Why Adopt A Dog From Romania?
Many people dream of welcoming a dog into their homes for different reasons and the choice of selecting a dog can be extremely difficult. Should you buy from a breeder or adopt from a rescue?
In the UK there are countless rescues and animal shelters where stray and abandoned
dogs are looked after. They are fed, watered, receive veterinary care and have a roof
over their heads until they are fortunate enough to find their forever homes. Rescues strive to make sure that no healthy animal in their care is put to sleep simply for want of a home. However, there are circumstances in which they do have to make the difficult decision to euthanize a pet. Sadly, taking the responsible decision to put a pet to sleep is a tragic but unavoidable part of animal welfare work.
Sadly the above is NOT the case when it comes to dogs in Romania. So, let's look at why things are so different than in the UK.
The problems started in the 80’s when dictator Nicolae Ceausescu aimed to industrialise Romania; people were forced to leave the countryside and move into cities. As there was a huge demand for more apartments, Ceausescu decided to demolish all small houses and build vast apartment blocks instead. The number of people in the cities exploded and families had no option but to share an apartment with many other families. At that point animals were abandoned on the streets due to lack of space. The dogs obviously reproduced rapidly and soon the streets were filled with homeless dogs and their puppies.
The mayor of the country’s capital Bucharest stated that the quickest way of getting rid of the strays was mass slaughter, and soon enough other cities followed in suit….
For more than 20 years, dogs in Romania have been chased, beaten, captured, abused and killed.
They are routinely,shot,hanged, poisoned and bludgeoned to death or crowded into public shelters, run by the cities, to die of disease, hunger and thirst. Many are not fed at all while waiting their turn to be killed.
The most common way dogs are killed in the public shelters in Romania is by lethal injection straight into their veins. They have no pain relief, no anaesthesia and, due to the sheer number of dogs that are killed at any one time, care isn’t
even taken to make sure they’re injected correctly. More often than not, the dogs do not die a quick, painless death.
Many countries and numerous charities were outraged at the plight of these dogs and demanded the mass killings be stopped. And in 2008 a law was introduced,
The 2008 Animal Protection Law.
This law was meant to protect animals from being killed. The law specifically supports neutering and spaying dogs to help control the problem. Sadly, this just
led to thousands of animals being left to rot in public shelters, where they die from injuries, disease, starvation and thirst.
Despite the law, dogs are still being killed illegally and unofficially. And sometimes dogs just disappear from the public shelters with no warning and no repercussions.
The police are disinterested and most officials are unaware or unwilling to help.
In 2013, the Romanian president pushed through a law allowing the killing of all
dogs in public shelters after 14 days.
Local officials can alter these rules if they wish, but essentially a dog has 14 days
in a public shelter before being killed. In addition, there is an incredibly high rate
of pet abandonment. Many of the dogs we take in today are abandoned –
young, old, pregnant, ill or just not wanted.
As the shelters are paid to kill these dogs, it has also encouraged mass catching
and slaughter of dogs from the streets. This is statutory but corruption is endemic. Some people have grown rich on the back of the killing of dogs.
What can be done to help this dire situation?
Sava's Safe Haven is a family-run shelter.
In 2012 the Sava family began to build a safe refuge for animal’s welfare needs
in a small village. (30 km from Galati City).
The shelter has been built through donations without any support from authorities
or local companies.
There are currently 250 animals residing in the shelter (mostly dogs and puppies
but also a number of cats who were rescued from the streets).
This shelter is still reliant upon donations from animal lovers which enables the charity to cover costs of food, veterinary care and repairs. The shelter has no employees and is run entirely by the Sava family who alone care for all the
The sanctuary consists of the kennels, 4 playgrounds, quarantine room, puppy
room, cat room and an attached veterinary clinic room incorporated within the
The cat shelter consists of an internal area including an isolation unit and an
attached outside playground.
All animals in the sanctuary are healthy, fully vaccinated, microchipped and
Sava's Safe Haven Veterinary clinic was developed in 2015 and was created to help the shelter animals access veterinary care including treatments and
surgeries without them facing the additional stress of a 30 km journey.
The little room consists of a surgical table, instruments for easy surgeries -
spay/neutering, test kits for rescued animals to check for Parvovirus, distemper,
health worms and other diseases prior to entry to the kennel.
The shelter has a contract with a local vet who visits as often as necessary to provide medical care for the animals.
What else are Sava’s Safe Haven doing to make changes in Romania?
Together with our great partners : SPCA International and OIPA
International, Sava's Safe Haven have made efforts to educate people from rural areas about the importance of spay/neutering, microchipping and veterinary care!
Sava's have made brochures that are already distributed in the local villages helping
people to understand the impact of these procedures on each dog's life and most of all for the people to understand that "the change" comes from each one of us.
Every female dog gives birth to more puppies yearly that further increases the number of strays within the community.
They help families with limited resources giving free veterinary care services
( spay surgery, microchipping, vaccinations and registration) and also details about how to look after an animal.Sava's hope that this is information that people will understand that keeping a dog on a chain is not a solution.
STOP ABANDONMENT - is one of the important pieces of advice we can offer to people, explaining that this act of cruelty is punished and there are alternatives to this act, like, contacting animal rescue shelters.
Since Sava’s Safe Haven started in 2012 they have rehomed over a 1000
animals, helped over 5000 animals and are involved in over 50 community
projects, all carried out and supported by the Sava family and their
supporters and volunteers.
This is why I support this rescue and why I promote adopting from the rescue to help them to continue rescuing, adopting and educating and to try
to explain to you, the reader, the difference between rescue dogs in the UK and in Romania.