Considered one of the poorest countries in Europe, over a quarter of Moldova’s population are living below the national poverty line. With difficult politics and an elderly population, the country suffers from more problems than one.
The country has a huge issue with a large, unsterilised stray dog population and sadly the problem has spiralled out of control in recent years. This is especially true for the capital city of Chisinau, wherein its greater area alone, over 20,000 homeless dogs are fighting for survival on the streets and in overcrowded shelters. Living in groups in industrial areas, parks and rubbish dumps, these animals live a lifetime of misery. The dogs have to struggle daily to find food, water and a safe place to rest, they fight over these basic resources and are unprotected from car accidents and deliberate cruelty with dogs being shot, poisoned and even skinned just for fun. The consequences are devastating and thousands die slow, painful deaths without any veterinary help.
Lack of sustainable solutions
While many small, local and international animal welfare groups are trying to alleviate the worst suffering by rescuing dogs and cats and caring for them in shelters, housing dogs in a country where the adoption rate is close to zero is costly and not a sustainable solution. Especially dire is the situation at the public shelter Necropolis, which was originally set up as a sterilisation centre, never intended as a holding facility for dogs. While dogs are regularly collected off the streets, the regular care of these dogs is not a given and even their most basic needs like appropriate food, shelter and veterinary care, are not met, while the number of dogs in the streets keeps growing unabatedly.
2020: First emergency aid for Moldova’s strays
When FOUR PAWS became aware of the early in 2020, a first FOUR PAWS emergency relief action to the stray and shelter dogs in the greater Chisinau area was launched in the winter of 2020. We managed to deliver over six tons of food, fed thousands of dogs and made sure that they got through the harshest winter months. But sadly, with covid-19 restrictions complicating international travel, our team was prevented from further activities for almost a year.
2021: Specialist veterinary action in Chisinau
In November 2021, a team of FOUR PAWS veterinary specialists and other experts travelled to Chisinau to support the recently launched catch-neuter-vaccinate-return programme by the city administration as the main method of stray dog management. We also intended to alleviate the worst suffering in shelters. The conditions and vast numbers of stray dogs were even more than they anticipated.
In just under 10 days our team managed to sterilise 231 animals, thus preventing thousands of dogs (and some cats) from being born into this sad situation.
With so many dogs everywhere, there is only one way forward – a systematic, intensive sterilisation campaign to avoid further dogs being born onto the streets in the next years and to over time reduce the number of unwanted dogs. Thus, in hope that they can have a reasonable quality of life and some chance to find a home.
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