Ph. Razvan Pisoschi

Through an extraordinary operation in terms of volunteer coordination and media involvement, the Vier Pfoten Romania and GIA associations were able to stop the truck that was carrying 52 horses that were captured in the Delta woods to slaughter.
Despite the huge national interest on the event, the authorities have kept the animals in terrible conditions before and during the transfer to the slaughterhouse, causing death from starvation to 5 of them. The pictures of the horses that died on the truck have been shown all over the country and Europe, causing much uproar.
Thanks to the two Romanian associations and to many volunteers who followed and stopped the truck, also calling the police and the media, now the 52 horses left are “parked” in a private property in Braila, where they are waiting to have a series of tests. In turns the Romanian volunteers are taking care of the poor equines, who are undernourished and full of wounds due to their loading and transport.
If the horses are proven healthy they are supposed to be free again, according to a memorandum of intent which was given by Vier Pfoten to the appropriate authorities. Only the ones that are affected by infective anemia will be put down. Besides a proposal will likely be made for stopping the export of live equines and equine meat to Italy, the country these deadly loads are meant for.

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Photo from Vier Pfoten Romania

71 wild horses that lived in liberty in the Danube Delta have been captured in the past few days under the directions of the public authorities charged to protect the naturalistic area. The animals harm the “Letea” forest in the wildlife reserve of Delta, the last European zone where around 2,500 horses live in liberty. Thanks to the mobilization of Vier Pfoten Romania, the case has become a public issue, even if it’s been years that groups of animals have been regularly captured and slaughtered, officially “to protect the environment”. In reality, after the captures, many farmers have requested to retain possession of their own animal, even without their papers in order to show ownership. But, the possibility to sell the animal to the slaughterhouse, getting paid 25 euro per horse has driven many residents to make an all-out attempt.
Today we learned that Vier Pfoten Romania has been able to purchase the 20 colts/foals temporarily placed in a private courtyard in the zone, while 21 animals were found suffering from infectious anemia – And will be put down. 50 horses are left, kept in forbidden conditions by the authorities in one enclosure without water or food – their destiny must be decided.
The mobilization of the Romanian media on the case has been huge and is shaking part of public opinion. The horses of Delta were featured in a documentary on German television and are the subjects of researchers like those from the University of Vienna, with which Vier Pfoten is in contact with. Currently, no law exists in Romania which provides for a “wild horses” category and so, not even a formal safeguard of these splendid animals that they can hold on to, stopping them from being killed. Vier Pfoten lodged a complaint against the ASL and the appropriate authorities for the method with which the horses are held while waiting the slaughterhouse.
Romania exports every year 22,000 horses alive, usually destined for Italian slaughterhouses and around 75,000 in the form of meat.
Even Save the Dogs takes care of mistreated work horses in the zone of Cernavoda and Medgidia and keeps around 15 thanks to long-distance adoption.

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230 corpses. 230 abandoned dogs that in just one day were declared: “suffering from distemper” and under the direction of the local ASL, have been eliminated. It happened between Tuesday and Wednesday in Botosani, a city which is 480 km from Cernavoda, in Moldavia. It is really a shame that 24 hours earlier a small but active volunteer association, the ADOR, had visited and photographed the animals, bringing food to the poor animals and “booking” 18 to take back to their own refuge to be adopted. All this is useless now. The day after, in person, they found all the dogs in plastic bags. Dead.

When the press arrived, the workers of the public dog pound “welcomed” the journalists throwing stones and bricks, all clearly in a state of drunkenness. The vice-mayor, approached by the Romanian press, declared that: “all the dogs suffered from “distemper”, an incurable disease”, declarations that proved wrong by the photos published by ADOR and taken the first day. He condemned, though, the behavior of the dog pound employees, promising an inquiry and reminding that: “those that work in that dog pound are people that belong to the lower class.”
It is not clear however how the animals were killed. With blood found in the enclosures, it’s easy to conclude, that they were not put down in a non-painful way and unfortunately suffered. The volunteers from the association ADOR maintain that some animals had signs of violence inflicted on their bodies.
Contrary to the similar case in Costanza that Save the Dogs brought to the limelight around a year ago, this episode has caused a great sensation with the Romanian media and appears to have deeply shaken part of public opinion. The slaughter – identical to what happens weekly at the dog pound, Alfmob of Costanza and in hundreds of scattered structures on Romanian territory – has occurred under a law that should protect strays, a law that a Parliamentary Commission has revised recently in a disapproving way. After many weeks waiting vainly for the Parliament to make a decision on the new status of the law, the vote had been repeatedly sent back. Meanwhile, thousands of innocent dogs continue to die throughout Romania. A petition has been launched to protest against what has happened.

- The video published on You Tube, the day the bodies found.

- An article from Adevarul

- The video from the website ProTV

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The Romanian press is increasingly interested in the projects tackled by Save the Dogs. The latest visit from a National newspaper dates back to last week when a photographer and journalist from the daily Eventimentul Zilei accompanied our director Laurentiu Vasilescu. They wanted to see in person the magnificent donkey shelter created by Save the Dogs in partnership with the English Donkey Sanctuary on the hills close to Cernavoda. The structure is one of a kind not only in Cernavoda but also in Eastern Europe and was born thanks to the willpower of the English establishment to extend their own projects toward countries where donkeys still live in painful circumstances as well as neglect.
Currently, 58 animals are housed spread throughout three stables which came directly from Great Britain while a home assistance program is about to take off, again thanks to the English funds to improve the condition of the work donkeys, still used widely by farmers and the Romanian community for transport purposes of different kinds of materials.

For a glimpse of the situation of donkeys in Romania, you can visit the relevant section.

In the photo: the journalists from Evenimentul Zilei visiting the Cernavoda shelter with Laurentiu Vasilescu.

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