SOS Dogs Bihor
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    Sos Dogs started in 2003 , when Oradea`s Noah`s Ark Association contacted Robert Smith of the Foundation for the Protection of Community Dogs, in the hope of finding a humane solution to Oradea`s street dog problem. In January 2008 Animal Protection Law No. 205 made the killing of healthy dogs illegal. Oradea therefore provides an example for the whole of Romania as to how dog problems can and should be solved efficiently, cost – effectively and humanely.

    The municipality of Oradea agreed to cede 15.000 square meters of land to the west of the city to FPCC for 25 years, on which to build a neutering and adoption centre. SOS Dogs Oradea was born as a partnership between FPCC, the Municipality of Oradea and Noah`s Ark. Initially SOS Dogs Oradea was sponsored by Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs Home and North Shore Animal League. It is now financed and managed by FPCC and cost approx. Euros 500.000,- per year because the project has been expanded to cover the whole of Bihor County.
    Donations and sponsorship are desperately needed so that this succesful project can continue.

    In 2003 the Municipality of Oradea gave exclusive dog management rights to FPCC and today we still enjoy excellent cooperation with the local authorities, who refer all complaints about unsupervised dogs to us.
    Our policy is to return neutered and vaccinated dogs to their owners or to their community or territory, unless those dogs show unprovoked aggression to people or other animals or unless they are unable to lead acceptable lives in their original environment.
    We do not put dogs to sleep unless they are incurably ill, in severe pain or aggressive. We follow the policy of the World Health Organization’s “Guidelines for Dog Population Management” (Geneva 1990) and various other academic studies which show that killing dogs is ineffective; in truth academic studies are not necessary since the evidence is before the eyes of any visitor to Romania. Despite mass extermination campaigns by misguided municipalities the street dog as a species is thriving.

    In 2003 the roads in and around Oradea were littered with live and dead dogs. It was impossible to drive from the Hungarian border in Bors to Oradea city centre without seeing scores of stray dogs foraging for food and without seeing several dead bodies on the road. Today we are unlikely to see either a single dead dog or more than a couple of live dogs on the road from Hungary to the city centre. Often not a single unsupervised dog is visible.


    This is because since 2003 FPCC has neutered and vaccinated about 12.000 dogs in Oradea alone. If those dogs had been allowed to breed they would have given birth to tens of thousands of puppies, most of which would have died or been killed, but the strongest of which would have continued to forage and breed in Oradea`s streets.

    This humane and effective policy is in the medium and long term cheaper and more efficient than the indiscriminate “catch and kill” policy of many municipalities in Romania.In Bucharest for example the city hall wasted more than 5 million Euros between 2002 and 2005 killing approximately 100.000 dogs and still the streets of Bucharest are full of dogs, especially peripheral areas. You will see far fewer unsupervised , hungry dogs in Oradea. We can therefore proudly claim that FPCC`s project in Oradea is probably the most successful Neuter & Return project in Eastern Europe.
    This was confirmed by Oradea`s Community Police in June 2011, who surveyed the street of the cuty and estimated the unsupervised dog population as 350 (about 8% of the starting level in 2003).


    Our success in Oradea is however threatened by one unhappy phenomenon : dog dumping from surrounding areas. The success of SOS Dogs Oradea has been a two- edged sword. It is not surprising that when municipalities ignorantly pursue cruel dog extermination policies that animal lovers rescue dogs by abandoning them in safe areas.

    Since Oradea is not an island it is therefore clear that in order to solve the unwanted dog problem for ever we have to extend our neutering program to the whole county of Bihor and even further afield. In 2007 FPCC therefore launched \"SOS Dogs Bihor\".



    Dog situation in Bihor September 2013

    FPCC is continuing to manage Neuter & Return programmes in and around Beius, Salonta, Marghita and Cetariu and to operate its successful open shelter for surplus dogs in Bihor, where the dogs have a healthy life free in the forest and fields.

    poza site

    We transferred management of our shelter in Oradea to the municipality in September 2012. Since then ADP, the municipal company, has operated the shelter and continued neutering all loose dogs collected from the city. ADP have refurbished the shelter, more for the sake of human visitors than with the welfare of the dogs in mind, but the 300 dogs there are generally well-fed and cared for. The Oradea shelter is probably the best municipal shelter in Romania. ADP’s vet, after some initial problems, has improved, but mistakes are still being made - this is inevitable with public sector organisations which lack the dedication, expertise and motivation of NGOs.

    Public visiting hours are all day Saturday and one evening per week. Despite these limited hours for adoptions ADP rehomed 52 dogs in August 2012, an excellent result. We have asked ADP to extend visiting hours. Unfortunately, as fast as dogs can be rehomed from the shelter, new fertile dogs are being dumped in Oradea both by irresponsible municipal contractors (from outside Bihor) and by private citizens,

    Oradea municipality has launched a microchipping scheme for all dogs in the city and offers all dog keepers a voucher worth RON 100,- redeemable at two commercial vet clinics to have their dogs neutered for a total price of RON 200,- per dog. This is a welcome initiative but RON 200,- is in our opinion far too expensive – FPCC would be delighted to neuter dogs for RON 100,- per dog or even less. This scheme shows that Oradea Municipality is on the right track, with 360 dog owners using the scheme until now, but we believe neutering should be free of charge for all dog keepers.

    Unfortunately we have been unable to persuade the mayor to return community dogs after neutering to their territories, so the removed dogs will soon be replaced by new fertile dogs, thereby making ADP’s task of controlling the dog population much more difficult. Although the loose dog population has increased from the 350 dogs on the streets in 2011, the increase is not as bad as we expected – for the time being.

    The only complete and satisfactory solution to Romania’s and Bihor’s surplus dog problem is a national Neuter & Return programme. We, and many other animal welfare organisations, have explained this to previous governments and to the current USL government, but still they do nothing. They produce short-term knee-jerk reactions to occasional media hysteria, then revert to the ineffective and irresponsible default position of expecting local municipalities to solve the dog problem without the finance, the expertise or even the motivation to do this.

    Make no mistake. Romania does not so much have a problem with its dogs as with its short-termist, ignorant and irresponsible politicians in Bucharest.

    For the time being Oradea is still an example of how Romania’s dog problem can and should be solved. Oradea has proved that Neuter & Return succeeds whereas Catch & Kill will always remain an expensive and barbaric failure.


    News about SOS Dogs activity in 2013

    In September 2012 FPCC transferred control of the Oradea city shelter to municipal company ADP because the municipality of Oradea refused to contribute realistically to our costs. Since then we have concentrated our efforts on Neuter & Return in the rest of Bihor County with shelters and neutering clinics in Beius, Salonta and Marghita and in our open shelter where approx. 400 dogs lead happy lives in the open countryside.
    In Beius we have built a shelter just outside the town in the forest, on what was previously the Romanian army`s property. Beius City Hall made this land available to us for 20 years.
    The shelter built was finished in the autumn of 2012 and was paid for by the City Hall and local sponsors.
    We have now built a veterinary clinic in the shelter with modern equipment. Here, our vet Dr Razvan Suteu, neuters and treats ownerless dogs and cats free of charge, and offers treatment and neutering to all dog and cat owners at discounted rates.
    All income from commercial activities is used for the benefit of the 70 dogs which are living in the shelter.
    We have reduced the number of dogs in our Beius shelter by rehoming them both in the Beius area and abroad, where our dogs are appreciated, liked and are welcomed. In 2013 our Beius clinic neutered free of charge 303 dogs and rehomed 36 dogs in Romania and 73 dogs in Holland and Germany.








    We are also very proud of our new shelter and veterinary clinic in Salonta, which were finished in November 2013 thanks to the support of Internationaler Tierschutzverein Grenzenlos e.v. from Germany, whose President Dr. Helga Kornig, visited us together with her husband Eckhard in summer 2013. Helga and Eckhard sponsored most of the medical equipment in our clinic.



    ITV Grenzenlos also donated Euro 3.000 towards the construction cost. The rest of the cost of approx. Euros 10.000,- was raised locally from donations and from our own funds.
    The shelter is situated at the edge of the town and the land was made available by the City Hall of Salonta, which contributes Euro 5.000 /year to our costs in addition to paying all utilities.
    At present surgery there is carried out by our vet, Razvan Suteu, from Beius, pending the appointment of a permanent vet for Salonta. Dr. Suteu neuters dogs and cats free of charge, usually one day per week. The clinic is properly equipped for a wide range of veterinary treatments.






    We neutered 356 dogs free of charge in Salonta in 2013.
    We also rehomed 181 dogs from Salonta in 2013, 41 dogs in Romania and 140 dogs abroad.






    Local animal lovers have shown a lot of interest in our shelter activity, and a lot of volunteers and school children are coming to help in the shelter. At the moment we are taking care about 50 dogs, which are happy to live in clean and healthy conditions.

    For shy, difficult to rehome dogs, we are have pioneered an open shelter, with open fields, forest areas and swimming ponds, so that these dogs can enjoy stimulation, freedom and a good quality of life, rather than being imprisoned in a traditional closed shelter month after month, year after year. Our open shelter is an affordable and humane alternative to euthanasia for dogs which cannot be rehomed. An unexpected benefit is that many shy dogs become approachable and therefore rehomable once they have settled into our open shelter.







    At present we have about 500 dogs in our open shelter, some of which have been rescued from death camps in other parts of Romania. In 2013 we rehomed 317 dogs from our open shelter, mainly in Germany and Holland.
    Our vet Dr Rita Mag runs a small veterinary clinic in our open shelter, where we neutered 204 dogs in 2013. Rita regularly checks, vaccinates, deworms and treats the old and non-rehomable dogs in our open shelter. Unlike in a traditional shelter there is little danger of viruses such as kennel cough, distempter and parvo. The main problem for our dogs is ticks in the warm summer months.
    Our dogs are enjoying a good life, thanks to foreign sponsors and the dedication of our staff. We are grateful to the Mayhew Animal Home in London and all the other foreign sponsors for all their donations of dogfood.









    In the spring time of 2013, Mrs. Maria Polman from Holland, visited us and kindly agreed to sponsor the neutering of stray cats in and around Oradea. With her generous donation of Euro 6.000 we have so far been able to neuter, vaccinate and release over 600 cats.

    In Marghita our small shelter with about 80 dogs and neutering clinic is sponsored by the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust. Our shelter in Marghita covers the villages and towns in northern Bihor. Here we neutered 452 dogs, mainly with owners, in 2013 and rehomed 92 dogs. Of these 38 dogs found new homes in Romania and 54 dogs went to Germany, Austria and Holland.


    Here is one of our beloved dogs, Vanilla, enjoying the free life in the open shelter :






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