Sunday, June 30, 2013

A microchip reader, one happily fulfiled wish

A couple of months ago we wished for a microchip reader with no luck... But we did not lose hope and tried again with a new appeal for items greatly needed to help the dogs. This time, we were lucky!

Thank you from the heart, TASSO e.V., for sending us the much needed microchip reader we've been dreaming of! And thank you dearly, Claudia, for contacting TASSO e.V. for us and making this possible.

A precious help, a microchip reader we have already started using for the dogs we rescue. Thank you!

Same dog, two worlds apart...

Looking back, I can only wonder what kind of ruthless, backward country we are. And then I remember. We're a 21st century European Union country, at least theoretically. A country with animal protection legislation on paper, but a country where no one ever gets in trouble for having entire females and dumping or killing the unwanted resulting puppies. A country where the sense of morality, honor and responsibility are mostly a thing belonging to the past. Where the decent, proactive citizens really have become an endangered minority; whose lives are a living hell having to put up with so much...

Here's a soul that stands for millions others that have come and gone. An extremely lucky case, an exception.

Benny as we found him nearly 1 year ago, thrown as trash in a garbage collection point in Ploiesti, in beyond horrible condition, with the heaviest flea infestation possible. Puppies, Romanian style!

Formerly Benny, now Gino, now living the life it should in Holland. Dogs, Dutch style!

In present day reality, Romania is overall light years away in morality, responsibility, honor and decency from where it should be; a country where corruption, cruelty and injustice have royal seats. But the animals surely have no fault... For them, we continue to stand

Panda, my savior

In an evil, cruel world, after having seen countless dead dog bodies of animals that had endured agonizing deaths from being poisoned, it was more than I could take...

But then some friends that had helped me a great deal morally asked me for help with a little abandoned puppy... I could not say no, and instantly fell in love. A needy little girl with scabies that has been like honey to me, like bandage for a broken heart after all I had seen in the last weeks. Now she's on treatment for scabies, but she's such a lovely little soul. The ultimate shrink, a little helpless doggie sleeping in my arms like a little baby. Not sure who needed who the most... She has healed me, but now she would love to get a home of her own. Meet Panda!

Panda in the first few days, suffering terribly from itchy scabies, but started right away on treatment at the vet. In a few weeks she'll be healed

 A "massive" furball of less than 2 kilos when she first stepped into my life

 Sleeping, sleeping, sleeping... just a wee bit bigger than the remote control

Always making everyone laugh, sleeping in the funniest positions

One week later, and she's a little star with silly, funny personality and tons of affection

Panda will most likely stay a fairly small doggie. Just another abandoned soul in the ruthless streets of Ploiesti, an innocent soul already born and in need of a home. Do you know the perfect home for her?

Friday, June 21, 2013

The June 2013 Ploiesti Siege on stray dogs

To the world out there, begging for help.

I feel compelled to let the world know about the June Ploiesti Siege and ask for everyone to help us here in Ploiesti, Romania. I never imagined I would get to see such unbelievable and widespread cruelty acts against homeless animals. In the last week I have felt just like a news reporter in a dangerous war zone, seeing first hand the casualties of a cruel, illegal and immoral war against animals. For there really is a battle zone out here, with unbelievably many casualties that suffered long, painful deaths. I know that after the June Ploiesti Siege against homeless animals I will never be the same again.

As a local animal protection and welfare organization, about a week ago we started receiving worrisome information from Ploiesti animal lovers about dogs vanishing in the middle of the night, or being found poisoned the following mornings. In one night alone, the night of June 13th-14th,unidentified men wearing blue or dark red overalls tranquilized and took in their vans dozens of dogs from the South and West neighborhoods of Ploiesti. None of these animals could be later found at the local Bucov pound. All these animals, dozens of them, simply vanished in thin air. Bucov shelter management and employees continuously denied having anything to do with these actions.

But this was only the beginning. In was the follow up which got us all stunned, speechless, in shock. Beginning the same night of June 13th-14th,dozens of animals got poisoned every single night, all over Ploiesti. No pattern, really. Dogs of all sizes and ages, from puppies of 6 weeks old to veterans that had been in their neighborhoods for as many as 9 years... Some sterilized and with ear tags, some even wearing collars. Some from the streets, while others from private factory courtyards. Many from areas with high stray dog density, yet others from areas with fairly low density. Some super friendly and relaxed dogs. Nothing seemed to make a difference. Dozens of animals every single night, and countless many more that vanished and whose bodies could not be found. This is the June Ploiesti Siege on stray dogs.

 Sterilized by Vier Pfoten... A poisoned dog in agony, about to die

In the morning of June 18th we got word that a few dogs had been found poisoned in the courtyard of a private auto shop. And well, several more other dogs missing from that same place. We called the police and the local vet authority. Turns out this was the first official reporting of such poisonings. Many people had simply buried the bodies themselves. We kept on getting information about such poisoned animals, yet people did not know they could report them to the police. We accompanied the vet authority with the dead dog bodies to the lab for post mortem examination. We also had a press release locally about the Ploiesti stray dog poisonings, informing people what to do and where to report such events.

But it was the following day of June 19th which brought massive numbers of reported casualties... Including beloved strays that had been cared for by the community from puppyhood till old age. And whole packs from industrial sites and factory courtyards, simply decimated. In hot scorching weather, in an indescribable smell of decaying bodies, we took pictures to document the June Ploiesti Siege. Please be warned that the pictures from the following album documenting the June Ploiesti Siege against homeless animals are very disturbing. On the same day, the Town Hall announces starting up a committee to dig into the stray dog poisonings and discover the ones responsible.

The night of June 19th I happened to walk by yet another stray dog that appeared dead.... I came closer and realized this time it was a dieing dog, also the victim of poisoning. I called the vet and, not wanting to lose any precious second, I induced vomiting in the suffering animal. I thought if I could save her, it would still mean a tiny moral triumph in a disturbing week with too many losses. The vet soon came and administered her (it was a she sterilized by Vier Pfoten) treatment based on the symptoms it displayed, symptoms highly specific of poisoning. Unfortunately, the animal could not be helped, the poison had already reached deep, and soon it started having seizures. We could not save her... Please note this is a particularly hard to watch video of a stray dog of Ploiesti suffering a seizure episode after having been poisoned.

Now multiply this by hundreds... And you will understand the drama and the magnitude of the June Ploiesti Siege. Not just murdered dogs, not just hundreds of them (and possibly even more), but also them dieing horrible, slow, painful agonizing deaths. In quantity and quality, the June Ploiesti Siege is beyond brutal. And if you picture this in 2013 in a European Union country... there are no words.

Who are our main suspects?

Well, first and foremost our mayor, Iulian Badescu. Last year, in his electoral campaign, one of his main promises was to rid Ploiesti of stray dogs. Please have a look yourself at the posters used last year in his campaign:

Secondly, we suspect the private company Coral Impex SRL, the company hired by our municipality for pest and bug control, but... also to pick up dead animal bodies and dispose of them. We talk about huge sums of money paid by the town hall to this private company for collecting and incinerating dead dog bodies. The more dead bodies, the more money Coral Impex SRL receives from the town hall... Money paid by our municipality from our taxes. They have the financial incentive, and they have the means, since they manipulate toxic substances and have access to large amounts of them. Furthermore, men wearing blue overalls (Coral Impex SRL employees have blue overalls...) have been spotted chasing dogs in the middle of the night, or spraying solutions in public places where dogs were found poisoned the following morning.

We also suspect the local vet authority for taking part in this. It is highly suspicious that only in the last week, the local vet authority started placing posters in public areas, informing the general public to only walk their dogs on leash and with the muzzle on... The reason being that the local vet authority has placed baits with rabies vaccines for wild foxes (we don't have wild foxes here in town?!), and well, the dogs should not ingest them by accident...

It is a bit hilarious that the committee designated by our mayor, Iulian Badescu, to investigate into the recent stray dog killings also includes the local vet authority, plus Coral Impex SRL, plus Bucov shelter management... It's hard to rate such committee (made up precisely of our main suspects...) with any bit of credibility.

Romania has, at least on paper, animal protection legislation, and the deeds that happened in the last week (acts of cruelty and killings) have, at least theoretically, been against written laws. A fair investigation and trial would by all means lead to prison and huge fines for the ones responsible. A fair one, that is.

All the more unfortunate is that this illegal and immoral campaign has gone out of hand. In the last 2 days there have been instances of secondary or residual poisonings of owned dogs. Owned dogs that had to be rushed to the vet with poisoning symptoms after going on walks in public areas (parking lots and parks) with their owners. Very soon children will go on summer break, and it will be them playing in these same public areas... Will we also have to see children rushed to hospital with poisoning symptoms, for these poisonings to stop? How bad does it have to get for the ones responsible for this to stop?

The world must know about the June Ploiesti Siege on stray animals, but also a siege on our community. It has been emotionally wrecking for countless people who lost dear animals. And in all seriousness, it has been very hard for the average citizen (especially our children) to walk by dieing suffering dogs or by dead dog bodies everywhere. Animal lover or not, nobody wants to see innocent souls suffering painful deaths, or death everywhere in the streets of Ploiesti. But that's exactly what we have had for the last week.

Please spread the word about the June Ploiesti Siege, for the world must know about it. We need an unbelievable amount of support locally and from abroad so we can see justice for these killings, so that the ones responsible will really be found and tried. Otherwise, dust and silence will set on yet another page of the book about Romanian stray dog tragedies.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ploiesti Neutering Challenge Day 34

On May 28th we drove the FPCC van around Ploiesti and collected 22 animals for free sterilization. Unfortunately, the vet deemed one owned female dog not in good enough shape to be sterilized. Hence, on Day 34 we sterilized 21 animals (19 dogs and 2 cats; that is 20 females and 1 male), and we'll wait for the owned female dog to get in better shape so she can get sterilized as well in the future.

Here's Day 34 of pickups in pictures:

 One lovely friendly female from a super overcrowded gypsy courtyard

 Females from a factory courtyard

 A lovely stray teenage female

And the loveliest teenage male pup, the only male sterilized on Day 34 of free sterilizations; we took him for sterilization as one of his testicles was red and inflamed

On May 30th we returned the 21 sterilized animals plus the 1 unsterilized female back into their territories or to their carers:

 A sterilized owned female doggie happily reunited with her carer; a beloved dog that won't contribute anymore to increasing the number of unwanted pups

 Happy dogs and carers; reunions are always so joyous!

 Awaited with food by her owner; the pups from her last litter were also happy to be reunited with their mommy

 Sweet friendly dogs waiting to be returned

 Some months ago we met this stray female with a whole litter of little pups... a couple of months later, and the now teenage pups were of reproductive age as well! We had both mom and her teenage daughters sterilized on Day 34

 Sweet friendly dogs, returned sterilized

 On their way to be back into their territories!

And a sterilized kitty, no more kitten for you!

Well, that was our Day 34 with 21 free sterilizations. Another busy day for us in a city where the stray animal overpopulation is so severe that these poor animals have little or no inner value in the eyes of our fellow citizens. We do everything humanely possible to prevent more litters from being born into a world that does not care about them and their suffering. For their own good, we strive to reduce their numbers through sterilizations and education.

The angels that made Day 34 of free sterilizations possible are HondenBrokkenMakers and lovely Gia, Wouter and Help4Strays, Stephen T, Cecilia B, Anna H, Susanne G, Nacima and her beloved Lady, Ana Z, Leonie P and Elly P. 

Furthermore, may thanks to the angels that made possible the 5 emergency sterilizations provided at the vet clinic in town on May 28th and May 30th: Toni R, Mirjam BH, Antina S and Caroline T.

This concludes the end of a very productive May 2013 full of sterilizations: 102 sterilizations more precisely!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

World's luckiest girl!

Last summer my friend Gabriela rescued a puppy from a factory courtyard where she was at risk to be taken by dog catchers. This was Albi back then, a sweet puppy at risk:

Puppy Albi in the factory courtyard where she was at risk to be taken by dog catchers

Little Albi grew into a lovely young lady in Gabriela's care, waiting and waiting and waiting for the right family for her:

A sweet friendly girl with a great smile!

The miracle for Albi happened one year later, but it was so worth the wait! In May 2013, a wonderful couple flew from Holland to Romania and came to Ploiesti specifically to meet Albi... and that was it. The rest is history.

Thank you dearly, Debbie and Alan, for making miracles for this sweet girl, for going a long way just to meet her, for showing unbelievable commitment and dedication. It took a while for Albi to be adopted, but I suspect only because it was meant to be super special for this ultimately lucky girl!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Our wish list with items needed to help the dogs

We really have a few items we would greatly need in our work to continue helping the strays.

Our wish list:

1) Balinese nets to help us catch the fearful dogs. All homeless animals must by all means be sterilized in order to contain the stray animal overpopulation. Friendly socialized dogs are very easy to gently catch by hand but... some dogs surely are fearful. Aside the humane trap cage, one or two Balinese nets could work wonders with fearful animals!

2) A new surgical cradle for the FPCC vet Gabi Bratu. He only has one surgical cradle and he provides sterilizations at several vet clinics, which means that one surgical cradle must be transported everywhere.

3) Sterilization wraps. Given the hundreds of animals we sterilize, we always need more sterilization wraps.

4) A basic microchip reader. We need to check that the animals prepared for adoption abroad have well functioning microchips. So nothing undesirable happens to them during transit or when getting abroad.

That's our wish list. Who knows, maybe you could help us continue to help the thousands of needy strays of Ploiesti with one wish item?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ploiesti Neutering Challenge Day 33 in honor of Gia!

On May 27th we've made it to Day 33 of sterilizations part of our Ploiesti Neutering Challenge! Thanks to wonderful friends who cared and wished to prevent more suffering. On Day 33, 17 females (13 dogs and 4 cats) got sterilized at the FPCC vet clinic on the outskirts of Ploiesti. Most dogs were either pregnant or in heat. All cats were pregnant. All super lovely animals that won't be breeding machines anymore. Here's bits and pieces of Day 33 in pictures!

This small female was abandoned (pregnant) recently in front of the home of an animal lover. The animal lover called me, she was desperate to have the wee dog sterilized. The little doggie also lacks a front paw...

Friendly small female in heat; she was dumped a while back ago in the courtyard of a monastery, pregnant. She gave birth to that litter but all puppies but 1 died... Now she was in heat again

And one of the lady cats!

 A volunteer holding this female girl lovingly while the vet technician injects the anesthetic

 The girl that stole my heart during this sterilization day... A stray dog with a majestic beauty

 Leaving the clinic, sterilized and awake now. This female is owned. Months ago when she was pregnant, the volunteers wanted to take her for free s/n but the owners did not agree. They said it was a sin to sterilize pregnant females. Same religious owners had no problem dumping the resulting pups afterwards in the streets... But this time the volunteers snatched her and brought her for sterilization

Day 33 with 17 sterilizations was dedicated to our sweet miracle pup Gia. Huge thanks to HondenBrokkenMakers, HEMA Puttershoek, Erna, Leny and Gia for supporting Day 33 of sterilizations!

Earlier on May 24th we also provided 2 more emergency sterilizations at the vet clinic in town, also courtesy of HondenBrokkenMakers.

Thank you for caring to help us prevent more suffering!