Puppy love for Romanian stray

Pet rescue: Sandra Smith and her new dog, Lola. Picture ' Adrian Murray (1504132AM1)
Pet rescue: Sandra Smith and her new dog, Lola. Picture ' Adrian Murray (1504132AM1)

A Ripon woman who has been helping to rescue stray dogs from Romania for the past two years has now provided a home for one of the canines.

Sandra Smith, 58, helps a shelter for stray dogs in Transylvania re-home the animals once they reach England after being transported into the country.

After helping many dogs find new homes in the UK, Ms Smith has now opened her own home on Stonebridgegate to a three-year-old German Shepard called Lola.

The problem of stray dogs in Romania began in the 1980s when animals were abandoned on to the street after small houses were abolished and vast apartment blocks built under dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.

For more than 20 years, the dogs have been chased, captured and killed in order to get rid of them and Ms Smith believes every dog brought into the UK is another dog saved.

She said: “I have been supporting this shelter in Romania for a number of years because they have such a problem with stray dogs and the way that they are dealt with.

“Each dog we can get out of there is another dog saved and we feel that not enough people know about the terrible situation that is currently going on over there.

“I first started adopting the dogs two years ago but a number of the dogs in Romania are now sponsored. The shelter has 200 dogs and each one we can manage to get out or homed is fantastic.

“The woman that owns the shelter in Transylvania is incredible and so is the woman that transports them over into England.

“More people need to be aware of this problem and I find it hard to believe that nobody seems to know about the barbaric practice that goes on in this country.”

The Asociatia Amicii Nostri Turda shelter in Transylvania has grown from housing 25 dogs when it opened in 2009 to more than 200 by 2013.

Despite recently taking Lola in, Ms Smith said she is still unsure whether or not she will stay in her home or be given away to another loving family.

She said: “This is the first one that I have homed and she will now either stay with me or go to an adopted family if I can find one.

“She really is a dream to have in the house and, at the moment, I am leaning towards keeping her.

“But my home is not the only nice home she can move into and if we find one for her that frees me up to home another one.”