Calarasi is an extremely poor town about 80 km from Cernavoda, on the border with Bulgaria. In 2003 we got to know the reality of the town very well when we went with Stella Pende from “Panorama” to report on the trafficking of children destined to become beggars in Italy. During the three days we spent with the Panorama journalist we visited the kennels belonging to the association Sufletel, which ran it. We tried in vain to convince Victor Toporanu and his family not to accept other animals in the dreadful structure: they had no funds or know-how, but evidently they wanted to get rich through the animals and for three years hundreds of strays were kept in the kennels, many of them dying of illness and hunger.
In the section 2006-2007 you can see what STD did to improve the conditions of these dogs, prisoners of people without scruples.


In the meantime the massacre of stray dogs went on, without any rules and with severe abuses. STD has a film, made in 2003, which shows the brutality of the dog-catchers: many dogs were suffocated in the streets with metal nooses. The ones that survived were blocked with a clamp around their necks, dragged by their paws and were given an injection of air or other toxic substances in the peritoneum.


After the protests of local animal lovers about the barbarian methods used, for a few years they started to use the gun and poison. Despite the signing of an agreement in March 2007 with STD to begin a plan to sterilise and release the dogs, in September 2007 the butchery started again with the excuse of a supposed outbreak of rabies. Thousands of faxes and emails sent to the mayor of the town from cities all over Europe were to no avail: hundreds of dogs, shut in without food in a temporary pen, were killed pitilessly. This time, though, pharmaceutical products prescribed by the law were used, thanks to the fact that STD was present and put pressure on the local authorities so that the suppressions were carried out using painless methods.


In January 2008 a new sensation: as soon as the dog-catcher starts back to work, STD tells the Mayor that it will report the administration if it does not respect the block on the deaths imposed by the new law for the protection of animals (December 2007). At this point the killings stop, while Mr. Toporanu hands his shelter over to STD, signing a legally binding contract. In the section Calarasi-2008 you can follow the evolution of the project in this town after the contract was signed with Sufletel and the shelter was handed over.


In February 2008 STD officially takes possession of the shelter, improving it with the construction of new pens and the acquirement of four containers (the operating room is set up in one of them). 8 persons are hired, waiting for the funds that the municipality promised with the agreement.

For one year and a half nothing happens: the agreement for the land occupation is not even renewed, thus preventing STD from legally pursuing the veterinary activity. In June 2009 the municipality charges a private society with capturing more than 500 stray dogs and making them “disappear”, paying more than 60.000 Euros to a local businessman. It’s the last straw. STD, which is already facing serious economic problems, decides to close down the shelter.


The dismantling starts in September and finishes at the beginning of December 2009. All the dogs (about 270) are transferred in shelters based in the North of Italy or in the shelter of Medgidia, waiting for an adoption. Unfortunately, from this moment stray dogs in Calarasi remain alone, as other millions of dogs abandoned in the streets of Romania.

STD has decided to take this painful decision, aware of needing priorities according to available economic resources. This means focusing on Cernavoda and Medgidia projects, cities where problems are many and where it is urgent to improve and to structure our presence. The hope is that one day also the poor stray dogs of Calarasi will find their salvation, thanks to another association or to a regained good sense of local authorities.

One of the last stray dogs rescued by STD in Calarasi before closing the project.

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