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  • Writer's pictureFanny

Why volunteer with animals in Romania?

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

You may ask, why Romania? Well according to latest estimation, it is the leading country in terms of population of stray dogs in Europe 🐕

With at least 4 millions dogs roaming the streets (half of the human population of Switzerland), Romania has one of the largest stray dog population to manage (see reference).

You may wonder what is the reason behind this. It seems the issue started a few decades ago during the communist regime. Romanians had to move to housing blocks, where pets were not allowed. Hence people who owned pets at the time had to abandon their dogs. The issue is largely acknowledged and there is even a Wikipedia article on street dogs in Bucharest!

One way to cut the never-ending cycle that leads to more and more dogs on the streets is to run sterilization/neutering/spaying programs.

Sterilizing 1 dog costs around 25 USD / 22 EUR in Romania. This amount seems small compared to France or the UK where this procedure can cost up to 250-300 EUR. However, one needs to consider the average monthly salary in Romania is 625 EUR [source] and renting a flat in a city such as Bucharest cost 220-360 EUR for a one or two-bedroom apartment. So not everyone can afford to sterilize their dog unfortunately.

That said, not everything is negative and sad. Many animal protection organizations have been supporting local programs for the past decades. If you are looking to support, you can consider donating to organizations that run programs in Romania or in your home-country. Below are a few organizations:

  • Romania Animal Rescue (RAR) active locally across the country and organizing spayathon to maximize their impact.

  • Susy Utzinger Tierschutz Stiftung (SUST) is a 20-year old foundation headquartered in Switzerland that support existing shelters, sterilization programs and educational outreach in Romania, Hungary, Egypt, Spain and Switzerland.

  • Fondation Brigitte Bardot (FBB) is another foundation based in France which also run regular sterilization campaigns as well as political lobbying. Their website also exists in English and Spanish.

And if you are still unsure to which organization to donate, I suggest that you have a look at the Smile voucher section on my website. More info about it will come soon - stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Please feel free to add a comment about how animals such as dogs & cats are managed in your country. It would be interesting to have various countries perspective!

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Jul 24, 2020

Hi Chelsea! Thanks for adding your perspective from the US. I think the source can be misleading because it counts both pet and stray dogs. So I assume a good portion of these 75M are pets who have an owner and hopefully a decent welfare, and not stray. Romania is particular in the sense that the total number of dogs is mainly stray. I was also surprised myself about France: I knew dogs are beloved in my home country, but I was unaware of the extent of abandoned animals which then become stray or live in shelters! As you mentioned, having a good animal control policy is key. This ensures that stray population is not exploding and lead to welfare…


Chelsea Aiudi
Jul 23, 2020

I was surprised to see your reference has the US at #1 with over 75 million stray dogs! This problem is larger in rural, southern states such as Texas where there are less stringent spay/neuter laws. Many states, including those in the Northeast have mandatory spay/neuter laws in order to adopt to combat overpopulation of homeless animals. Homeless animals tend to end up in a shelter. There is an 'Adopt, Don't Shop' campaign to encourage individuals wanting a new dog to look for one in a shelter rather than at a breeder. However, if capacity is reached, many cats & dogs in shelters are euthanized (~1-2 million/year). A great cause Fanny, excited to hear more about your efforts in Romani…

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