Romania is a dynamic country rich in history, arts and scenic beauty. There are plenty of wonderful restaurants, friendly people and stunning landscapes but there is one major problem, the treatment of dogs. Every 25 meters you will see a stray dog, either pregnant, limping, or both, and always dirty and malnourished. It is not uncommon to see a dead dog on the side of the road, either struck by a careless driver, frozen to death or succumbed to starvation.
The government’s solution to the stray dog problem is to encourage mass catching and killing of these stray dogs at shelters, who get €30 for each killed dog. Before their painful death of a poisonous injection straight to the heart with no pain medicine, the dogs are crammed into small cages where disease runs rampant, often with little or no food or water. Dogs are not checked to see if they are compatible with their “cell mates” which results in dogs attacking each other within their small confines, leading to painful and untreated injuries.
The fate of “owned” dogs is rarely better. Many people who own dogs chain them up. The chains are often attached when the dog is still a puppy. In many instances, the dog is often forgotten or neglected and, as the dog gets bigger, the chain starts to grow into the dog’s neck, making every movement painful. The dogs must endure their entire lives on too short chains, often without any protection from the scorching sun or too cold winters. Dogs, which are naturally pack animals, become depressed or aggressive when isolated in this way. It is also makes them completely vulnerable to attack by other dogs or bad people.
There is no easy solution to these problems but education, compassion and common sense are needed. Capturing and killing will not end the problem of too many dogs, after 20 years of this draconian method, the number of stray dogs has not dropped. Sterilizing dogs and educating the public will be a step in the right direction.
It is a shame that a country in the European Union is allowed to let such atrocities happen. Together we must stand up and help give the dogs of Romania a voice. If you are looking for a dog, consider going to Romania and taking one from a shelter. One less dog killed.