In Bucharest, the capital of Romania, an estimated 60,000 stray dogs roam the city. Last year, a four-year-old boy died after being mauled by a stray dog near a park. Following this tragedy, citizens organized protests demanding action. In response, authorities enacted euthanasia rules. The new rules state that stray dogs caught in public places are to be euthanized if they are not rescued from a state-funded shelter within just two weeks.
When thirteen-year-old Ana-Maria Ciulca learned about the new rule, she began saving the stray dogs, having them vaccinated and mircochipped.
Then, she takes to Facebook. Harnessing the power of social media, Ana-Maria uploads pictures of the rescued dogs with the goal of finding them a forever home with dog-lovers all over Europe – including Germany, Austria and Belgium. When necessary, Ana-Maria obtains international pet passports for the dogs.
Ana-Maria’s family generously covers all of the veterinary bills and care costs which averages 150 euros ($210) per dog. The adopters are responsible for any transportation fees.
For about two hours a day, Ana-Maria screens potential new adopters who interact with her on Facebook. She does not take the task lightly. Ana-Maria explained, “I like to know that my dogs will be spoiled and will be allowed to sit on the sofa…so one of my first questions would be: ‘Are you going to chain him?'”
Since September, Ana-Maria has rescued 150 strays and placed them in their forever home. “Dogs can’t live packed together,” she explained. “They need affection.”
Ana-Maria has no plans of slowing down. She believes the current euthanasia rule is not a solution, rather, it is simply an extermination plan. Ana-Maria has ambitions to become a doctor, but, until her studies begin, she is dedicated to saving the dogs of Bucharest.
Be sure to check out Ana-Maria’s S.O.S. Dogs Romania Facebook page to witness her inspiring actions firsthand.