ABOUT US

ABOUT US

ROLDA is a Romania 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 estimated 2.5 million stray dogs, we at ROLDA need as much help as we can get to make sure these poor animals are given the home they deserve.

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

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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.

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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.
  • 1999 – 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.
  • 2002 – 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.2004 – Visit of Animal People Magazine from the USA which nominated ROLDA the best shelter amongst 17 others from all over Eastern Europe.2004 – First invitation to attend and speak at CHAMP International conference held in Florida, USA.2004 – Second block of 10 kennels built at the small shelter.
  • 2005 – A group of vets visiting from the USA assisted our ROLDA vet to sterilise street dogs in Galati.2005 – Dana was invited to  talk at the CHAMP International conference for the second time. It was held in San Diego, CA, USA2005 – Dana attended training with the Helen Woodward Animal Center, facilitated by Mike Arms, a pioneer in the animal welfare industry.2005 – A campaign launched against the dog cull organised by a local steel plant.
  • 2006 – Dana visited the UK to seek help with her mission in Romania.2006 – Mass sterilisation campaign held in Galati.2006 – Loretta Switt (”Hot Lips” from M.A.S.H. series) American activist for animals visited ROLDA shelter.2006 – ROLDA USA became an incorporated charity
  • 2007 – ROLDA began a partnership with a large steel producer to help humanely solve the stray dog population. Soon after, construction of the large paddocks began, which are able to house hundreds of dogs. A 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 renovations at the small shelter
  • 2010 – The last two were paddocks completed (total now 12 paddocks, capacity 600 dogs)2010 – First conference organised in Switzerland for the ROLDA dogs and celebrity Lolita Morena, a dedicated long term ROLDA supporter, was invited as their special guest.
  • 2011 – Building work on the REX charitable clinic was completed. Once fully completed and donations raised for equipment, it will be the first free veterinary clinic ever built in the south-east of Romania. The REX clinic will provide free veterinary care to the sick and injured pets of local people in need which is part of our mission to promote responsible pet ownership.
  • 2012 – The Norwegian branch of ROLDA was officially opened.
  • 2013 – With donations from our Norwegian and US supporters, ROLDA purchased a plot of land to expand the capacity of the large shelter.
  • 2015 – The Real Life Room was created to give potential adopters an idea of how any individual dog will act in a real home life environment SEE HERE >>2015 – Due to the generosity of Swiss supporters, hundreds of acacia trees were planted near the large shelter to form a natural wind barrier. This will help protect the sanctuary against the frequent winter snow storms.
  • 2016 –  Educational campaigns have commenced in schools, helping children to understand their impact on the stray dog population.2016 –  We begin the creation of our organic garden.

WHAT ROLDA DOES

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ROLDA is a charity with a mission: to humanely and responsibly reduce the number of stray dogs in Romanian. We are realistic, the numbers are large, but we know that every single dog we help makes a difference. We never leave a dog to suffer. We have six key focuses: rescue, rehabilitation, shelter, sterilisation, social programmes and education. We take a holistic approach to the vast problem we face, every day. We help as many individual dogs as we can, everyday. We take preventative measures by running sterilisation campaigns a few times a year. We help the locals to tackle the problem by providing the information they need to care for their pets rather than abandon them, a common but heartbreaking ‘solution’ for many in the poorer communities. We are single-mindedly focused on reducing the number of homeless animals and we will not stop until all Romania dogs have a home to call their own.

 

We run 2-3 sterilisation campaigns each year. This is something very important to ROLDA and Romania as a whole, because it is a long term preventative to the huge problem we have today.

To put this into context, this is the impact of leaving one single dog unsterilised over a 5 year period:

1 st YEAR          2 nd  YEAR          3 rd  YEAR          4 th  YEAR          5 th  YEAR

   16 strays            128 strays            512 strays             5 048 strays         12 228 strays

SHELTER 1

Located in one of the poorest regions of Romania, shelter 1 opened its doors for severely abused and senior dogs in 2003. Since then, it has been nominated the Best Dog Shelter in Romania three times. In 2003, ROLDA purchased a plot of land where we put the basis of the first modern sanctuary (insulated, heated) from Romania. Initially built on wood following the British shelter model, the sanctuary was renovated in 2010 and now provides a spacious, indoor accommodation for 70 dogs, as well as three large playing grounds where dogs can roam free and socialise. This small sanctuary, operating with minimal budget but maximum efficiency, was top rated and awarded Best Dog Shelter by Animal People Newspaper journalists in 2004, after they visited 17 other shelters from the entire of Eastern Europe. This shelter was also nominated as one of the best dogs places in Romania by the US journalist Merritt Clifton during his visits in 2010 and 2013.

 

Besides the commitment, dedication, and perseverance of our well trained, professional staff (the caretakers and the medical personnel), ROLDA heavily relies on the generosity and kindness of ROLDA supporters from all over the world. ROLDA supporters make the following possible:
LIVING SPACES
We can build modern living spaces for the dogs, designed to improve their comfort and reduce stress. We also work hard to improve their outdoor spaces so they have the best chance to run free and enjoy being dogs.

EMERGENCY MEDICAL COSTS
To save injured and disabled dogs, senior dogs, pregnant females, or abandoned puppies.

LIVING COSTS
Dog food (regular or special diet), monthly water and electricity bills, caretaker salary and periodic veterinary care (vaccines, de-worming, etc.).

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The small sanctuary was designed and built with our dogs’ welfare as top priority and that is why we must ensure that it remains a clean, safe, comfortable place. Day after day it is a home for countless rescued dogs. Many have suffered beyond our ability to articulate. For many, the shelter is the only home they ever had. Once they enter inside our small sanctuary, they will never end up back on the streets. It is ROLDA policy never to euthanise healthy dogs or dogs that still have a chance to recover. We promise to always do our very best.

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SHELTER 2

Shelter 2 is our largest shelter and currently houses over 650 dogs.

In 2004, ROLDA was alerted that hundreds of strays, who belonged to a local steel company, had been poisoned and disposed of across the Danube river. We instantly protested and created a petition addressed to the owner of this company, an Indian-British billionaire.
In spring 2007 ROLDA’s President, Dana Costin, was contacted by the representatives of the steel company to discuss about the massive stray dog population, migrating from the town of Galati to the industrial zone and affecting the production and storage of the steel material. After several months of intensive negotiations, ROLDA succeeded to convince the steel plant to abandon the barbarian methods of killing strays and invest in humane solutions to decrease the stray numbers.

It estimated by local authorities that 18000 strays roam Galati town. Between November 2007 and January 2016, ROLDA successfully decreased the stray population within the steel plant premises by 70%. It was a big challenge for our team considering the size of the steel plant: 1600 hectares, approx. 30x times larger than Vatican state (the smallest independent country in the World).
This is how the story of the sanctuary 2, housing 650 dogs, started. An empty strip of land located just outside Galati, 15,000 square metres big, was donated to ROLDA by an anonymous British donor in 2006. The first steps of shelter construction were completed in the summer of 2007, when the fencing was created. This was followed by two paddock buildings where a minimum of 100 dogs could be housed securely.

 

The initial agreement between ROLDA and the steel plant included basic investments like connection to water and electricity but the years were passing and delivery of promises were delayed. The much-needed construction of outdoor spaces for dogs’ exercises was also postponed. In 2014, after numerous alerts sent by the ROLDA President to the local steel plant, all unaddressed, we contacted the steel headquarters in London, describing the situation and asking for their help.
Soon after, a new contract was agreed with a plan of investments which included connection to an electricity network. Between 2008-2015, ROLDA saved 6000 dogs from the steelworks, providing
lifesaving food, medical assistance and rehabilitation. Many of these dogs were adopted internationally.
Unfortunately, new management at the steel plant failed to deliver on the promises outlined in the new contract. They even went as far as to use illegal and unethical methods to prevent ROLDA
from calling them to account. In February 2016, they aggressively terminated the written agreement, leaving the promised investments unfulfilled, the large sanctuary with no sewage system to collect the dirty water from septic tanks, and worse: refusing to pay for 200 dogs (from a total of 644) collected by ROLDA from the steel plant.

 

Since February 2016, thanks to private donations and ROLDA’s international branches, we managed to pay for vaccines, medical care and food for the dogs abandoned by the steel company which is owned by one of richest men in the world. The same company did not hesitate to poison dogs in 2004 and who will probably attempt to reduce the population with violent methods once
again. This company preferred to halt ROLDA’s great results (70% of dogs population was decreased humanely during our collaboration) while they still have 1000 dogs on their premises.

 

These 1000 dogs are left to starve because even the steel plant employees are forbidden to feed the dogs. They are left to suffer because there is no medical assistance provided. They are starving, full of ticks and unvaccinated, a source of disease for other dogs as well as for the employees and clients of the company.

 

ROLDA decided to take the steel plant to court, despite the company being a very influential international corporation, with a lot of economic power. We started two legal trials: one against the termination of the contract. The second because the steel plant refused to take responsibility for the 200 dogs left in our care. The trial is currently underway.

FUTURE PLANS

The large sanctuary will be renovated and improved, little by little. We started this process in 2016 when first running spaces for exercise and socialisation were created.

 

We plan to:
• build the remaining running spaces
• repair the roof of the paddocks
• repair the roof of the veterinary clinic
• repair the ground floor of three paddocks

 

Once the public veterinary clinic is functional, free treatments and surgeries will be provided for the pets owned by poorer members of our community. Until then, we will continue to offer free sterilisations and microchips for these pets during the 2-3 campaigns we hold annually, of which are sponsored by our international partners.
The shelter 2 will be part of a very ambitious project: our PawzUp Center will reunite the large sanctuary, the veterinary clinic with a sanctuary for donkeys and horses but also an organic garden, which is currently in progress but already contains various trees, medical plants, aromatic herbs, flowers.

REHOMING

We provide life saving medical attention and food for any dog that needs our help, but our main goal is to find a safe, happy home for as many as possible. The shelters are a refuge for strays and provide for their basic needs, but every dog deserves a home they can call their own.

 

We are proud of our rescues and our website showcases the dogs we have selected for adoption. Each is assessed based on his or her temperament, interaction with shelter care workers and reaction to other dogs. Although there are no guarantees with any dog you may introduce to your home, we have been doing this a long time. We can spot a loving, friendly dog and can make the best guess possible as to how they may fit into your family. Once you have found a dog you may like to adopt, please contact us and we will do our best to ensure the dog is right for you. When you offer one of our dogs a home, you are actually helping two by providing another space for a
current stray. We think that is pretty great!

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See our dogs that are available for adoption    CLICK HERE

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SOCIAL PROGRAMME

 

We run programmes that offer people from disadvantaged areas free microchips, sterilisation and food for their pets. This helps to ensure pets stay with their families and avoids the need to abandon their furry friends making the stray situation worse.

KIDS EDUCATION
We organise creative competitions for children at local schools, where they can submit drawings or
stories with a chance of winning a prize.

ORGANIC GARDEN
Started in 2016, the organic garden is a small collection of medical plants, trees, aromatic plants
looked after with minimal environment impact.