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    Posted on Jun 11, 2013

    Charity Aims To Rebuild Failing Animal Shelters In Romania

    The Harmony Fund is launching a massive renovations project to rebuild dangerous shelters located in Romania.


    These dogs and volunteers belong to the Campalung shelter; the wet and cold winters can be very hard to deal with. Campalung is where most of the renovation efforts will center.


    This is a block of kennels basically completely submerged in water.

    "Sometimes the water comes in so quickly after a storm or snow melt and it’s almost impossible at times for the shelter staff to find a place to put all the dogs," said Harmony Fund founder Laura Simpson. "We’ll be tearing down these kennels and rebuilding elsewhere on the property to keep the dogs dry."


    Here's a further glimpse at what the Campalung shelter actually looks like.


    This group of dogs are just some who call the St. Francis shelter, near Bucharest, home.


    "A handful of workers are here (at the St. Francis shelter) seven days a week to feed and care for the dogs and cats to the best of their abilities," said Simpson. "They hurt to see the animals so cold."


    This is Carmen Dodi whose time and income is mostly focused on her ailing father; she also runs a small shelter for dogs, despite any hardships she faces.

    "So often when she leaves her house in the morning, people will thrust dogs into her arms or there will be cardboard boxes of pups waiting for her," said Simpson. "'What would you do?' Carmen asks us in despair."

    Here are Harmony Fund's five main objectives with its Romanian project:

    #1. Two trucks full of supplies:


    "These will be distributed amongst more than a dozen animal shelters in Romania."

    In order to bring the proper help and supplies to these struggling shelters, Simpson needed someone to make a 2,000-mile round-trip from Germany to Romania. Just when her search was growing grim, someone directed her to Tamara Raab, a German truck driver who will drive one of the big rigs.

    #2. Protect the dogs from drowning and freezing:

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    "Volunteers will converge on the shelter in Campulung where more than 1,000 dogs take refuge in a series of dilapidated buildings, some of which fill with so much water during spring rains and snow melt, that the dogs could drown if they lay their heads down.

    We're undertaking an extreme shelter makeover to keep the animals warm, dry and safe. We have to get new rooves, repair the building walls, put in proper drainage, install shade plants to help block the summer sun and winter wind."

    #3. Cats will sleep under the snow no more:


    "Next, the Harmony Fund will turn to the St. Francis Shelter in Bucharest where we’ll help the cats who were drenched in rain and snow last winter under a roof that opens to the heavens."

    Not all conditions at these shelters are even close to ideal, but the setup for this family is one of the best the charity has seen.

    "Provisions for animals at the Romanian shelters are quite modest but this family is comfortable and safe," said Simpson.

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    Due to the rough winters, some of the cats in these shelters suffer from upper respiratory infections. A part of the rebuilding project will be to provide the animals with proper veterinary care.

    #4. Urgent veterinary care:

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    "We'll be providing urgent veterinary care, vaccines and spay/neuter to thousands of dogs and cats in three major Romanian shelters."

    This dog is receiving vaccinations at the St. Francis shelter; he seems to be pretty happy about it.

    #5. Rescuing the underdogs:

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    "Finally, we’ll be helping volunteers who try to help the dogs and cats in their community, even when it means that they go hungry.

    So many people living in poverty are trying to help and they simply need help providing food and veterinary attention. We’re determined to embrace their heroism and give them the resources they need to care for the animals.

    No one should do this alone."


    Shelters like this, ones that can't protect animals from any type of weather, are common across the country.


    Through international adoption organizations, the animals at the shelters are available to be placed into new homes. The "lucky ones" find homes usually in the UK or Germany.


    Raab "broke down in tears when I told her we would help her," explained Simpson. "She is still in shock about all the good things that are unfolding."

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