Update #1 ·

Full article - ROLDA Statement

A 4 years old boy was killed by a pack of hungry street dogs in the European capital of Romania, Bucharest. I’ve just seen a heartbreaking video with the parents of the little boy coming to pick the boy body for funerals. I’ve seen resignation and pain, expressed in its most pure form, on those parents’ faces.
No parent should experience this. I don’t know how many of the parents can force themselves to imagine what they would feel to watch their boy body tear to pieces, a few hundred bites (according to the forensic). Talking to people that experienced this type of tragedy about how they have to love the strays wouldn’t be a smart choice. It was amazing for me to read/see a lot of negative comments from animal haters, on media and internet: how dogs must be mass-killed, fast – but none sign of hate, no urge against the dogs from the parents which in my view, it’s a sign of nobility.
If I would see in the media a case of dog beaten by humans, I would feel probably the same indignation. Of course, raising a child and supervising him it’s the adults (parents, grandparents) responsibility but in the civilized World we pretend to be part of, tragedies like these are unacceptable.

In my opinion, the tragedy happened because there are aggressive dogs on the streets. While filthy pounds and so-called private shelters are full of friendly dogs, the really aggressive pack of dogs, which can be hardly catch terrifies people and place in bad image the genuine work of some ONG, some REAL animal lovers, etc

In a country with an estimated strays problem of 2,5 millions, estimated 60,000 strays in Bucharest alone things can’t change overnight.
The dogs number increased on the streets since 22 years now. It was a matter of time until the tragedy of the 4 years old boy to happen. Previously many people were bitten, some even died because dogs attacks. This last case shocked the public opinion because the clichés that “the man was evil”, “the man aggressed the dog in the first place”, etc are out of the context. We are talking about a defendless boy that paid with his life the lack of authority capability to solve a community problem that becomes worse every day.

If you look in the ROLDA Newsletters archives, you will see these things highlighted:

1. We identified no entity (company, ONG, etc) capable to solve the strays problem in its full. The public opinion must be prepared to understand and accept notions like “sterilization”, “respect for a dog”, “what to expect from a dog adopted from a shelter”, “how to approach a semi-wild dog”, etc
Considering that 50% of the Romanian houses do not have the toilet inside the house, but outside in the garden and with no water; considering that most of the rural people don’t know what a condom is - reaching the point when people will have the respect and compassion for a street dog is not close in time.
With no money, no logistic and no community to solve humanely the strays’ problem in a reasonable amount of time, the cases when dogs will attack to kill people will increase. As a result, innocent animals will be killed out of people rage, desire to live in safe communities where not to risk their lives if they go out in a park, or go shopping.

2. Sterilization of 10 – 100 or 200 dogs in communities where their estimated total is twenty times higher is not efficient - only a parade for PR purpose for extra donations. While a charity sterilize 200 dogs but leaves 4500 un-sterilized, by the time it returns (if ever) for other sterilizations, the number of new puppies born meanwhile from the un-sterilized dogs surpass the number of previously sterilized animals.
I do not imply that it’s not good to sterilize. I am trying to say that without efficiency and sustaining, a small number of sterilized animals doesn’t bring real results, real advantages for the whole picture in order to convince a community, tired of corruption and lies that this is the right path to follow.
The benefices of sterilization are well known and correct. The fact sterilizations are done in Romania for a percentage of animals that is lower than the percentage of puppies born from un-sterilized dogs – this is wrong and unproductive.
In a society where the average real salary is about 300 $ and people have so many worries, lack of good education and medical systems, economic problems, unemployment, how to find the resources and continuity for a nation-wide sterilization program?!
EU talks about Romanian strays but I don’t think they try to help us solve the problem realistically in any way. There are many Western private people or private charities that provide endless funding for various Romanian projects. Romania needs fast a nation-wide plan not only drops in the ocean!

3. ROLDA built shelters exactly for this purpose: to relocate the street dogs that cause troubles, that are exposed to possible death, abuses or hunger, illnesses, etc. None dog from out shelter caused never, ever troubles in society. Why? Because if they stay in our shelter – there is no way that dog can get out, how to bite or upset someone?!
ROLDA made public statements against the so-called shelters, un-safe for the society, where illegal and unhealthy conditions are provided. The result was that we got more enemies on social networks to badmouth us.

As an ONG you must give an example. When you are a filthy shelter, the tears dropped in front of a camera doesn’t bring you the respect of the society where you try to set an example. ROLDA always aims for higher standards even if this means extra costs for building, improvements, repairs. ROLDA wants safe, clean, healthy shelter where dogs (especially the anti-social, semi-wild dogs) should be placed and rehabilitated. I know it’s more difficult to handle a problematic dog, that needs time and patience but it should be a job done with passion for the real animal lovers. After all, Facebook is full of Romanian animal lovers that could do this in the name of love for those animals which are on the streets because we, people, are ignorant and selfish, sometimes not very smart and arrogant in our claims.
Why in the World packs of aggressive dogs would be left nearby a park full of defendless beings like seniors or children? A disaster to happen anytime…Some are saying that the people declared at Police that the dogs were not feed from 10 days because the woman that was supposed to feed them was left in Holidays or that the dog found with the child blood on his mouth was sterilized in papers 8 times…..

I remind you that ROLDA makes efforts to educate the public about the necessity of building throughout Romania quality shelters, not overcrowded because this means stress for the animals. Feeding stations for dogs in populated spaces, e.g. near markets or kids’ gardens is not a smart idea.
Feeding dogs for a number of weeks in front of people apartments and than leaving them without the food source for many days in row is not a very smart idea either.

The dogs are staying nearby humans from so many years. They tolerate us as we are, this is why probably we call them “man’s best friend” because there is no other animal on Earth as submissive, tolerant and loyal as the dog. So how we managed, humans – after keep on destroying the Planet to destroy little by little this myth?

The biggest mistake, in my opinion is that we expect from the street dog to behave exactly like a pet-shop dog. Most of the street dogs, especially the semi-wild ones that ROLDA rescue in the past 7 years – are kind, gentle, great companions, smart in proportion of 85 – 90%. In the wild, they are acting like a pack, being more close to nature and following their instincts to survive. The real transformation for these dogs is to see them giving up their instincts, their protection, giving up everything to be around people and enjoying that. This is how I see the dogs’ rehabilitation.

From hundreds of (formerly wild) dogs sent abroad in adoptive homes by ROLDA, all of them became great, loyal and safe members of their new family. There were 3-4 dogs’ exceptions in total, in all those years.
So how we can transform wild dogs into great pets? One of the reasons is that ROLDA does the work with responsibility and dedication. Another reason is that we rely on our supporters understanding and fair judgment to be helped to continue and our supporters never disappointed us.

I am afraid that we are in Romania now closer than ever to see many street dogs being mass killed because I feel hostility and I also see the society afraid of these dogs, exasperated of this un-ending problem, humiliated by and frustrated because of a system and by corrupt politicians.

I don’t think it’s fair for sociable dogs to pay the price. I see the guilt in politicians’ eyes, in each member of the society eyes that tolerated this situation until a drama happened, in the way some ONG approached over the years the whole thing. There are indeed some dogs that put people life in danger. There are all of us, humans responsible of this whole situation so looking in other direction now is a bit too late.

ROLDA’s ultimate goal is to open a wild habitat where a number of un-adoptable dogs to live safe for the rest of their life. We need funds for the land and a safe enclosure to prevent dogs escaping to attack people or other animals in the surroundings. In case you can help us reach this goal, please get in touch with us at [email protected] – same address where you can donate by PayPal.


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