The nightmare of the dog-catchers in Cernavoda has come back to haunt us

One of the veterinarians called upon to capture the dogs using a blow gun

Friday morning, the town of Cernavoda woke up to the living nightmare of seeing dog catchers out and about in the streets again

Giurgiu’s ASPA IVET Animal Resort – a so-called “association” that is notorious in Romania for having killed thousands of strays over recent years – has been called in to round up over 700 dogs (VIDEO: caution: images not suitable for a sensitive audience) that members of the City Council claim to have assessed as being present in the area.

Armed with a dozen or so vehicles and numerous operatives wielding tranquillizing blow guns, ASPA IVET has already indiscriminately captured scores of dogs and has announced that they will not cease their actions until they have completely “cleared up” the city. All the staff at Save the Dogs have immediately rallied to try and rescue as many dogs as possible and transport them to Footprints of Joy to save them from what they know would otherwise be a certain death.

The sudden appearance of the dogcatchers has been a bolt out of the blue for us here at Save the Dogs: we were absolutely convinced, on the contrary, that we had managed to obtain a postponement of this decision after our intervention a fortnight ago at the offices of the City Council. At this meeting, we had an extremely fraught exchange with Mayor Negoita, who aggressively accused us of actually being the cause of the presence of strays in the city. A few days before that, we had sent the mayor a letter signed by a large number of Romanian animal protection associations, urging him not to proceed with the contract he had commissioned ASPA IVET to carry out, especially given that they were infamous for a number of irregularities for work they had done with other city municipalities.

At Footprints of Joy we are creating more room to be able to save as many dogs as possible from capture

All of our previous attempts over the past few years to convince the Cernavoda City Council to enter into a truly effective partnership to help solve the problem of stray animals have failed miserably. Our pleas to impose fines on dog owners for noncompliance with the law (which requires mandatory sterilization and microchipping) have never been heeded or followed up, nor have door-to-door educational campaigns reinforcing the importance of responsible ownership been carried out, and consequently many privately-owned animals continue to roam the streets, free to mate and produce litters, unchecked.

The only actions taken to combat strays are those that Save the Dogs has carried out using its own resources: namely, sterilizing more than 40,000 animals (both strays and privately-owned dogs), completely free of charge, and organizing the adoption of more than 8,200 animals abroad. However, we are only too aware that associations alone cannot solve such a complex problem, which requires the commitment of all parties involved. Instead of which, until 2019 hundreds of dogs were taken off the streets and slaughtered by firms contracted by the municipality. These actions are both expensive and also totally unnecessary. And yet, despite this, they still happening right now.