As I indicated
in the last Newsletter, I and my wife accompanied Alison
Standbridge, the founder of PAWS2RESCUE on a short visit to
Romania in late May.
The purpose was
to see something of welfare conditions in Romania and of the
hugely difficult rescue and rehoming efforts of Alison and
It is difficult
to describe the appalling suffering of the thousands of
stray dogs in Romania. I thought I had some acquaintance
with such scenes from our work in Spain. I can only say that
what I saw in Romania will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Our first port
of call was to a compassionate dog rescuer near Bucharest
who cares for about 50 strays in his own home, many of whom
are seriously injured or sick. Some little way away he owns
and runs what is known as a “private shelter” which
contains 500 dogs and puppies. Most of these are healthy but
some badly injured by traffic accidents and maltreatment.
The task of caring for this number of dogs must be
overwhelming, especially since there is very little money to
spare. The requirement for dog food alone amounts to 200
kilos a day. This requires regular visits to a local pet
superstore where helpers and staff have to beg shoppers to
buy them a bag of food.
It will be
difficult for people in UK to visualise a country which is a
member of the EU, where one can easily come across 20 stray
and feral dogs in one street, never mind those wandering the
open roads. Of course this results in a huge number of
deaths and injuries of dogs, especially at night. Our
journeys were regularly brought to a sudden stop to rescue
these wretched strays. This situation was brought about by
the actions of Romania’s brutal communist dictator
Ceausescu who brought thousands of peasants into the city as
industrial workers who were housed in the brutalist soviet
style blocks still to be seen today and prohibited from
keeping their dogs. This resulted in many being cast out on
the streets where, predictably, they have hugely multiplied.
Periodic slaughter by the authorities has, of course, done
nothing to help the situation which can only be attacked by
mass sterilisation. Efforts in this direction are being made
by charities, including Paws2Rescue, but the task is
Next, we drove
to Ploesti some 35 miles north of Bucharest, to look at a
“public shelter” supported by local government, where we
found 1000 dogs kept in truly horrific conditions in an
establishment meant to house no more than 600. The dogs and
puppies are kept in overcrowded enclosures, most without
shade in a region where temperatures rise to over 40C. It
appeared that no attempt at clearing up faeces had been made
for a long time resulting in an obvious risk of infection
and an overpowering stench. Despite denials by the staff, it
is clear that dogs must be being destroyed and, almost
certainly, by barbaric methods. Certainly the insanitary
conditions must give rise to disease and death.
lay down that dogs in public shelters must be made available
for adoption and there is a sign to that effect on the gate.
However, we made two such requests and were refused on
clearly trumped up grounds, such as “that puppy is
undergoing treatment” and another is “reserved”. Our
friends arranged for local people to make similar requests;
all were turned down.
shelter receives government funding on a per dog basis, the
conclusion must be that the numbers are being corruptly kept
as high as possible.
We met some
German women who said they were from a German charity which
“supported” the shelter. If so, their efforts seem to
have no beneficial effect.
most distressing aspect of the treatment of dogs in Romania
is the frequent sight of dogs in dire distress owing to
sickness, injury on the roads and straight barbarism, who
are past any available treatment but are not put down
because, we were told, of religious objections. I will not
attempt any detailed description but, as I have said, these
sights will remain with me, and with all other compassionate
witnesses, for life.
Some years ago the appalling treatment of orphans in homes in Romania came to light. We are told that great strides have been made in bringing this tragic situation to an end. Now is the time for “man’s best friend” to be made free from imprisonment and torture.
One would hope
that the European parliament would concern themselves with
such blatant disregard of all humanitarian principles in a
member country. Judging by their complete failure to act in
Spain, this seems a distant prospect.
interest to GIN supporters is the strong probability that
greyhound racing is either actually taking place or is
planned. Websites of the Greyhound Club Romania and others
indicate strong support for racing. I am trying to run down
firm evidence. Rumour has it that Irish dogs have been
imported via other countries. If this turns out to be the
case, hopefully it may be possible to obtain firm evidence
from tattoo numbers.
the assistance of Paws2Rescue, GIN has imported two lovely
dogs from Romania for rehoming. One, Sofia, is beautiful and
very friendly, she is approximately 8 months old and was
found abandoned on the streets. The other, Allegro, a fine
upstanding friendly boy, approximately 2 years old. They are
both greyhound crosses. These dogs are now in our care and
have been checked by our vet and are now waiting to be
adopted. Their photos and details are given below. It is our
hope that this start may lead to more GIN action to help
these maltreated dogs.
Martin July 2017
|Our Patron, Peter Egan, meets Allegro and Sofia||Sofia|
|Allegro||Martin with Allegro and Angela with Sofia|