ABOUT US

WHO ARE WE?

ROLDA is a Romanian animal welfare charity. We operate in Romania to efficiently, humanely and responsibly control the homeless animal population, estimated to be 2.5 million. Our six keys focuses are: rescue, rehabilitation, sheltering, sterilisation, social programmes and education. We have a strict no-kill policy. ROLDA UK works to help ROLDA Romania to achieve these goals, by attracting donations and rehoming rescued stray dogs where possible. With an overwhelming number of stray dogs, we at ROLDA need as much help as possible to make sure these poor animals are given the home they deserve.

ROLDA has registered charities in – Romania | USA | Germany | Australia | Norway |Sweden | Switzerland

HISTORY OF ROLDA

It all began with Printz, the German Shepherd Dana Costin found abandoned in her local park. He had been in a dog fight and was terribly wounded. Dana carried him back to her parent’s apartment where, with love and rehabilitation, he made a full recovery. Due to aggressive behaviour from his many dog fights, Dana was unable to personally rescue another dog until he passed in 2002, but saving this soul sparked a desire to help more suffering strays and she worked tirelessly to persuade friends and family to lend her their homes and gardens to provide safe shelter for any stray that needed her.

Dana, only speaking Romanian and a stranger to the computer, began building the foundations of ROLDA, quickly identifying international countries as a life saving source of support. ROLDA started as a small group, with a very modest website but enough to start fundraising. In 2005 Dana attended a Dog’s Trust shelter management course in London and ROLDA build their first set of kennels while keeping the highly regarded UK model in mind. This model insulated dogs from the bitter Romania winter and gave them comfort where they previously had none.

With sheer determination to help the millions of stay dogs in her country and in collaboration with the largest steel producer in Europe, Dana organised the build of a large, modern shelter, capable of housing up to 700 dogs. ROLDA’s shelters have been an example to other Romanian animal rescue organisations and have attracted visitors from far and wide.

It started with Printz The rest, as they say, is history.

Major Milestones

1998

Dana rescued her first dog, Printz, from illegal dog fights. He was a mix-German Shepherd who opened Dana’s eyes to the cruelty facing millions of dogs in Romania.

1999

Dana established the first group of animal rescuers in Galati.
Galati had approximately 30,000 strays. The public pound was still active and dogs were routinely electrocuted and skinned alive. There was no sterilisation program in place but the first campaign was launched against illegal dog fights in Romania.

2001

ROLDA secured their first celebrity endorsement, Beatrice Welles, the daughter of the famous actor Orson Welles and she generously financially sustained our rescue actions.

2002

Printz died because of liver problems. A few months later, Dana adopted Boss, a mix Saint Bernard with major behavioural problems, due to the conditions he was living in. Had Dana not adopted him, he otherwise would have been euthanised.
ROLDA secured an agreement with a local vet to begin an intensive sterilisation campaign.

2003

ROLDA purchased land in the village of Smardan (near Galati) in order to build their first small shelter.

2004

Construction of the small shelter began: the first block of 10 kennels built using the British model (with insulated indoor areas, outdoor areas and running spaces) and a cottage for operational staff and volunteers.
Visit of Animal People Magazine from the USA which nominated ROLDA the best shelter amongst 17 others from all over Eastern Europe.
First invitation to attend and speak at CHAMP International conference held in Florida, USA.
Second block of 10 kennels built at the small shelter.

2005

The ROLDA team finished the shelter management training course organised by the Dogs Trust UK. The same year, a group of vets visiting from the USA assisted our ROLDA vet to sterilise street dogs in Galati. In summer, Dana was invited to talk at the CHAMP International conference for the second time. The conference was held in San Diego, CA. Next, Dana attended training with the Helen Woodward Animal Center, facilitated by Mike Arms, a pioneer in the animal welfare industry. Later the same year, ROLDA launches a campaign against the dog cull organised by a local steel plant.

2006

Dana visited the UK to seek help with her mission in Romania.
Mass sterilisation campaign held in Galati.
Loretta Switt (”Hot Lips” from M.A.S.H. series) American activist for animals visited ROLDA shelter.
ROLDA USA became an incorporated charity

2007

ROLDA began a partnership with a local giant steel producer to help humanely solve their stray dog population, estimated to 10000 dogs. Soon after, construction of the large paddocks began, which are able to house hundreds of dogs. We agreed to build and manage a sanctuary at such a large scale to save the dogs from being poisoned or killed in other brutal ways, as was happening in the steel plant. The ROLDA rescue van was purchased along with humane catching equipment and we were able to hire more staff to help in our efforts.

2008

Eight new paddocks were built, able to house many more dogs.

2009

Renovations completed at the small shelter

2010

4 more paddocks were finished at the large sanctuary, reaching a total of 12 paddocks (120 kennels). Dana was invited as a speaker to a public event organized in Switzerland for ROLDA, there she met Lolita Morena, a celebrity animal activist who had and continues to have a profound impact on ROLDA activity. In the same year, ROLDA started renovation work at the small sanctuary.

2012

The large sanctuary was registered in TRACES (a tracking system to responsibly transport dogs within the EU). The large sanctuary will be equipped to function as a veterinary clinic when finished. After registering as a official charity in Romania and the United States, we open a new branch in Norway, under the name ROLDA – Gatehunder fra Romania. A team from NRK TV (National TV from Norway) visits both of our ROLDA sanctuaries.

2013

Lolita Morena visits ROLDA sanctuaries for the first time. In the same year, Lolita organises a protest in Geneva against the new legislation that permits the killing of strays in Romania and the Swiss media is invited. Later this year, ROLDA purchases additional land in the vicinity of the large sanctuary.

2014

ROLDA starts new branches in Switzerland (Association ROLDA Suisse), Sweden (Association ROLDA Sverige) and Australia (ROLDA Inc). New milestones completed: 250 dogs rehomed in Norway and 700 dogs rehomed in the Netherlands.

2015

ROLDA starts new branches in UK (ROLDA UK) and Germany (ROLDA Deutschland – Save Romania Strays e.V.) ROLDA creates “real life rooms” where our team can evaluate the behaviour of our dogs, isolated from the noises and distractions created by the other dogs. Because of the generosity of Swiss supporters, hundreds of acacia trees were planted to form a natural wind barrier around the large sanctuary to protect it against the snow storms.

2016

ROLDA celebrates 10 years of existence. ROLDA initiated an education campaign in partnership with local schools.

A new milestone is reached: ROLDA sterilised 9000 dogs captured from the steel plant giant. In the same year, the partnership with the steel plant ends because the collaboration contract is illegally terminated. ROLDA starts two legal actions against the steel plant.

2017

ROLDA starts the renovation of the small house from the small sanctuary (which is used as administration office, recovery area for dogs, isolation for the rescued puppies, bathing and grooming area for the dogs etc)

2018

ROLDA won the first trial against the steel plant but the giant corporation’s army of lawyers appeals the court decision. ROLDA starts “Donate a Doghouse” campaign for the dogs living in poor, rural areas in Romania.

2019

The first trial against the steel plant is finally over. After over 3 years of battles in court, ROLDA defeats them. We start the 2nd trial (suspended until the 1st trial finished) which is about Mittal Lakshmi, one of the richest men in the world, and owner of the steel plant, who refuses to feed the dogs captured by ROLDA and housed in our sanctuary, as agreed in the signed contract. ROLDA created a petition where animal lovers from all over the globe can remind the very rich man to feed the poor dogs.

2020

New milestone reached: 20000 animals helped since ROLDA came into existence.