My first experience with violence against stray animals happened almost 20 years ago, when my family and I first moved to Moreni. I woke up one early morning hearing gun shots and I was terrified that another revolution has started (we were in Bucharest when the 1989 revolution which ended the Communist Era took place); I got up from bed and look through the window only to see a big tractor trailer full of dead dogs. This was and still is the Romanian policy of resolving the stray canine population’s issue, extermination through all methods.
There is nothing human in the Romanian version of "euthanasia". Dogs are being murdered every day, all over Romania, in most horrific ways: they are poisoned, shot, beaten to death, injected with gasoline into their hearts and lungs, cast-off from buildings, run down on highways, hanged, electrocuted, throne in hot pitch, crippled, left in woods to die of hunger. Romanian authorities know about all these actions, but they ignore it. There is no justice for the unwanted. And even if a stray dog is “lucky” enough to be ignored and left to live its life on the street, he is the victim of the silent death and misery. People’s indifference is as bad as their violence, because it prolongs and perpetuates their suffering endlessly. From the instant that they are born unwanted, their lives take the wrong turn and they find themselves, innocent, in a life sentence.
I could never get past the heartbreak of seeing puppies die horrible, painful deaths without any fault. They come into this world so innocent, full of love and for the only purpose of making us, their best friends, happy; yet, from their very first day on earth, we betray them by allowing them to be born unwanted and then suffer tremendously for it. I have heard a puppy’s death cry a few times in my life and I can’t think of anything worse: it is the cry of the most selfless animal killed by our indifference and selfish nature. A stray’s life in Romania is never easy, but they never complain about it until it is too late. Even when close to their end, their tails are always wagging, a sign that they are still our best friends, even if unrecognizable by a life of suffering. Sometimes, through their miserable life, all they ask for is a kind word, a gentle touch on their head, the feeling that they are not worthless. Don’t deny them as much, they may go on for days without food, but they can’t live without our love!
There is a simple moral to this first story: spay or neuter your dog and spare countless others from this undeserved life of torture! As simple as that!
|Photo taken by Elin Lonberg in Moreni, Romania|