Back in March of 2012 we launched the Ploiesti Neutering Challenge, an ongoing sterilization campaign focusing on providing free sterilizations to females, owned or homeless, dogs and cats. The Ploiesti community needed free sterilizations like air - and we wanted to meet this need as best we could. Prevention of suffering was always key to us. Since then we have provided nearly 2,000 free sterilizations and our counter increases on a daily basis.
But it was never easy. It is still not easy. When we began, our free sterilization campaign was criticized by old established local animal rescuers. Their creed was simple: we should only sterilize shelter dogs that could also be subsequently adopted abroad. In their mind, sterilizations alone were "wasted" if animals weren't also re-homed. In their view, it was also a waste of money to sterilize homeless dogs, as their lives were doomed anyway. They were also totally against the idea of sterilizing owned animals, assuming owners should be the ones paying for this veterinary service.
The harsh everyday reality we are confronted with in the streets tells us a totally different story. Every year, thousands of puppies are born in the streets of Ploiesti or dumped from people's courtyards. Furthermore, owned female animals never have it easy. All too often, the cute owned female puppy grows up and gets dumped in the street or at the local pound when going into heat or having puppies. Here are a few recent stories from our Ploiesti streets, and unfortunately they are painfully representative and common:
These newborn pups were dumped near a residential building. Too young to survive on their own, they were heavily infested with fly larvae. Wouldn't you have wanted to be there to sterilize the owned female of the irresponsible owner who disposed of these helpless souls like garbage? Even worse, this owner is likely to continue with this disposal practice twice a year, every time his entire dog has unwanted litters...
This small female dog (Lisa) and her 5 tiny pups were dumped on a field near a residential area. A lovely little girl with great temperament, Lisa is a dream dog. By no means did she deserve to be dumped in the streets with her puppies on a cold rainy day. If only that owner would have brought Lisa for free sterilization and kept her- we wouldn't have now a total of 6 souls needing rescue
This is Romania and this is our everyday reality in the streets. And this is how we tackle this nightmare:
- We are happy to sterilize females for free, owned or not. Any soul not being born to suffer is a soul saved.
- Like mamma Lisa are countless abandoned moms with their pups. If we can extend our hand to such owners to have their female dogs sterilized for free, there would simply not be so many souls dumped and in need of rescue. At the end of the day, it's pure math: providing free sterilizations to owned females like Lisa prevents the subsequent birth of exponentially more souls needing rescue work
- Many good willed owners simply cannot afford to pay for a sterilization. We are here to help them with all our heart and understanding.
- Sterilizing homeless female dogs truly increases their chances to become adopted. At our sterilization campaigns we always hear: "my neighbor wants to adopt this community female but only on condition that she be sterilized first, for he does not want puppies"
- Worst comes to worst... we sterilize a homeless female that then gets returned in the streets, and eventually dog catchers pick her up and take her to the city pound. Truly not great, but at least this female dog makes it to the pound sterilized and won't be having puppies in appalling conditions; plus dog catchers only pick up one female dog alone, not a female dog with her litter of puppies. That is one unfortunate soul instead of many more unfortunate souls. Fewer souls born to suffer!
- We did assist miracles in our sterilization campaigns. Believe it or not, but sterilizations of females really do save lives. We've seen in our sterilized females countless cases of pyometra (infection of the uterus) that are deadly if left untreated. Sterilizing females with pyometra literally saved their lives. Today many females are still alive because of the Ploiesti Neutering Challenge.
We strive to touch the lives of as many animals as possible, and prevent as much unnecessary suffering as possible, at the crossroad between compassion and reason. Because we care too much.