By Lori Kalef, SPCA International Staff Today Romanian dogs are being abused, killed and repeatedly tortured in the most barbaric manner. They are often beaten, cut, poisoned and left for dead in the streets, or placed in small kennels at public pounds to slowly die of thirst and hunger on their own. Romania is now receiving worldwide scrutiny because of this unbelievable brutality toward animals – but the massacres continue. Romania’s stray dog population is a by-product of the communist regime that ruled the country until 1989 under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceasescu. During this time, rural workers were moved from the countryside to work in the city as part of a mass urbanization plan. Those who were bought to urban centers were often forced to release their dogs into the streets for lack of space and money. Sadly, nature took control, the dogs bred and the population grew without restraint. The Romanian government’s only solution has been mass killings and a limited number of terrible public pounds. Due to health concerns in Bucharest, where an estimated 60,000 dogs are roaming the streets, average citizens are taking matters into their own hands and brutally slaying innocent dogs with household tools, such as hammers and axes. In other locations, public pounds act as death traps and where animals are caged without food and water to seemingly die a slow death without hope of adoption. SPCA International is taking on this issue to raise awareness and change the tragic plight of innocent animals. At the end of this month, our team will be traveling to Romania to assess the situation, distribute grants to partner organizations, meet with local government officials, and save lives through spay and neuter and medical treatment. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more and help us stop these massacres.