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THE ROMANIA ANIMAL RESCUE STORY
In 2001, friends from the San Francisco Bay area took a hiking trip in Romania. This is what they witnessed, and the charity that ensued:
By Founder Nancy Janes, Romania Animal Rescue Inc dba Animal Spay Neuter International – USA charity 72-1546354; UK charity (ASNI) 1157935
Upon our walks in Romania, we immediately noticed the sad state of the dogs……unwanted animals abandoned to life on the streets, in forests, and fields. Our small group gave up on the hiking and began caring as best we could for the animals we encountered by providing food and deparasite treatments for them. While in a park feeding dogs in Bucharest, we were approached by a young lady who began screaming at us to stop….
She thought we were poisoning the dogs…..she told us that the dogs were being killed and that she and her neighbors were hiding as many as possible from the authorities and could not take any more, so she was looking out for these dogs that were in the park.
We told her we were American, and would go back to the USA and contact the international charities that we supported and ask them for help for Romanian animals. She replied “Everyone says they will help the Romanian dogs. They go home, they forget. You will go home, you’ll forget”. Our reply, “We will not forget”.”
and now the rest of the story……
Upon my return to the USA, I approached many international charities, and they all refused my requests to help in Romania.
After sending donations to a Romanian charity I met online in 2002, my husband Rory and I began Romania Animal Rescue as a registered 501 © 3 charity in the USA in 2003. Our mission is to “Promote and Establish Animal Welfare in the Country of Romania”
Like many other people and charities, we started out by financing a shelter. But there was never any change, no progress in the never-ending supply of unwanted animals that were continually abandoned. Without putting a cap on the flow of more puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats, no progress to “promote and establish animal welfare” was apparent to us. Impoverished citizens did not have the means to spay/neuter their animals and often could not find skilled vets, so therefore could only resort to one of two choices…..either kill the puppies and kittens or abandon them. Our charity needed to step in and offer some help for these people.
In 2004 RAR began sending veterinarians from the USA to train Romanian vets on spay/neuter techniques. While still helping shelters with infrastructure costs, food, supplies, and doing adoptions, we started trying to move the public to understand the importance of spay/neuter, and began increasing our support for spay/neuter as much as possible….but one of the problems was finding skilled vets to work with, as well as knowledgeable charities and individuals who could understand that only spay/neuter would stop the crisis of never-ending suffering. In 2004 we started spay/neuter in one community. In 2006 we began moving from shelter help to provide spay/neuter on a grander scale, as our funding would allow……something desperately lacking in Romania.
While accompanying Dr. Richard Bachman (USA vet) in Romania during a vet training trip in 2008, I was told of a young vet who had recently returned from a 4 month veterinary training trip in the USA, a Dr. Aurelian Stefan. Dr. Bachman and I met with Dr. Stefan (now Dr A) for coffee…..Dr. Bachman asked the right questions and got the right answers. He advised me to give this new vet a try.
In 2009 we began working with Dr. Aurelian Stefan and his brother, Dr. Petrisor Stefan. Our first spayathon was held in Sibiu with the charity Animal Life. Soon more vets were added to the “ RAR Dream Team” of highly skilled veterinarians. In 2010 RAR did 2 massive spayathons, one in Bucharest for over 700 animals with the charity GIA, and one in Tecuci for over 650 animals with Association Tomita. Our mission was now taking hold! And I can proudly report that RAR is now approaching our 37,000 spay/neuter in Romania alone (as of August 2015), over 9000 in 2014. We often have spayathons now in villages and towns simultaneously, providing excellent surgeries to those who cannot afford to pay for them. Our main focus is to get funds for spay/neuter, as the EU does NOT provide funding for spay/neuter in Romania and never has, and only through donations is our work possible.
RAR knew that education was needed as well so that the public would understand the importance of spay/neuter, to learn to have compassion for the animals whose fate was not of their choosing, and how to humanely treat them. We began our education program with the help of FPCC who allowed us to use their education books. Help from Mayhew International, UK and Global Giving donors allowed us to print and distribute now approximately 16,500 education booklets to schools, charities, an orphanage, and community events.
But what to do about the injured animals living on the streets? What to do about the pets of people who loved them but could not afford to treat them for injuries? Many people come across injured animals, yet are reluctant to help them because they are unable to afford the cost burden or take the animals to their homes. RAR needed to reach out to the Good Samaritan, by providing a “no commitments” service to help the animals. While RAR always helped to finance veterinary care, we needed to do more. The Homeless Animals Hospital was born. Located in Craiova at Family Vet clinic, with hopes of expanding to a village outside of Bucharest, HAH provides free care for homeless animals brought in by the public or local charity as our funding allows. Foster care homes and friends from local shelters help us to provide safe havens for dogs and cats that need a place to go following treatments, and then these animals are put up for adoption if possible. It is also one of our experiences that often times the Good Samaritan decides to adopt the animal they helped! We also provide free veterinary treatment for the pets of the impoverished. This state of the art clinic offers top of the line services, owned and run by Drs. Aurelian Stefan and Petrisor Stefan. HAH also provides free spay/neuter services. In Craiova approximately 13,000 animals have been spayed/neutered at HAH by Romania Animal Rescue. Homeless Animals Hospital program was the recipient of Project of the Month on Global Giving in March 2015, an honor that was bestowed upon us following a visit from a Global Giving representative to Eastern Europe in February, 2015.
Another program RAR sponsors is the Veterinary Training Camp. VTC is the creation of Dr. Aurelian Stefan, Dr. Petrisor Stefan, and Veterinary Technician Ruth Osborne. Having received training by Dr, Jeffrey Young in the United States, Dr. Aurelian Stefan(Dr A) wanted to return the favor by providing the gift of knowledge for his fellow Romanian vets. Dr. Aurelian (Dr A), his brother Dr. Petrisor (Dr P)and UK vet tech Ruth (who moved to Romania to be part of the RAR team), give back to Romania the gift of Training for Romanian vets. RAR sponsors Romanian veterinarians who are interested in learning and heightening their skill level for spay/neuter surgeries and other surgeries. At the VTC, vets are trained on the skills to perform keyhole incisions for faster recovery time and minimal discomfort for the animals. They are also taught flank spay methods so that nursing dogs and cats can still nurse their offspring after spay. By reaching out to train more vets in Romania, even more animals in more communities will be helped. The Veterinary Training Camp has also trained vets from Switzerland, Norway, Greece, Spain, the UK, USA, Canada (these vets paying their own costs for the intensive training program).
Romania Animal Rescue has also welcomed our international sister charity Animal Spay Neuter International, www.animalsni.org, whereby we can now reach out to more regions on the globe to provide excellent spayathons and vet care in communities and for impoverished citizens on a “per need” basis. In combination with RAR, ASNI is now approaching 40,000 free spays and neuters in Romania, Dominican Republic, Suriname, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, as well as funding spays and neuters in Panama, the USA and UK.
And now, here are some statistics in regards to the dogs: Each female and her offspring, according to Dogs on Death Row, PETA, and HSUS, can produce in 6 years up to 67,000 puppies. Granted, even if born, many of these puppies would die of parvo, distemper and other diseases or infestations, be hit by cars and receive other injuries. One spay of one female dog can prevent the suffering of thousands. This is why we do what we do….to decrease suffering and stop the uncontrolled breeding of unwanted animals that are abandoned.
Thank you again for your time and for reading about Romania Animal Rescue and our work. www.romaniaanimalrescue.org/www.animalsni.org