The third stable donated to STD by Donkey Sanctuary, the British foundation that wholly sponsors the donkey shelter at Cernavoda, is expected to arrive by the end of October. The new structure has become necessary because the grounds hosting the animals have reached maximum capacity by now: 40 donkeys (20 per stable). Donkey Sanctuary management have come to realize, throughout the one and a half year of co-operation with STD, that the situation of these animals in Romania is very serious and have decided to extend the Cernavoda project. It is easy to predict that, during the coming winter, STD will find many abandoned donkeys in the countryside or along the edge the roads, often in an exhausted state or even wounded. STD thanks the managing committee and the staff of Donkey Sanctuary for the trust shown and for expanding the project which, as a start, will enable us to shelter 20 extra donkeys. (Above: STD President, Sara Turretta, with a group of donkeys at the Cernavoda shelter).
Following the news of the Calarasi shelter shut-down, we witnessed to a great mobilization by our supporters and friendly associations. We received many phone calls, e-mails and, above all, many air-fares for our loved four-legged friends and we have already many adoptions from Italy as well as from our partners’ countries. Until today, the donated air tickets (valued at 75 Euro each) stand at 129, while some twenty dogs have already left for shelters in northern Italy and for selected Swiss families. About ten dogs have joined as many families in Finland and The Netherlands, while Hundhjalpen (our Swedish partners) have placed eleven in their adoption porgramme, three of which (including a three-legged dog and an elderly one) have already been booked. We are all working at a frantic pace to allow the departure of as many dogs as possible by the 31st October, while many new shelters (among which those at Merate and Trieste) have offered their help. Lili Dragut, responsible for adoptions in Romania, will be working three days out of seven at the Calarasi kennels beginning this week, in order to monitor the performance of the adoptions and to better evaluate the number of dogs still available. Presently, there are 50 four-legged friends that are already booked to fly off within the next few weeks, while about 40 are still available for adoption or to be welcomed by shelters. Our most sincere thanks go to all the volunteers who contacted us to collect the dogs at the various destination airports and to fly them towards Bucarest. Anyone willing to donate some Alitalia free miles can write to firstname.lastname@example.org: many more miles are still needed to let our volunteers fly at low cost, thus making a return ticket cost equivalent to the 100 Euro airport tax only.
It is now official: the Calarasi kennel will close this autumn.
Our association fought strenuously in order to push forward this project, starting from February 2008, spending some 7 000 Euro every month besides a significant initial investment for the erection of the fencing and the purchase of the containers. Alas, our efforts have not been enough. What made our operation in this town untenable was the total unreliability of the 5 per thousand funds (whose disbursement keeps being postponed by the government), together with the drop in donations linked to the economic crisis. To make the situation worse there are (no less relevant) aspects linked to he local institutions attitude, that is, the fact that the municipality:
- did not finalize the legal procedures required for the transfer of deed of the grounds to STD, a year and a half after our arrival thus practically outlawing all our activities there, including medical ones (it was not possible to obtain the sanitary-veterinary permits necessary to treat and to sterilize the strays);
- did draw up, on the other hand, a 60 000 Euro contract with a private company that uses barbaric methods to capture the dogs “to be sterilized”. One cannot understand how our partnership proposals were totally ignored, notwithstanding our availability to directly undertake 50 % of the expenses of an intensive sterilization programme. Obviously, no contributions of any kind ever reached STD.
The closure and final dismantling of the kennel are expected to take place before the 30th October 2009, with a chance of postponing by a few weeks, in the case no alternative accommodation is found for the 270 dogs hosted in the building. The aim is that of clearing out the shelter and to take away, piece by piece, enclosures, cages and equipment, to prevent nuts and miscreants from utilizing the area. We will see to utilizing anything that is still in good condition at the Cernavoda and Medgidia facilities. The bad news have already been communicated to the local staff, for whom the association is providing good will pay worth two months salary. Furthermore, S TD has proposed to the shelter veterinarian to open a surgery for the sterilization of “owned” dogs and cats at cost, while we offer in exchange (by free bailment or “loan for use”) the operating theatre equipment.
STD vice-president, Paola Lazzarini, and Ylenia Bitetti, reponsible for adoptions, arrived in Romania a few days ago to select the animals that can be adopted and promote, though photos and video clips, their chances of being adopted. Besides the Italian shelters, also the Dutch and Finnish partners will get busy looking for families for some of the 270 stray dogs from the Calarasi kennel. We hope that our supporters will understand the insurmountable difficulties we are facing and will stick by the association in this dramatic turn of events too. This is the first time we have to take a “step backward”, but persisting notwithstanding the lack of funds and the political isolation, could place in jeopardy the other projects too, which are already threatened by serious political problems.
What can you do for the 270 Calarasi dogs?
Some of the abandoned puppies at the shelter
Obviously, each of you can help us to make the shut-down less painful. We especially need to send away for adoption the greatest number of animals possible. Here are some ideas on how to give us a hand:
1) we need the resources to pay the airfares for the dogs (Euro 5.00/Kg) to fly to northern Italy. On average, the dogs to be placed weigh about 15 Kg each, for a total of c.a. Euro 75.00 per dog. Visit the HELP US page make a donation, entering “biglietto per un cane di Calarasi“ in the “reason for donation” field. We will send to your home the photo of the dog you saved by sponsoring its flight with a reference to the shelter that welcomed it.
2) donate your Alitalia Mille Miglia points to allow our volunteers to fly. Write to email@example.com to provide us your registration number, the PIN and your date of birthday.
3) we are looking for volunteers prepared to fly to Bucarest within the day but also to collect the dogs at the Milan, Bergamo-MPX and Verona airports and to deliver them to the shelters; write to firstname.lastname@example.org to offer your availability.
4) if you are a volunteer from a shelter in northern Italy, get your kennel managers to contact STD. By collecting even just one or two dogs, you will be providing a significant contribution to the effort of clearing out the kennel.
We would remind everyone that, some of the Calarasi dogs were inherited from the previous management while some were abandoned at the shelter by irresponsible citizens. None of these animals is able to survive in the streets, let alone in a town like Calarasi where there are thousands of strays and cruelties and poisonings are the order of the day. Every dog that leaves will be a dog whose life has been saved.
Visit the following sections in order to learn the story of our intervention in Calarasi: