The Center for Education and Animal Services was established in December 2022, as a response to identified animal welfare issues and education needs in Jilava, Ilfov. The Center, which occupies 80sqm on a modular system, benefits from a 1700sqm yard and is situated in a tranquil residential area.
The Center is currently in the process of obtaining the Urbanism Certificate which would enable it to undergo the accreditation process with the College of Veterinary Medicine as a certified veterinary practice. Romanian bureaucratic hurdles have considerably delayed the process and we are working on finding appropriate solutions so we can move on to the next step.
Nevertheless, the Center is already performing educational and community engagement activities under the aegis of the Romanian charity (Association for Community Development Misfit Superheroes). With the creation of the Center for Education and Animal Services, we have been able to establish a unique partnership between charities in Romania, all working towards the same goal, supporting the Center and its projects: Kind Souls, ADAC, Arca lui Norocel and others.
The Center team has carried out 3 different events at schools in Ilfov and Prahova counties. Part of our “Pet-Friendly Schools” programme, the Center team of volunteers have reached 300 students and carried out activities to educate and raise awareness about responsible animal ownership and safe animal interaction. Moreover, they worked in collaboration with wildlife experts to raise awareness about local fauna and safe interactions, and the kids had the chance to participate hands-on in outdoor activities in a national park.
Because the Center team noted that animal cruelty is closely connected to domestic violence and bullying, so the volunteers along with experts in the field are developing “Bullyproof” – a programme designed to teach self-defense, conflict management and provide mental health counselling and support to youth at risk, in order to reduce animal cruelty cases in the community and increase reporting for both animal abuse and abandonment.
Since the establishment of the Center, a large number of locals have come to ask for help – whether with information or with urgent cases, and the Center has become a beloved location for the local youth. They have brought in their animals for help, they came to volunteer caring for patients, to help with cleaning and gardening, and they have become involved in defining the way the clinic and its garden looks, helping plant and care for the flowers and greenery, drawing illustrations or arranging solar lighting on its outer fence. The response of the local youth has been overwhelmingly positive, and they bring in their animals to visit in order to help them become familiar to vet visits.
In terms of the adult population, the Center has become a source of information regarding common issues associated with animal ownership and a connection point to the veterinary community. While the majority of social cases received and treated were brought in by the local kids, the adults have also come to ask for help with a variety of issues (from abscesses to tumors and viral diseases).
Spay and neuter and education campaigns
With the express support of the local mayor, the Center has organized three different spay campaigns:
- 105 animals on February 26-27
- 29 animals on May 29
- 91 animals on September 27
Moreover, we have helped over 50 social cases, along with a few farm animals (chickens) and 10+ wildlife patients (amongst which 8 hedgehogs, of which 4 were rescued from captivity). The Center team has designed flyers about responsible ownership, legal obligations and recommendations (+ disavowing common myths) that will be distributed in the community in October 2023 and disseminated online.
Moving forward – 2024 priorities at the center for education and animal services
The clinic roof
The Center was built on a metallic modular system (5 modules) with sandwich panelling, which confers an adequate level of thermal insulation. Nevertheless, the Center desperately requires adequate coverage to prevent it from overheating in the summer (>45 degrees Celsius indoors, making it impossible to work in without permanent A/C which would create unfeasible operating costs) and losing heat in the winter (thus requiring extreme costs to heat up).
The proposed solution would entail the construction of an attic with a roof that allows for the installation of solar panels, part of a renewable energy system that would significantly drive down operational costs, given that the clinic’s heating, and water supply is done solely from an electrical source. The solar-powered system would be funded privately, through local sources.
Safety first – the gas anaesthesia machine
Since January, the veterinary team (Dr. Mada Lixandru and her assistants) has been presented weekly with canine, feline, farm and even wildlife cases that require urgent, life or death interventions. The hardest part about the process is that animals in critical condition often require sedation or anesthesia in order to adequately help them, but are more often than not too unstable to receive classical protocols. This would drastically change if the Center had access to a gas anesthesia unit. Its benefits would be tremendous for the quality of care and patient outcomes, enabling the medical team to se inhalatory anesthesia to:
- Perform complex examinations, sample prelevations and treatments for difficult patients;
- Perform surgical interventions on higher-risk patients
- Modulate swiftly and efficiently narcosis level for the patients;
- Consult and treat small animals (especially wildlife) who would otherwise be too stressable or too difficult to maneuver.
The anesthesia machine cost varies depending on producers, whether it’s a new unit or second hand. Estimated costs for a new unit that includes a monitor is 3900GBP, while a used machine is estimated at 2600GBP.
The center in 2024
The Center for Education and Animal Services will expand in 2024 to include a youth center, with a second property being made available on the same street (2600sqm with a 80sqm house).
Responsible Animal Ownership Education
November 2023-June 2024
- the “Pet Friendly Schools” programme will take the Center team to schools across Ilfov and Prahova counties;
- locally, the team will begin the youth center renovation project, securing funding from private sources and applying for European funding sources;
The Center will organize larger spay campaigns every three months, trying to thus curb unwanted reproduction and abandonment, securing funding for spay events that serve on average 90-100 animals:
- next one in December 2023,
- February 2023
- May 2023
- August 2023
- December 2023
On a monthly basis, the Center will offer 20 spay and neuter surgeries for emergent animals in need, funded by Paws2Rescue.
The Center will continue the formal accreditation process so that it can function as a fully licensed veterinary practice. In the meantime, registered DVM Dr. Lixandru will continue to provide first aid, consults and treatments for emergent cases, providing education and prophylaxis for animals in need, depending on available budgets for acquiring the medicine needed.
In preparation for the next step, the Center would benefit massively from an Ambulance, and the Center team has begun the search process for a suitable/donated one they can equip.
The Community Preventative Medicine Program
Dr. Mada, together with the Paws2Rescue scholars, have designed a community intervention program with progressive deployment that will unroll as follows:
- Information campaign
- Flyer distribution
- Responsible Ownership Workshop
- Spay Voucher Distribution and Scheduling
- Responsible Ownership program activities with kids (see above)
- Volunteer training and recruitment from vet schools;
- Dog census
- Center established as a formal academic practice – vet students doing their practice hours in the Center (fieldwork in preventative medicine);
- Animal Welfare Workshop in the Center with vet students;
- Brucella and Leishmania testing drives with volunteer vet students (see our research projects)