During the communist era, the main policy all over Romania was the transformation of rural areas into big industrial cities.
Private houses were demolished and people were forced to move from their own homes with gardens into small blocks of flats/apartments. They were not allowed to take any pets with them and so they had to abandon them on to the streets or worse still to the dog catchers who exterminated thousands upon thousands in frequent 'street cleansing' programmes.
Over the years that passed, the dogs that survived were able to breed and it eventually became impossible to control the extensive canine over-population. This problem was compounded further by the lack of peoples education in animal welfare, poverty issues throughout the country and the Romanian authorities' general ignorance.
The only long-term solution to controlling the over-population of street dogs is extensive and organised spay/neuter and release or adoption programmes. Not only will this reduce the numbers to a manageable and perhaps non-existence level, it is the only humane solution for the animals who, through no fault of there own, are born to live on the street.
Hand in hand with spay/neuter programmes, educational awareness through schools and billboard campaigns must highlight to communities the importance of neutering pets and promoting good animal care principles.
SOS Dogs Oradea http://www.sosdogs.ro is one of the charities doing great work in/around the city of Oradea in NW Romania close to the Hungarian border.
Now managed and run by the FPCC, the main city shelter has a successful adoption centre and the long-running spay/neuter program rolled out across Bihor province has reduced the number of street/stray animals to around 10% of the original number in just a few years. The pioneering work being done by this charity and the evident success they are having will hopefully be a model that other NGO's and municipalities will soon adopt.
(SOS Dogs Oradea Shelter)