Despite the general belief that stray dogs are men eating monsters, they are made of flesh and bones. Their bones weren’t designed to resist against cars or big rocks thrown at them with the specific purpose of breaking something. Their very condition of stray dogs makes them a target for cars and, most of all, for dedicated drivers who take it upon themselves to clean the streets; in their desperate search for food, they are clueless against the metal monster which makes thousands of victims every year.
Recently I heard on the news that in Braila (a town in South-Eastern Romania) young men run over dogs in the middle of the night, for fun. They seem to be very pleased with themselves, because they are making videos while doing it. This is Romania’s youth, we must be very proud! Education is one of our most urgent needs, because most children grow up hating and abusing stray animals, encouraged by their parents own fears and lack of understanding.
A very popular method of extermination is abandoning dogs on the side of busy national roads. For someone who doesn’t know their way around Romania, seeing so many dogs run over by cars is shocking. Their chance of crossing such a road is null and their death is certain. We call them “carne de mici” (traditional Romanian food made from chopped pork and beef) which can be translated using a “Grey’s Anatomy” joke: “ceviche” (a South American dish used to describe a very injured patient). We hate seeing them all over our national roads, but they are there wishing us to “enjoy your travel!” whether we like it or not; it’s part of the scenery.
But some dogs have it in for these merciless creatures and spend their lives chasing them and trying to make them pay for their brother’s deaths. It seems their favorite activity is to run and bark at the moving wheels, sometimes dangerously close to their own end. Some more determined than others, can’t stop this noble fight even when the car is parked.
I am one of the lucky people who never witnessed a dog being run over on the road. But many of my friends have and the feeling must be awful. Newly abandoned dogs are so confused, scared and disoriented, they make great accident victims. I remember one dog that used to walk right through the middle of the street, following the white line that separates the two traffic lanes, because she was so scared of what was going on the side walk: people kicking her, dogs attacking her. I tried to catch her, but I was afraid I would push her in front of the cars, so I gave up. I woke up one day to find her sitting patiently outside my building, as if she was finally ready to be rescued. She had one hind leg injured, probably hit by a car. Jada is now adopted and safe.
The only reason there aren’t more car accidents victims among stray dogs is that Romanians are a poor people who can’t afford to fix their cars if damaged by a bigger dog. Many poor drivers spend their lives inconsolable, wishing they use their cars for a bigger purpose, a noble one in their sick minds: cleaning the streets, just so irresponsible owners who don’t spay or neuter their own dogs can fill them right back. Of course, there are always so many other cruel methods that can satisfy their need of blood; understanding the real cause of this problem is not on their list for this lifetime…maybe the next one.
These are some of the car accident victims we’ve helped lately: