Even the living conditions of horses are dramatic in Romania these animals are used as real work machines to be exploited and then left to their own fate.
In our area, the streets are lined with injured hoses, malnourished to the point of exhaustion from pulling carts crammed full of household goods. When their legs are no longer in a condition to support them, and the shocks don’t have the effect of getting them to their feet, these animals are abandoned to die, which only comes after slow, painful starvation or they’re simply slaughtered in the street.
Diana was one of them. Launched into a trot along a Cernavoda street when the Save the Dogs President saw her, her body was reduced to little more than a skeleton, her legs were swollen and bleeding. With the help of the city’s municipal police, Sara Turette was sent in pursuit of the horse, and thanks to the intervention of the police force, who arrived promptly on the spot, we could offer our refuge to poor Diana.
The horse had been bought just two weeks previously from her exploiter. She was 12 and even though she was exhausted, he was paid 180 Euros, a considerable sum in Romania.
The diagnosis of the animal’s condition undertaken by our veterinarians and a British specialist, the outcome brought little hope: the level of dehydration was dramatic, and the horse was in an advanced state of malnutrition. And as if that wasn’t enough, she was also suffering from a micro-fracture on her leg and a broken ligament.
Despite this, we did not give up hope of beating it and we took care of her for several weeks, giving her a specialized diet and specific treatment based on restorative care and anti-inflammatory drugs. The situation continued until Diana literally collapsed on the floor, and at that point, in great pain, we decided on a compassionate euthanasia.
There are thousands of horses in Romania in the same condition as Diana.
From this year, Save the Dogs has brought to life, together with our Finnish partner, Friends of Homeless Dogs, a program of free home care for owned horses, providing owners in the Cernavoda and Medgidia areas with the tools, including those cultural, which allow them to give these animals a dignified life. But for this work to really leave a footprint, we need for it to be carried out continuously.
Therefore, the recent contribution of the American association, Horses on Death Row, was important, thanks to their help we can increase interventions and improve the shelter facilities.
A big thank you also goes to the Cernavoda police force for their very important support during the specific operation with the horse, Diana. We’re confident that in the future we’ll be able to count on them for other interventions.
Structuring a project dedicated to horses involves a great effort by Save the Dogs, but we know we can not pull back: in the context in which we work, to not take into account the suffering of horses would be short-sighted. To do this, we are once again asking our supporters to not leave us alone. Make a donation to our horse project by inserting the payment reference “horse project”. Together we can provide a decent life to many animals like Diana.
When we saved him from his owners in the quarter of « Tabara » in Cernavoda, our Mini was only 5 months. Having lost his mother, who probably died of hardship, soon after his birth, Mini, had developed a serious form of rickets. Once he was taken to the Save the Dogs shelter, the colt appeared seriously dehydrated and undernourished, but the following weeks he had responded to the fortifying treatment and seemed to be getting better. However, a few days ago, the situation suddenly precipitated. After a night on a drip and a large meal of carrots the morning after, Mini died around 11.00 without notice, leaving a feeling of emptiness among the Save the Dogs employees who had taken care of him.
Our association predominantly looks after dogs but Mini’s case offers us the opportunity to speak about another category of animals that live in extreme painful conditions in Romania: they are the equines – horses and donkeys – that are used like work machines to the extreme limit of their forces.
Save the Dogs have been taking care of them for quite a while (our shelter of Cernavoda donkeys is the only refuge of this kind in all Eastern Europe). However, lately we have further increased our efforts to help an increasing number of animals. In fact, because of ignorance or extreme indigence by their owners, these animals are not guaranteed food and the minimum veterinary treatment and are exposed to sweltering summer heat or extreme cold during winter. Our resources are limited but we hope that Mini’s and Eugenia’s experiences sensitize supporters and allow us to collect the necessary resources to create a new stable capable of holding more horses that are mistreated, in addition to those already dependent on Save the Dogs. The stable will be dedicated to Mini, victim of misery and ignorance.
We would like to thank all our supporters for the affection and the extraordinary solidarity shown towards little Mini.
In order to contribute to the creation of a new stable, it is possible to make a donation on Save the Dogs’ account stating as reason for payment: “Stable Mini”.
What follows is the story published on Facebook by a Romanian charity working in Craiova, Speranta pentru Animale. Comments are not needed: pictures and words of the protagonists are enough.
“It all started with a post on our page, last night around 19:00 o’clock, a desperate cry for help: someone asked us to go to a horse that fell in the midle of the street, abandoned after being starved and beaten until he fell. We knew from the beginning that was different from other cases: dogs, cats. And that we would fight with windmills, but still we hoped that maybe this time it would have been different. We went to the animal and found him in agony in the snow at -15 degrees. After about half an hour, we reached a road where we saw a police car and several people who looked helpless. At that moment we realized how powerless we were and in what kind of country we live and what kind of people we are.
First thing we did was to cover the horse with some blankets, then the nightmare began. We called the emergency number and we stated that we needed the help of a veterinarian and firemans to help us raise a horse in agony in the snow at -15 degrees. The answer was: firemen will not come cause they can’t do anything. (…) they gave us a phone number of the cityhall and confirmed they could not intervene, the cityhall had to. We noted the number and we called. The answer? No help, the director does not answer to phone, try again later. And we waited and waited…. and the poor animal became weaker. Again we called the cityhall … the same answer: we are unable to make contact with Mr. Director. Ok can you send us a veterinar? Answer was NO! No vet is available at this hour.
The first vet we contacted was famous doctor Avram, who takes care of local dog shelter Facai (a death camp). “I’m home with the family at the table, I cannot help, come back tomorrow. He said he was not in charge with that area of the city (the street where the horse was), Dr. Constantin was responsible for it, but he could not give us his phone number. We found the number of Dr. Constantin (Constantin is medical doctor’s concession hall) … What do you think he said? He was not in town, he was 10 km away from Craiova and would not come anyway. Why disturbing him at midnight? He said “leave it alone, come to my practice in the morning” and he closed the phone! While I tried to call the authorities, the colleagues asked for help from the press. But we all hit the same refusal! Nobody can, nobody knows, nobody wants anything. I called the cityhall again: finally we were told they would send a machine to come to the horse (still alive) to take him in the park at the zoo and to become food for lions.
(…) Is it true what I hear? In a few minutes I realized that time was passing over us and if we didn’t do something they would have arrived and kill him. It is hard to say what we felt. We had to find a vet. In Romania a vet it is not allowed to take care for a horse that doesn`t have a chip (it is illegal), he only can put to sleep the animal. After dozens of desperate phones, a miracle happened! We managed to find a veterinarian to come to help us. Poor suffering animal is coming to an end .. (….)”.
Since a week ago, a cold wave coming from Siberia has been sweeping through Romania, and straining both people and animals. Once having assisted animals at Save the Dogs refuges, we have focused our attention on proprietary ones. As our partners Friends of Homeless Dogs and DogRescue donated us a considerable number of horse mantles, we have decided to reach some horses in Cernavoda with the aim of protecting them from freezing. Our veterinaries Valentin and Raul visited some Rom districts as to hand out the mantles, and while visiting “Tabara” quarter they run into a dramatic case: a 4-5 months old young horse, seriously undersized, motherless and kept in a shack without food or water. After have conferred with our Chairwoman, and have took cognizant about the seriousness of the fact, it has been stated (also for security matters, considering the situation) to redeem the animal, which has been moved to our refuge quarantine stable. The young horse, that has been called Mini, could hardly stand on its legs and was dehydrated. Since yesterday evening, it has been fed on good quality hay, attended by Save the Dogs staff and kept warm in plenty of straw. We will do our utmost to grant a future to poor Mini, victim of the ignorance and extreme poverty in which part of Romanian population lives.
You can visit our Facebook album to see all the pictures taken yesterday.