April Fools’ day is always very entertaining and fun – trying to work out which of the news stories is a fake and which is just plain amazing but true. The Telegraph has had a live update running throughout the day where they have outed some of the best jokes from top companies like Volkswagen’s Paw-Wheel-Drive. It is good to see these entertaining stories as sometimes I feel there is so little to smile about.
The latest news we have is that it is looking likely there will be a cull of shelter dogs in Bucov. Sadly this is not an April Fools’ joke but a sad reality. The local mayor has been wanting to euthanise the dogs for sometime now but fortunately the shelter manager is more humane and reasonable. The shelter vet is also in support of euthanising all those that have been in the shelter for more than a few months – which is a large percentage of the 1000+ dogs that are currently there. We are very fortunate that we have good relations with the shelter and are able to talk with them and try to work out a solution for the dogs.
However the reality is that with a capacity of 700 the shelter is now well over capacity so there is huge pressure to reduce the number of dogs. The over capacity causes all sorts of problems such as disease, as well as dog fights which last week alone resulted in the death of two dogs. Food is more of an issue as the budget is of course originally for 700 dogs, but also the shelter employees are struggling to care for this many dogs.
One option we are looking into with the shelter is the possibility to make the dog pens smaller so that the dogs are in smaller, more manageable groups (we would have to fund this of course – the shelter would not contribute to this). We are also considering whether to hire someone to care for the dogs in the smaller pens, in part as we are concerned that the dogs are in danger of having virtually little human interaction making them harder to re-home but also because the filth will build up quickly with this many dogs but not enough people to care for them. This would again be a compromise with the shelter so that they do not euthanise the dogs because of lack of resources to care for them.
Perhaps most importantly though is that through our relationship with the shelter we have their agreement that we can continue to come and support the dogs and run our neutering and vaccination campaigns. These are critical, especially with the over-crowded conditions which feed disease but also increase the chances of puppies with un-neutered dogs escaping or being put in the wrong enclosure and getting pregnant. Neutered animals also tend to be a bit calmer reducing the number of fights (or is this just wishful thinking!).
Our founder Aniela continues to go to the shelter every day and continues to build the relationship with the shelter management so that we can negotiate on behalf of the dogs. If the worst comes to the worst and the shelter management caves to political pressure to reduce the number of shelter dogs back down to 700 we will try to ensure that none of the neutered dogs or dogs with a good chance of re-homing are euthanised. We will try to make sure that an indiscrimate, random choice is not made . This will however be a very dark day for us – for Aniela in particular – and we continue to pray and hope that another solution is found.
There I reach out to you on this April Fools’ day and I ask that you take this situation seriously. This is no joke – we need to find homes for 300 dogs before it is too late! I know it sounds like a joke given how impossible that sounds but miracles do happen and perhaps if each and every one of us can share photos of our dogs and spread the word of how desperate we are for homes for Romanian strays we can find homes for these dogs – if not all then at least a good proportion. In the shelter we have enough dogs that are neutered and ready to travel – we just do not have enough foster and forever homes for them. So please make this “joke” a reality – find a home for one of our dogs.