from California successfully traveled to Galati, Romania to assist local organizations with spaying and neutering
stray dogs in an effort to reduce the out of control street dog
population. They experienced first hand the living and working conditions
along with corruption and abject poverty. They bring home with them
a new outlook on the situation, as well as 13 puppies who find loving
homes in California.
A film crew follows their efforts and captures
the volunteers as they discover the truth about the street dogs
and the people who are helping them. Volunteers get involved with
assisting surgeries, catching stray dogs and getting to know the
local residents and how they feel about their country and the issues
that concern them most.
Ideas and preconceptions are challenged when
the volunteers discover that life for the stray dogs, while short
lived and often miserable, may present a better alternative than
simply housing them at the city shelters. Brave volunteers take
hidden cameras to expose overcrowding and cannibalistic living conditions
at the city shelters.
They also discover that the Romanians care
very much for the street dogs, known euphemistically as câini comunitari
(community dogs). They just don’t have the infrastructure and resources
to handle the overwhelming dog population.
Shot in High Definition 1080 25p, this film
documents the story of ten determined volunteers. Armed only with
a strong will to make a difference in the world, they discover the
hidden truth about the stray dogs in Romania. But most importantly,
they discover the truth about themselves. For a journal of our adventure
and the latest up-to-date information, please read
The current estimate of stray dogs in Romania
is over two million. Approximately 300,000 stray dogs roam the streets
of the capital city, Bucharest. They became homeless when former
Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu tore down the equivalent of
three Parisian districts in Bucharest to erect his homage to himself,
The People’s Palace, the second largest building in the world. The
displaced Romanians were not able to bring their pets with them
and had no choice but to abandon them on the streets. The animals
proliferated and gradually swamped the capital city.
After Romania's oppressive Communist regime
was overthrown in late 1989, the country experienced a decade of
economic instability and decline, led in part by an obsolete industrial
base as well as a lack of structural reform. For example, the average
monthly salary in 1996 was only $110 USD. Shelters and animal care
in general do not register as a priority, and this attitude persists
to this day. City shelters are poorly run, under funded and neglected
in a society that deals with greater concerns such as inflation,
unemployment and rampant corruption.
Traian Basescu, Mayor of Bucharest at the
time, initiated a large scale euthanasia program to reduce the population
of stray dogs. According to his Administration for Animal Control
(ASA) he reduced the population from approximately 250,000 in 2000
to 25,000 in 2004. The workers responsible for collecting the animals
had a financial incentive to kill the dogs inhumanely. Reports of
dogs being strangled, beaten to death, or poisoned with strychnine
were commonplace. But the killings never succeeded in stopping the
swelling dog population or any of the related issues associated
with this impasse. “I am elected by the people of Bucharest, not
the dogs," Basescu said, scornfully dismissing the complaints of
Western animal rights activists who were appalled by the mass killings.
Mr. Basescu is now the President of Romania.
More than 20,000 people in Romania were bitten
by stray dogs in 2000, placing a burden on the already weak Romanian
health care system. In February of 2006, a Japanese man died after
being attacked by stray dogs only two steps from the Government
headquarters in Bucharest. This event, a year from Romania's possible
ascension into the European Union, raises questions as to whether
Romania is ready for political acceptance. The international image
of Romania as a country incapable of finding a humane solution to
the stray dog problem is evolving into an insurmountable issue for
the Romanians and their future.
Schnuffie Productions sees our documentary
as an inspiring story that instigates change. While our efforts
will initially help only a few puppies, we hope to increase global
interest and aspire to alter the bleak future of the stray dogs
in Romania. We hope to inspire others to get involved in helping
with the challenges the Romanians face in dealing with the problem.
Now is a great time to begin a cultural change and to introduce
Trap Neuter and Release (TNR) programs to reduce the number of dogs
humanely. Our documentary will discuss TNR and demonstrate its advantages
as well as show the difficulties in introducing this practice in
a country incapable of equipping a vet clinic with what we may consider
to be basic necessities.
If you have any questions or would like to
donate, please contact Eva at +1 818-720-0725 or send an email to
eva@schnuffie dot com
All of us on the Schnuffie Team thank you
for your interest and support.