant employees are forbidden to feed the dogs. They are suffering, in desperate need of medical attention. They are starving, desperate for food. They are vulnerable, infested by ticks and another parasites, and go unvaccinated, a source of disease for other dogs as well as for the employees and clients of the company.
ROLDA took the management of the steel plant to court, despite the company being a very influential international corporation, with vast financial resources and political influence that dwarfed our own.
We began two proceedings: One against the termination of the contract (which ROLDA won in May 2019, after over three years of court battles which ended in the Supreme Court of Justice in Bucharest, Romania’s highest legal authority). The second, because the steel plant refused to take responsibility for the 200 dogs left in our care. The trial is underway. Furthermore, to bring to the world’s attention the injustice, ROLDA began an international petition to politely demand Lakshmi Mittal, one of the richest men on Earth, to feed his dogs left in ROLDAs care since 2016.
Please help #roldadogs from this sanctuary:
CASE STUDY : VICTORY
They are born in the worst place to be a dog.
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.
Buy virtual certificates that help #roldadogs live better
SPONSOR A PET WITH A LOW-INCOME FAMILY (75 EUR)
Why sponsor a pet with a low-income family in Romania? Galati is one of the poorest regions in Romania. The average monthly income is 200 EUR a month. That extremely insuffi...
SPONSOR FOR A VACCINE (5 EUR)
Why sponsor to have a ROLDA dog vaccinated? In Galati, Romania, there are an estimated 20,000 stray dogs roaming the streets. Sadly, ROLDA can only house 650 dogs in its shelters at ...
SPONSOR A TREES PACK (9 EUR)
Why sponsor a ROLDA tree? After the rough winter we had here in Galati in 2014, we decided to plant a natural barrier around our shelters using trees (specifically Paulownia trees) t...
SPONSOR A DOG (200 EUR)
Why sponsor a ROLDA dog? By sponsoring a beautiful rescue dog from our shelters in Galati, Romania, you are showing support to homeless and abandoned animals in desperate need of hel...
SPONSOR FOR RUNNING SPACES (300 EUR)
Why sponsor for running spaces at ROLDA? The majority of the dogs we rescue have experienced many traumatic moments that, sadly, have severely affected their mental health. With reha...
SPONSOR FOR A PLACE OF RECOVERY (250 EUR)
Why sponsor a place where a ROLDA can recover from an injury or surgery? In Galati, Romania, there are an estimated 20,000 stray dogs roaming the streets. Sadly, ROLDA can only house...
SPONSOR THEM ALL (25 EUR)
Why Sponsor Them All? How can you sponsor all 650 ROLDA dogs with 25 euros? Well, one person can't, but if we all gave 25 eu...
SPONSOR A WINTER GIFT (15 EUR)
Why sponsor a winter gift for a ROLDA dog? A furry coat for a furry friend? It sounds funny, right? But believe it or not, some dogs do need extra protection from the cold during win...
SPONSOR A BOWL OF FOOD (10 EUR)
Why sponsor a bowl of food for a stray dog in Romania? In Galati, Romania, there are an estimated 20,000 stray dogs roaming the streets. Sadly, ROLDA can only house 650 dogs in its s...
SPONSOR A VISIT TO THE VET (50 EUR)
Why sponsor for a ROLDA dog to visit a vet? While living on the streets, stray dogs are exposed to many harmful elements including malnutrition, diseases, injuries, and disabilities....
Empty land 15000 square meters donated by an anonymous British supporterJune 1st, 2007
First building work finally begun: The first step to save from death thousands of strays.July 1st, 2007
This metallic container still exists on the sanctuary' premises 10 years after project begun.July 10th, 2007
Road access completedAugust 1st, 2007
Concrete floor and metallic structure for the first paddockSeptember 1st, 2007
By the end of 2008, 8 paddocks were functional while 30% of another 2 paddocks done.December 1st, 2008
Two additional paddocks added as a result of the increasing demand for more dogs to be rescued.2010
Rex Memorial Clinic was started. When completely functional, it was designed to be the first social veterinary clinic ever built in south-east of Romania to serve homeless animals and pets from poor families.2011
Electrica, the Romanian national electric company, demanded ROLDA to relocate 4 paddocks to approve the sanctuary’s connection to electric network.2012
Thanks to our US and Norwegian supporters, a new plot (1 ha) of land was purchased to expand the large sanctuary’s capacity.2013
Fencing of the new plot of land was completed.2014
Connecting the shelter to the electric network: a very bureaucratic, but important step forward. The REX Memorial Clinic was also connected to electricity and water.June 1st, 2014
One paddock was renovated. New plot of 2ha. has been purchased thanks to our international supporters. On this land, our sanctuary will be expanded with facilities to rescue donkeys and horses.2015
The Real Life Room for dogs (the first of its kind from Romania!) was built.April 1st, 2015
Thanks to Swiss supporters, hundreds of acacia trees were planted to form a natural wind barrier, to protect the sanctuary against snow storm.September 1st, 2015