We operate in Romania together with our cooperation partner Save the Dogs. Our shared objective is to improve the animal welfare situation in an ethical and sustainable way. Through our neutering programme (also called CNR / TNR) we aim to reduce the population of the country's 2-3 million stray dogs. Due to cultural factors, combined with the poor infrastructure, dogs are able to reproduce on the streets, even if they have no owner to care for them. Thus it is very important to also neuter the unowned dogs. According to several studies a neutering programme is not only an efficient way to reduce the number of stray animals, but it also helps to greatly reduce the risk of rabies and other zoonotic diseases.
Another vital part of our work is education. The educational work targets especially children to prevent them from repeating the mistakes made by the older generations. Through education in the schools the information also reaches the adults and homes in a very efficient way. Save the Dogs' veterinarians also provide education to poor and unskilled animal owners.
A central part of our work is to support and improve the welfare of owned animals. Save the Dogs provides free of charge veterinary assistance as well as food and supplies. Besides the CNR programme these activities provide the greatest benefit for the locals. Horses and donkeys are often an irreplaceable tool for the people trying to make a living for themselves, and through keeping the equines healthy they can be of assistance more efficiently and for a longer time.
Within the Roma population both people and animals are suffering. Our strategy for improving their situation is to provide clothes and toys for the children and in that way we are allowed to also help their animals. Many Roma children are not in schools, so educational activities is also an important part of the strategy.
In the Romanian reality all of this is still not enough. The neutering programme requires a shelter where the dogs can recover. Where ever there is a shelter in Romania animals are abandoned. All dogs cannot be released after the surgery, because releasing them would mean sending them to a certain death (puppies, older and handicapped dogs etc).
In these situations we want to consider the animals as individuals. The dogs and cats that cannot survive on the street are offered a place in one of Save the Dogs' shelters. These animals are supported through our long distance adoption programme. We do not, however, want to keep animals in a shelter for a lifetime. Therefore we seek to rehome these animals. Since locals generally do not adopt animals, Save the Dogs runs international adoption programmes with several organizations in different countries, Finland included.