The stray puppy mills

Female dogs are most likely to be abandoned in Romania. People have always looked at them as puppy mills, good for nothing other than making trouble for the owner. Female dogs are the one responsible for getting in heat, making males crazy, getting their fence broken, then finally, giving birth to  puppies nobody wants; and all this madness twice a year, no less. They are “damaged goods” for people who wouldn’t bother to spay their female dogs, not even for free. They consider the procedure as “a sin” but killing the puppies or abandoning them in the next town, is acceptable in their Bible.
Ever since she reaches nine months of age, a female dog becomes one of the most tormented animals in Romania. Twice a year, she gets into heat and for two weeks she can’t eat, drink or sleep because of the horny males around her. She is constantly hunted by males who want to breed, sometimes three times their size. The stronger males get to mate, while the weaker ones get beaten a lot, but still, they don’t give up trying. The sight is a terrible one, dogs driven to madness because of their uncontrollable instincts; from my personal experience, one can’t trust to touch a dog in heat even if he was known to be the friendliest dog in the world. We call the breeding process “canine weddings”. We use to see a lot more of those in Moreni, because a few years ago, there were a lot of fertile females on the streets. The females can’t defend themselves and for two weeks, they get little or no food at all, as they prefer to hide in 
 narrow places to get away from the insane pack of males. 

Two neighborhood gangs fighting for the same female (the black one surrounded by brown dogs)

After 9 weeks, another unwanted litter of puppies is born into the world. Nobody asked for them, nobody cares that they are here; nobody will mourn their tragic deaths (which for most of them is a given). Sometimes nature seems determined to work against them, so the poor canine family (mother and puppies) have to survive the most terrible winters or the driest summers in a desert field. Female dogs don’t get to pick if or when to give birth, they just carry out their burden all their lives, twice a year, like clockwork.  They never complain, they can’t get breaks or say “stop”, because they were born females, were abandoned or born on the street and nobody bothered to do the ultimate favor to them, get them spayed.

Taking care of 4, 8, 10 or even 14 puppies at once may seem impossible to most of us, but they do it. Very few mother dogs abandon their puppies, no matter how hard it is to find enough food to keep all of them alive. They travel day and night looking for food, just so they can have enough milk for their screaming litters. When they are old enough to eat solid food, mother dogs protect the puppies while eating, denying food for themselves, although they are physically exhausted and drained after such a huge effort. Some of them have such big maternal instinct, they raise orphan puppies even long after their mammals have no milk left. 

 People told me she had 10 puppies; some were adopted, some died…

                           …I could only find one left

Seven years ago, before I discovered the miracle of spay/ neuter campaigns, I had three female dogs in front of my building who, at one point, all gave birth in the same time. Two of them had two puppies each and the other one had 12 (she always gave birth to 10-12 puppies at once). One of the females who had only two puppies and who was also the alpha girl in the neighborhood, killed all 12 puppies, because the one who made them was the weakest, so she had no right to overpopulate the area, making it impossible for her own puppies to survive. It was a terrible scene and we couldn’t help them, due to the fact they were in a very narrow place; the alpha girl didn’t give up until her mission was fulfilled, although a lot of people were screaming and one man even broke a pool stick on her back; it was nature’s way of telling everyone it was too many mouths to feed in one place.

Back then, I remember how bad it was for the animals and for the people who loved them. The dogs were very agitated all the time, being in heat or protecting their litters. Also, I had to feed and keep an eye on the puppies, struggling to save them, get them adopted and seeing lots of them die because of terrible diseases (Parvovirus, Distemper, mange) or run over by cars. 

The only thing worse than being a stray dog is being a female stray dog. People call them “whores” and blame them for the stray canine over population. They are in the worst possible position, suffering tremendously because of their condition and being blamed because they can’t help it. Their lives means never ending suffering, pain, starvation (most of them are walking skeletons); they are slaves to their instincts, because they are animals. It seems to me people forget this essential difference between the two of us: animals can’t control what they do, but people can, they just refuse to do it. Being an animal and acting like an animal are two different things and it is high time people stop getting away with it.

The supreme act of kindness one could do for a dog is to spay or neuter them. Saving them from a life based on instinct means saving them from a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering, not to mention saving countless others from being born into the same tragic fate. As a Romanian, to spay or neuter your animal is not sinful, unnatural, futile, painful, not even expensive. It’s MANDATORY. 

Two horny males and a female in heat who is having lunch: a plastic bag (probably smells of food)

1 comment:

  1. Anda, thank you for another intelligently written and thought provoking article. You know, many people could learn from these selfless mothers on how to care for their young. It's not difficult to make the connection between spay/neuter and improved lives for the animals and the communities they live in.