2013 has been a very eventful, emotional year for all of us involved in rescuing stray and injured dogs in Romania. For Hope for Romanian Strays it has also been a very successful year, which saw us rehome over 50 dogs, raise €1000 in a fundraising auction, and rescue many, many injured and sick dogs from the streets and shelter.
We had many emergency and special needs cases this year, that gobbled up our meagre funds, but which also resulted in many happy endings. There were dogs like Anda, who we had been caring for for over a year, Mishu, rescued with a head trauma, Jenny, who had to have a leg amputated, Allegra, sole survivor of one of the mass poisonings, and Brownie, one legged and severely injured in the shelter, who all found homes in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We also had little rescue puppies, like Prince and Princess, interviewed by The Don back in February, who also made their way to safety outside of Romania thanks to us. All of these dogs would have died without our intervention but they are all now safe, happy and loving members of new families outside of Romania.
There are then also some of our medical cases still looking for homes but safe, like Odin, found skinny and with a severe skin disorder, now safe in a shelter in Germany, or Foxy, very ill and reduced to a skeleton, who we rescued and got into foster care in Romania. And lets also not forget the cats we rescue from time to time too – like Mila, left to die injured by the side of the road, who is now in our care.
Sadly there are always those that do not survive, no matter how hard we try. Recently we lost little Kenny, who was found blind and injured in a field, and 11 out of the 26 ill puppies we took out of the shelter in December in the hope of rescuing them. Perhaps the hardest loss this year was little Chrissie, who was rescued from the shelter with a very severe skin infection, leaving her with open wounds and very weak. Aniela had taken her in to her own home to care for her, and she had been doing so well, but sadly she eventually lost the fight despite all the love and care she was given. She was a bright little soul that had deserved better but at least she spent a few months loved and cared for and did not die alone and in pain.
Despite these sad losses we do not give up and keep up the fight to help rescue as many dogs as our funds allow. We are still caring for the remaining 15 puppies rescued from the shelter in December who still need a great deal of care and will all need safe homes outside of Romania. We also still have dogs like Maya, left for months to fend for herself on the streets paralysed after being deliberately hit by a care, who we cannot return to the streets or the shelter. There are then also dogs who we supplied with vetinerary care, such as poor Larry who had to have his penis amputated, who are now back in the shelter but who we would love to find homes for.
Besides emergency veterinary treatment for shelter dogs we also funded neutering programmes through 2013 to try to help reduce the number of puppies born to die in the shelter. We also worked with the shelter to improve conditions for the dogs there by providing additional food, dog houses and repairs to fences. We also paid for vaccination programmes for puppies in the shelter some that some of them at least have a hope of surviving. Working with the shelter can be difficult and the shelter is badly run but we cannot just abandon the dogs in there so we continue to maintain good relations with the shelter in order to try to do more for the 1000 dogs that are now there. We hope that through this relationship we can prevent more deaths and misery and the many dogs that we have managed to rehome thanks to the support of groups like ProDog Romania makes this effort well worth it.
However we cannot look back on 2013 without mentioning the horror that engulfed the country in November. Sadly however 2013 will always go down as the year in which the Romanian government turned its back on animal welfare, EU legisaltion, gave in to corruption and legalised the massacre of stray dogs. 2013 saw some of the most horrific examples of mass animal abuse as Romanians took the street to beat and torture stray dogs to death. People went out of their way to hurt the dogs, running them over or beating them with metal bars. We have always struggled with mass poisonings that whilst illegal had been carried out with no repurcussions for the officials that were responsible. November however saw Romania stoup to even lower depths of depravity and inhumanity – all sanctioned by a corrupt government happyt to ignore all the international laws and treaties they had signed up to when they joined the EU. There was mass uproar globabally as the horror that was happening in Romania came to light. There were demonstrations and petitions and demands to EU politicians to intervene. The EU did finally officially ask Romania to meet its EU obligations, respect the treaties and deal with the stray dog issue humanely. Romania has chosen to totally ignore these demands – safe in the knowledge that there is no punishment for corrupt officials or animal abusers.
Charities like Hope for Romanian Strays worked flat out to get as many dogs out of Romania as possible. We took in as many as we could and we used our relationship with the shelter to try to make sure they did not euthanise all the shelter dogs (as the new law permitted them to do). We took in and treated the dogs that were injured by Romanian animal abusers when we came across them and we added out voice to the thousands demanding an end to horror and demanding that the Romanian governement finally accept their responsibility and start to deal with stray dogs in a humane way as dictated by EU legislation.
This brings me to our hopes for 2014 – the biggest of which is that the government sacntioned mass abuse and slaughter of strays in Romania comes to an end. We hope that the law is repealed and the government finally starts neutering programmes and makes it a legal obligation for all Romanians to neuter their pet dogs – rather than just dump their puppies on the streets. We hope that Romanians will stop abusing animals and finally become civilised. And we hope to find more homes for shelter and stray dogs , like the three pictured below, and to receive more funds so that we can help more dogs.
Finally we want to say a massive, huge thank you to all of you for your support during 2013. Without your help, your shares and your donations we could not have done any of the things we did – we could not have rescued dogs like Odin and Maya, or vaccinated puppies like Mina and Annie, or found homes for dogs like Mishu and Anda. Please continue to support us through 2014 and help us go further by sharing our news and asking your friends and family to support us. With your help we will be able to do so much more in 2014.