A charity that cares for abandoned dogs has pleaded for help to stop 800 from becoming homeless.
Romanian Rescue Appeal saves stray dogs and finds them families in the UK.
There are more than 100,000 stray dogs in Bucharest alone.
A lack of food means many of the dogs are weak or die prematurely, while others are snatched by dog-catchers and thrown into overcrowded public shelters.
Romanian Rescue Appeal has rescued thousands of dogs and encourages the country’s authorities to implement neutering programmes.
But it has now reached ‘the end of the road.’
Rising costs have meant the charity is desperately appealing for donations to keep operational.
Inflation rates have climbed to 8.5% in Romania – leading to a rise in cost of dog food, building materials for the shelter and medicine.
The staggering cost of fuel means it is a struggle ‘keeping the lights on’ for the dogs.
Mauro Orru, chief executive of the Romanian Rescue Appeal, told Metro.co.uk: ‘We are doing everything in our power to keep the charity afloat.
‘We are spending double what we spent before on maintenance, and the energy crisis was also a massive hit for us. The energy costs have been an absolute hike.
‘We can’t let it [closure] happen. I’ll sell my house before it does. I’ll live on the streets and stand and beg for these dogs.
‘It would be a betrayal to them not to. They deserve hope.’
Throughout the early days of the pandemic, there was an upsurge in families looking to adopt dogs.
But as lockdown eased, so did the charity’s number of inquiries.
This has meant the charity is caring for more dogs than ever before.
Mauro explained: ‘The number of stray dogs keeps rising in Romania as it is such a huge problem, so we will always have more dogs to care for.
‘Dog catchers treat the dogs like vermin, like rats. They caught them in a really aggressive way. It’s heartbreaking to see, just vile.
‘These dogs need safe homes, every dog does.’
If the charity is able to avoid debt collectors, it hopes to use any remaining money to bolster its shelters in Romania.
Creating a ‘flagship’ center is also a goal for Mauro and the charity’s staff and volunteers.
Romanian Rescue Appeal also works to improve education in the country and encourage authorities to treat dogs differently.
Mauro explained: ‘There was a massive geopolitical push in the seventies and eighties, when people moved from houses in villages to flats in cities. They couldn’t care for their dogs anymore, and they became strays.
‘Because of the economic situation it was hard to find kennels or neuter animals, so the number of strays exponentially grows.
‘We have worked so hard so far for these dogs and we want to keep doing that, we need to.’
To donate to the Romanian Rescue Appeal fundraiser, click here.
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