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by founder Nancy Janes

In 2001, I and two friends from the San Francisco Bay area took a hiking trip in Romania. We immediately noticed the sad state of the dogs......unwanted animals abandoned to life on the streets, in forests, and fields. While nurturing some dogs in a park one day, a young lady approached me. She thought I was poisoning the dogs.....she told me 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. I told her I was an American and would go back to the USA, contact the international charities I 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”. My reply was, “I will not forget”.

Upon my return to the USA, I approached many international charities, and they all refused my request to help in Romania. After sending donations to a Romanian charity I met online in 2002, my husband 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 Romania.” Like many other people and charities, we started by financing a shelter. But there was no change or progress in the never-ending supply of unwanted animals that were continually abandoned. Without putting a cap on the never–ending 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 they 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 to 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/neutering. We began increasing our support for spaying/neutering as much as possible. Still, one of the problems was finding skilled vets to work with, as well as knowledgeable charities and individuals who could understand that spaying/neutering would stop the crisis of never-ending suffering. In 2004, we started spaying/neutering in one community.

 

In 2006, we began moving from shelter help to providing spaying/neutering 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 recently returning from a 4-month veterinary training trip in the USA, 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 correct 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 two 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 proudly report that RAR/ASNI is approaching 125,000 spay/neuter. We often have spayathons now in villages and towns, simultaneously providing excellent surgeries to those who cannot afford to pay for them. Our hub cities are near Bucharest at the Center of Hope and Craiova at the Family Vet clinic. We also run mobile campaigns with the Red Van and with HOPE, our spaymobile. Our primary focus is to get funds for spaying/neutering, as the EU does NOT provide funding for spaying/neutering in Romania and never has, and only through donations is our work possible.

In late 2015, construction began to build the unique Center of Hope. In February 2017, the first patients began arriving. The Center of Hope is located outside of Bucharest. This new Center is a state-of-the-art Center for Romania and Eastern Europe. The Center features the latest diagnostic equipment, and the highly skilled vets from our Bucharest hub Dream Team call this home. We aim to spay and neuter over 1000 animals per month at the Center of Hope; many are brought in from villages by our Spay Shuttle. But what do we do about the injured animals living on the streets? What should we 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 cannot afford the cost burden or take the animals to their homes. RAR needed to contact the Good Samaritan by providing a “no commitments” service to help the animals. While we always helped to finance veterinary care, we needed to do more. The Homeless Animals Hospital was born. HAH provides free or subsidized care for homeless animals brought in by the public or local rescuers *as our funding allows*. Foster care homes and friends from local shelters often help us to provide safe havens for animals 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 the Good Samaritan decides to adopt the animal they helped! HAH also provides free spaying/neutering services as donations allow. We knew that education was also needed so that the public would understand the importance of spaying/neutering, learning to have compassion for the animals whose fate was not their choosing, and learning how to 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 over 20,000 education booklets to schools, charities, orphanages, and community events. Another program we sponsor is the Veterinary Training Camp. VTC is the creation of Dr. Aurelian Stefan, Dr. Petrisor Stefan, and Veterinary Technician Ruth Osborne. RAR supports Romanian veterinarians who need to heighten their skill level for spaying/neutering and other surgeries. VTC vets are trained to perform keyhole incisions for faster recovery and minimal animal discomfort. By reaching out to train more vets in Romania, more animals in more communities will be helped.

And now, here are some statistics regarding the dogs: Each female and her offspring, according to Dogs on Death Row, PETA, and HSUS, can produce six 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 abandoned, unwanted animals.

Our sister charity, Animal Spay and Neuter International UK has provided spays/neuters for animals in Romania, Bulgaria, Suriname, the Dominican Republic, Portugal, the UK, the USA, and Greece. Donations are needed to provide this service: www.romaniaanimalrescue.org Registered charity in the USA -# 72-1546354 UK - Animal Spay and Neuter Intl, #1172316. Please see our website for details.

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