I generally rave about how wonderful social media is but sometimes it can also be devastating. Yesterday I found out that 60 Romanian rescues will be essentially sent to their death on the 17th October. I have been following the care of these dogs on Facebook and have been helping try to find them homes. Their time is now up and they will die. I feel helpless, powerless and utterly distraught.
As you may know I am very active and passionate in trying to save dogs in Romania through my charity Hope for Romanian Strays. My passion is driven by the sheer horror of how the thousands of stray animals are treated, with dogs often beaten to death, maimed by other dogs, poisoned and so on. Whilst the shelter we support is one of the better ones, others are rightly nicknamed “death shelters” – dogs are routinely starved or beaten to death, succumb to disease or are killed by other dogs and the survivors are traumatised and live in poor desperate misery with minimal shelter or food.
All of this horror was unknown to me before I got active on social media. I would perhaps have read the add newspaper article or seen a TV programme, but for the whole I was not exposed to some of the most extreme and brutal animal cruelty in the world. Now I see it on a very regular basis. Needless to say it is always distressing and fuels my passion to help. Despite not wanting another cat I ended up rescuing a second one. Despite needing to save money I donate a large part of salary every month. And despite being overwhelmed with the huge need of my own charity I still also support a few individual women who rescue dogs despite their own meager resources.
It was therefore absolutely devastating to hear this week that one of these rescuers, Anca Florea, was about to have all her dogs evicted. A few months ago Anca’s private shelter was raised to the ground – it was a ramshackle enclosure but she provided food and shelter to some very needy dogs. A group of us got together and started funding private foster places for Anca and trying to find homes. Anca then fell very ill and was hospitalised. Without her constant reminders over Facebook people started to forget about the dogs. The funds for the foster places have all but dried up. Anca took many of the dogs into her own home despite her ill health. Despite having to pay for her healthcare she still somehow managed to feed the dogs – albeit very very little.
Now the 60 dogs are to be evicted. She has the option of letting the dogcatchers come – cruel men paid per dog they catch regardless of how (resulting in many dead and injured dogs). They will take her rescued dogs, who have now known love and warmth, to a death shelter where the old and infirm dogs and puppies will definitely die relatively quickly but miserably. A few of the younger strong ones might last a year or so if they are “lucky” before succumbing to starvation and disease. To Anca this is not an option. When the day comes she will take them to a field and give them a fighting chance on the streets. Sadly the old and infirm and the puppies will almost certainly die. The younger ones, if they are not caught, will have a better chance. The reality is though that on the 17th 60 dogs that were safe will have their death sentences signed. They will face a winter of misery, pain, starvation, disease and eventually a horrible death.
And now I feel helpless, powerless and utterly distraught. The mighty social media that has helped me so much with my health, brought so much benefit into my life now fails me. It opens my eyes to a horrific reality for some wonderful, happy dogs that are loved. I have shared their photos. I have begged for help via Facebook. I have asked people to retweet, repin, repost their photos. I have reached out to everyone I know asking if they know anyone who could help save just even 1 dog. I have failed. Social media has failed me. I have no idea what more I can do. All I can say is I will continue to post, to beg and to pray with every inch of my being that a miracle happens and some place can be found for these poor poor dogs. I will continue to beg you to share their posts, to share their photos in the hope that if everyone shares these photos someone out there will see them and decide to help. That through sharing we can save these lives. That you will help me save 60 dogs in desperate need through sharing this and that in doing so will restore my faith in social media to do good. Will you do that for me and for them?
UPDATE: A fundraiser has been started to raise funds for transport to foster places. Please donate if you can. http://www.youcaring.com/pet-expenses/help-save-anca-s-dogs/246573