I love animals since I was just a kid. But loving animals in a country like Romania might be similar to a curse. I'm not going to blame or to criticize my country because I love Romania. I was borne here, here I accomplished my education, here I've learn to love both people and animals. But I cannot stop observing things that doesn't go well and one of this is the animal's condition.
Most of the Romanians people approach animals from the economical point of view. For them, the most valuable animals are cattle, pigs and sheep. Why? Because men can eat them or sell them for money. Horses are good for hard working, dogs for guard and cats for keeping mice and rats away. This is the limited way of a Romanian thinking. It doesn't mean that all the people think that way, but most of them do. And the animal's rights activists encounter asperities in their work mostly because of this line of thought.
Me and my colleagues from the Three Spotted Brothers Association are not fans of the aggressive way of fighting for animal's issues. We do not chain up, we do not demonstrate naked and we do not hysterically scream to come into notice. We believe that we have the power of polishing the old communist's mentalities in a more peaceful way. Starting from educating the young generation.
Yes, education is important. But what happens when a fresh trained child goes home where he comes butt against his old fashioned parents? The same people who were told by their own parents that dog's place is outside, chain up and the food for it consisted in soaked bread. Who will be more successful in such a family dispute? We - as trainers or the parent - as an untrained person on animal's behavior, but also the family's boss.
The child has also his grandparent's pattern from the countryside who beats his dog or horse, drown the puppies or the kittens, expels the old pets because they are no longer useful, or kills the pets as a punishment for hunting the poultry. And he is told that this is the normal behavior when you deal with animals.
There was a horrific story on the Romanian TV, few month ago, about a man executing his own horse and disjointing it in front of his kids. He excused oneself : "we are a poor family and the kids need meat for food". And nobody did anything, he wasn't accused for the crime he committed. I wonder what that kids will become after they witnessed such a horror.
The local administrations from each town in Romania receive a specific sum of money from the government, in order to manage the stray animal's situation. There are special offices in each Town Hall who has to work with that. But because dogs and cats from our streets are not important for the politicians, most of the mayors use the money for other purposes. Still, people complain about the presence of the aggressive (?!) stray animals and the authorities need to react. There is a Law for Animal's Protection which says that stray animals have to be catched, neutered, vaccinated and after 30 days of keeping them under observation in a local shelter, they have to be released in the same place. With the exception of sick or aggressive animals which has to be putted down Because Romanian government has no money to spend on special programs for stray animals and the NGO-s are few and most of them founded by a small group of women who gather money from their own friends and families, Romania is very "rich" in stray animals.
BUT - in order to save that money, some of the local administrations catch the dogs and brutally kill them. Or simply spread poison on the streets. And all of these in a big secret, of course, otherwise they can be putt in jail. Even if local Police is aware of this barbaric habit, they tacitly consent the situation under the excuse of no funds for neutering, vaccinating or euthanasia the stray animals. Here starts the war between the non-governmental organizations and local authorities. For example, my association spends money on neutering, vaccinating and marking the stray animals, but when the Town Hall send it's catchers, they make no difference between marked dogs and other stray dogs. Every dog from that street disappear and no one can ever find them. Without a private shelter, our work is a waste of time, money and energy. We asked our Town Hall manager for a ground to build a shelter, we compiled a technical project for it, but we get nothing. We also asked for the official reports on stray animals, budget, activity etc, according to the Transparency Law of Local Administrations, but no one answer to our application.
What could we do? We definetly need help from abroad. Help from people who know what lobby for animal's right means, people who can bring to us their know-how from years of experience in the field. We need professional tools for catching dogs, we need kennels and food. Animal's food is very expansive. Most of my colleagues adopted stray dogs and cats (up to 20/pers) and we spend our own money to feed them, neutered and vaccinate them. We do this because we love animals, we are aware of the importance of neutering stray animals and because we want to do something for our community. With all these personal sacrifices, there are people who call us nuts and our activity stinky.
Hopefully we'll live the day when people will treat animals will respect and no one will have to kill them for food. Not even other animals.