Braila, Romania - Notoriously bad dog pound (APAM Horez)

Photos - dog poisoning:

NGO Horez - operates as private dog kill pound:



Since January 2007 Romania is an EU member state.

Romanian national legislation for the protection of animals – with or without owner - already exists. Unfortunately, implementation of this legislation is being routinely disregarded or flouted by authorities and politicians across Romania.

Romanian national legislation for animals includes:

- from 15th January 2008: the frame law no.205/2004 modified and completed by law no.9/2008 for animal protection

Art 6 (2) Cruelty against animals means killing of the animals with intention.

Art.6’ Abandon is to leave an animal that is in man’s care and ownership without food, shelter and medical treatment on public domain.

The felonies under the Art 6 (killing animals with intention, abandonment,maiming and maltreatment, separating infants from mother, animal fights, causing physical or psychical suffering etc) are punished with imprisonment, 6 months to 3 years, or penal fine, 1,000 to 10,000 lei and seizure of animal.

Art.7’ It is forbidden to euthanize dogs, cats or other animals excepting animals with incurable diseases, considered necessary by vets.

Art 24: in the case of committing 2 consecutive contraventions under theArt 23 (1) a & b, (i.e. for failing to ensure the animals proper shelter, food, water, care, attention, veterinarian assistance, or for causing psychic and physic trauma on training an animal), the animals are seized and the owner - fined.

Art 24’: in case of committing a felony, the court may decide the owner tobe forbidden from owning or acquiring pets.

Art.8 – law no 9/2008: ANSVSA (National Sanitary, Veterinary and Food Safety Authority) is the national authority governing the animal protection.

- the law 60/2004 – The Council of Europe Convention on the protection of pet animals

- the law 227/2002 (previous Gov’t emergency ordinance no 155/2001) for the management of street dogs
There is a glaring conflict between Law No. 227 (OUG 155) which instructs municipalities to "Catch and Kill" (albeit with welfare safeguards which are in practice never observed) and Law No. 9/2008 which makes it illegal to kill a healthy animal.

The Chamber of Deputies is supposed to debate and vote on a modification of Law No. 227 to bring it into line with Law 9/2008. Bulgaria included Neuter & Return in the law. The Senate of Romania has already approved the amendment to Law No. 227.

In Braila a private businessman with a criminal record (3 convictions and 8 years spent in jail) has formed a so-called animal welfare association called APAM Horez and won a well-paid contract from his friend, the mayor, to implement Law No. 227. Horez has poisoned dogs all over the town, illegally kills and starves the dogs in its dog pound according to witnesses and former employees.

The animal welfare organizations

Since 2006, Vier Pfoten submitted the contract for free sterilization of street dogs both to the mayor Constantin Cibu and Aurel Simionescu; each time the co-operation was rejected. Both mayors chose to continue to support Horez’ business.

Complaints of FRPCA - Romanian Federation for the Animal Protection&Control concerning the owner of dogpound, for abuse in service, fraud, false documents under private signature, embezzlement with public money and cruelty on animals, which could be grounds for criminal charges, are under investigation.

In March 2009 charges have been laid by FRPCA against 4 representatives of Braila city hall (the mayor Aurel Simionescu and the vice mayor), for abuse in service, complicity in financial and economic crimes, cruelty on animals, false documents under private signature, abuse in service against the public interests, fraudulent management, embezzlement, spreading of diseases in animals, illegal exercise of an activity.

In Sept 2006 NGO Horez got the street dog management concession, contract paid by Braila city hall. NGO Horez runs a dogpound that has not proper sanitary veterinarian authorization, and yet is paid by city hall.

According to (then valid) legislation - ANSVSA order no 139/2004, the sanitary veterinarian authorization was required to start the activity. For this dogpound the registration – a document which is inferior to authorization - was issued on 12.07.2007, 10 months after the dogpound activity (street dog management, i.e. dog killing) had started.

Although the dogpound activity is paid with taxpayers’ money, the veterinarian authority did not impose the dogpound to observe the minimal legal requirements – it’s all about nobody’s dogs.

In fact, the single purpose of setting up this masquerading NGO was the public budget for street dogs management, even if the NGO had no financial, human, and material capability (public funds were used to acquire the investments required by the local council as private investments; the lack of veterinary authorization) to perform the street dog management activity.

In 2006, the city hall externalized the street dog management to a private facility due to the imminent shortage of financial resources, i.e. the city hall had no money to perform the activity by itself. So that, from an initial budget of 60,000 lei in 2006 (17,023 euro) – the budget of public service before externalization, in 2 years the city hall got to pay a total amount of 850,000 lei (abt. 243,000 euro) to NGO Horez, money paid by taxpayers for illegal dog killing and animal cruelty.

The financial, professional, and material capability to perform the street dog management

In Oct 2006, just 2 months after activity had started, the dogpound activity was suspended by DSV Braila after a check requested by FRPCA. The official report suspended the dogpound activity until its getting into line with the law, and forbad the euthanasia of the impounded dogs. The findings: no records of the impounded animals, improper food and water, no running water and sewage, no isolation room, improper veterinarian facilities, the personnel was not trained to handle the dogs acc. to the law, dead puppies were kept together with the live ones.

At the date of veterinarian check, the dogpound had not any document issued by the veterinarian authority to attest the capacity to perform the activity. According to the law its activity should have been forbidden, not suspended.

Nevertheless the dogpound activity never stopped, they continued to catch & kill dogs – even if an official document of DSV forbade the NGO to catch&kill dogs. A dogpound that had no authorization to operate got its activity suspended; yet it continued to operate.

Mayor Constantin Cibu commented on this incident: NGO Horez must be encouraged, not stopped from doing its job. “It’s not a problem whether they got an authorization or not, or when, one day earlier or later. It’s an activity we all must support”.(Ziarul de Braila – 30 Sept 2007: Maidanezii incing spiritele la CLM).

In 2008, after another complaint by FRPCA, ANSV fined NGO Horez 2500 lei (685 euro – the note 617/29.05.2008) and forbade NGO to catch and impound dogs over the dogpound capacity. NGO Horez ignored again this official report.

In October 2008 ANSV checked the dogpound again, after another complaint of FRPCA, and found that the dogpound capacity was: 520 dogs, and the number of impounded dogs: 508.

ANSV recommended that
- the number of dogs captured & impounded to not exceed the dogpound capacity

- the winter shelter to be completed – at the date of check (Oct 2008) there was no winter shelter for the 500 dogs; in January- February 2009 the number of impounded dogs reached 800 - 900 dogs – without any winter shelter, the dogs were kept in cold, snow, rain, frost. The ‘kennels’ are a sort of tubes open on 2 sides (in photos), located in open field. In wintertime the temperatures are frequent under 0C during day.

- It mentioned that the van was in course of authorization and asked for daily disinfection of paddocks and car. So the car was not authorized for the activity they has been doing for 2 years.

The guardian angels of a notoriously bad dogpound

Even in the presence of police, in charge to enforce the law for animal protection, the animal organization FRPCA is not allowed to visit the 800-900 dogs impounded by NGO Horez – yet the dogpound is paid with public money. Police didn’t charge any fine for this abuse.

The most recent case: on Feb the 11th 2009, police and FRPCA representative were not allowed to see the dogs captured that day - supposedly alive; the dogpound representatives refused to show the tranquilizing gun, the authorization, and to sign the report made by police. (Article: Police humiliated by dogcatchers – Ziarul de Braila, Feb 14th, 2009). The case was reported to police chiefs in Bucharest, with no reaction.

Countless complaints and photos were submitted to police since 2006 by animal welfare organizations, attesting the cruel treatment of street dogs in Braila, the systematic poisoning of street dogs - videos and photos are included in petition: The Animal Welfare in Romania – Street Cleansing with Poison: Braila 2007.


No author was ever found by authorities, even if police collected plastic bags with poisoned meat, plastic sacks with dead dogs, dumped in a forest.

Art.8 – law no 9/2008: ANSVSA (National Sanitary, Veterinary and Food Safety Authority) is the national authority governing the animal protection.

In Braila the veterinarian authority is responsible for permitting this NGO to elude the law. Consequently, neither police nor the sanitary veterinarian authority can do anything to enforce the law for animal protection in the public dogpound. The worst and most often cases of animal cruelty are within public dogpounds, and the animal protection law has no jurisdiction there.

Animal cruelty paid with public money

The first clear case against Horez is dated June 2007. During a local council session, the executive manager of the local power plant, local councilor as well, revealed that the dogs in the factory yard were poisoned, and pointed at the employees of NGO Horez – the concessionaire of street dog management in Braila - Monitorul de Braila, 2 iunie 2007.

Animal welfare organizations submitted the case to police; a ‘person without occupation” was found guilty of dog poisoning, while NGO Horez - not guilty. The perpetrator was fined, but the ‘general assembly’ became clear one year later, when the ‘perpetrator’, sick with an incurable disease in terminal phase, revealed that he drove the dogcatchers car in that incident, and was ‘identified’ by police on the basis of record of drivers & cars entering the factory. His employment with NGO Horez had been terminated some months earlier, but he hadn’t been notified. Police considered NGO Horez free of any responsibility. The fact that a ‘stranger’ had driven Horez’s car involved in the incident (though the car wasn’t reported ‘stolen’!), that the other 2 persons were employees of Horez, and that the next day the same persons&car returned precisely to pick up the carcasses didn’t rise any suspicion to police. The investigation hushed up the connection between Horez and the dog poisoning. The presence of Horez’s employees & car in factory was recorded by the local council police, securing the factory. The man police held responsible was punished instead of the real perpetrators.

One year later the former employee declared to a local newspaper (the statements are videotaped): “We used liquid carbofuran that was injected in sausages with a syringe, then left to dry. The baited meat was prepared both at dogpound and at home of an employee. The dogs were poisoned at night and in mornings, the carcasses were dumped by NGO employees in larger public thrash bins. In the period referred to by animal organizations, more than 1,000 street dogs were poisoned. This was the way the dogpound run by NGO Horez made room for newcomers.” Ziarul de Braila, Sept 24 2008. The substance used to poison the dogs was illegally purchased from agricultural farmers.

At least on 2 occasions, police could have got information about the illegal activity of Horez, and should have checked the links between the systematic dog killing with poison and NGO Horez’s employees. NGO was permitted to continue the cruel “management” of street dogs. They learnt ‘how to work better’.
Even after the ‘revelations of a former dog exterminator’ were published by a local newspaper in Sept 2008, the city hall, police and the other authorities had no reaction. The fact that the authorities had no reaction ‘helped’ the perpetrators learn they can use any methods so long they ‘conceal’ the traces. The authorities not only are passive with these abuses and illegalities, but contribute to this situation.

The sanitary veterinarian authority:

The central authority - ANSVSA

Following the numerous complaints, ANSVSA did 2 checks at Horez dogpound, in June and October 2008. They found all legal, the dogs euthanized had all incurable diseases, certified by the veterinarian employed by Horez, in compliance with the law for animal protection. In May the dogpound was fined 2500 lei (685 euro), for some deficiencies, following a complaint by FRPCA.

In October ANSV check found reports of vaccination and records of treatments. If the dogs were never identified, how these records could be taken in earnest?

As always happens, the check of ANSV was focused on papers&records and not on animals: if they get food, water, veterinarian care, proper shelter, which are visible with naked eye. The animal welfare organization FRPCA was not invited to attend or notified about this check.

The local authority DSVSA Braila

In May 2008, during the check requested by FRPCA, DSVSA inspector concluded that the impounded animals were in good condition and refused to see and set a health verdict on some dogs that could barely stand (photos on link).

The photos were taken a few days later, during a visit with Braila mayor at dogpound, since filming and taking pictures in dogpound are forbidden (it’s ‘private property’ - paid by taxpayers). The animal welfare organizations are forbidden the access in the dogpound.

All people who visited the dogpound described a terrible reality: the conditions in which the animals are kept can be hardly called ‘maltreatment’, but cruelty on animals.

The minimum legal requirements are not observed: food, water, shelter, medical care, disinfection, treatment by employees, dogs not found in dogpound even in the day they were caught, proving the real nature of their activity. Unaltered males and females kept together, crammed in paddocks, weak and aggressive dogs together, infants collected from streets without mothers and kept in a cold hall, on wet concrete, without bedding, with bare bones as food – they are left to starve to death.

The dogs are fed on slaughterhouse remains, donations, leftovers from supermarkets and city prison (bean meals for dogs – in photos). The costs with dogs and salaries are minimum.

DSV Braila maintains that the ‘interdiction to operate’ is a radical measure that can be applied in case of severe & repeated misconduct, “which is not the case of NGO Horez, the nonconformities being remediable while operating. Temporary cease or definitive interdiction of dogpound activity, ‘unique’ in Braila, could result in social unwanted effects and putting the street dog population out of control”.


  • How could a 520, then 800-900 dog facility to solve the dog problem in a city with a street dog population estimated at several thousands? This statement is enough to reveal the real activity of the dogpound: the dog extermination. How could be explained the mystery of tens of dogs caught & impounded weekly in a 300 or 500 place dogpound, since January 2008? Where did the dogs vanish from that death camp, other than through the chimney?
  • How can a state representative (DSV) plead for the necessity of maintaining an illegal private business, instead of setting a legal, efficient and transparent solution to solve the problem?
  • Has ANSVSA knowledge that:
    - The dogpound has no sanitary veterinarian authorization?
    - Since January 2008, the dogpound euthanized dogs without any legal reason, and many dogs were declared “dead in dogpound” – in contradiction with veterinarian reports saying that the animals were in ‘good condition’?
    - Out of the 1450 dogs impounded between January 2008 – September 2008, 1303 dogs ‘died’ (90% mortality rate) – even if they were in good condition - and this happens to be an association for ‘animal protection’?
    - What sort of check the veterinarian inspectors did, if between Oct 2006 and March 2009 the VMD employed by Horez was never seen by any visitors at dogpound?
    - The sick animals are kept together with the healthy ones, exposed to extreme weather conditions (sun, heat, frost, rain), are fed on bare bones, and the stench of rotting remains could be felt from outside the premises?
    - The horrible conditions in which the animals are kept result in a short stay and quick transit of the impounded animals, making room for the next series – and more public money.

Official statistics highlights the aforesaid: in 2008 the mortality rate in this ‘no-kill’ dogpound was 90%!

In 2007 the association for ‘animal protection’ Horez killed 5437 dogs that were ‘invoiced’ to the city hall.

Videos showing the conditions in the dogpound Horez – monitored by DSV Braila, where the ‘animals are well treated’:

Dogs eating dogs in dogpound Horez:

At meal time, tens of dogs crammed in a paddock are thrown a few bare bones; the weak dogs are scared away and give up the meal; the animals are deliberately starved and subjected to permanent trauma.

The financial authorities too were asked to check the legality of the contract and payments. No irregularities were found.

Yet the street dog management seems to be a thriving business, and this should raise questions when paid with public money.

The profit of NGO Horez:
- in 2006, after 4 months of contract with Braila city hall: 13256 lei (3765 euro). Even if the externalization was ‘imposed’ by financial hardships, in the same year NGO Horez got a substantial profit from its 4 month co-operation with Braila city hall;

- in 2007: 54031 lei (16225 euro) – nearly the 2006’s budget of the public service for street dog management. A good profit for a non-profit organization – paid with public money!

The local council police and the city hall

Even if there is no contract for the local council police to provide security services to this NGO, under the mandate of mayor Simionescu, dogcatchers actions are accompanied by car & employees of local council police, to ensure that the dogcatchers are safe and not annoyed by dog lovers.

The dogcatchers actions are also accompanied by a city hall representative, so that at least 2 public institutions (local council police and city hall) are subordinated without paying to NGO Horez.

Figures & Calculations

The city hall pays Horez NGO 100 lei/impounded dog/month.

As reference for this price level, in March 2009, 8800 elderly people of Braila had pensions under 300 lei/month (70 euro).

So that every month, the lowest pension = the amount paid by city hall to NGO Horez to keep 3 dogs in a filthy dogpound.

The average monthly wage in Braila is under the national level.

The huge amount of money paid by taxpayers to NGO Horez doesn’t solve the street dog problem - it only wastes their money.

The dogpound release fee: 125 lei (abt 30 euro; 1 euro = 4,28 lei – Feb 2009), even if the dogs are released from dogpound on the same day and in the same condition: not spayed/neutered, not vaccinated – or in a state of health worse than they were on entering the dogpound (photos).

These measures simply discourage the adoption, which is against the principles of any “animal welfare’ organization.

While 900 dogs are impounded in inhumane conditions, the dogs left outside and the yard dogs will provide the perpetuation of ‘dog business’, at the expense of taxpayers money and animal suffering.
With all concerns about the street dog problem, Braila city hall ignores all appeals from citizens and animal welfare organizations, and any measure for strays prevention as provided by the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (the law no 60/2004): spay/neuter and registration of pet dogs, encouraging the responsible ownership, discouraging the uncontrolled (back yard) breeding and dog abandonment.

Business connections of NGO Horez and the neutralization of animal remains

The contract for carcasses neutralization is not with PROTAN, but with the incinerator of a pig farm that is authorised to cremate the animal remains resulting from its own activity.

Example of Non – Compliance of Animal Welfare Legislation by Local or National Romanian Authorities include:

1. An association for “animal protection” – NGO Horez continues to illegally kill dogs after the date the euthanasia became illegal (felony): in January 2008 – 385 dogs were euthanized, in February 2008: 280. No authority had any reaction.
The mortality rate of 90% in a ‘no-kill’ dogpound indicates that the dogs are caught, impounded and killed.

2. The contract between Braila city hall - NGO Horez paid with public money was not accessible to public until FRPCA got the court judgment by which the city hall was compelled to publish the contract.

3. Dossier no 754/P/2008 - In February 2008, FRPCA asked the investigation of a dog poisoning case. An employee of a care home was caught poisoning the dogs with carbofuran, an eyewitness testified against him, and the perpetrator admitted his guilt.

According to law 9/2008, the felony is punishable with prison (6 months – 3 years) or penal fine (1,000 lei to 10,000 lei). The prosecutor set a penalty of 200 lei, the absence of criminal record was invoked as mitigating circumstances. FRPCA appealed the resolution. Prosecutors rejected the appeal, considering that the action (animal poisoning) poses no social threats. The resolution was appealed again and is to be judged in court in April 2009. (photos on link)

3. Dossier no 3725/P/2008 - In Sept 2008 FRPCA submitted a criminal complaint against the dogcatchers; a poisoned dog and piece of baited meat were found on the route the dogcatchers & city hall representative walked half an hour earlier and some residents, intrigued, informed FRPCA representative. Police and sanitary veterinarian representative too were called. The body was taken for investigations. In the presence of police, FRPCA representative asked the dogcatchers to open the van to see the condition of captured dogs, since there was the suspicion that the dogs were not tranquilized, but killed. Dogcatchers refused, and shortly a couple of chiefs from city hall, local council police, and the NGO owner Horez were summoned to keep the situation under control. Police didn’t check the authorization to use the tranquilizing gun, and whether the persons involved in action were authorized to use such substances – and they weren’t. The same request was also sent to prosecutors that took over the investigation – the question was ignored. The resolution from the prosecutors’ office: the dog (shown in photo, a young neutered male, with red collar) death “was not violent; the death was caused by “dehydration, dystrophy of the myocardium, severe modifications of liver and kidneys”. Since the death was not ‘violent’, criminal charges were dismissed by prosecutors.
Previous cases analyzed at the same laboratory of DSV revealed that similar symptoms were caused by intoxication with carbofuran. An eyewitness that police heard still keeps a frozen piece of the baited meat collected from the place of incident.

Worth saying that FRPCA has a co-operation agreement with police to fight the animal cruelty?

4. February 2008, 8 dead dogs were found in plastic sacks in a forest at a certain distance from Horez dogpound: 7 young dogs and a male adult (seen in photos). Police collected the plastic bags; DSV picked up the bodies for investigation and at first sight they said the dogs were poisoned. DSV was going to identify the substance used to kill the animals, which could have offered some clues. One week later, on checking with DSV toxicology lab, they said they had burned the bodies without any tests, due to the state of decay. Literally speaking, DSV ‘burned’ the investigation, in a case of criminal offence under the new law 9/2008. The substance used and the plastic bags collected by police might have offered some tracks.

5. On 17.10.2008 a few witnesses caught Horez’s dogcatchers in action, carrying a dog familiar in the area, apparently poisoned. The residents were intrigued and asked them why did they poison the animal, known as a mild dog? They checked at the same day at dogpound; the dog wasn’t found there, proving that he was killed on spot, not tranquilized and discarded. An investigation was opened by police, but even if the case is clear, the authorities haven’t got to any conclusion.

6. In May 2008 FRPCA submitted a criminal complaint against Vasile Horez for animal mistreatment & cruelty. Authorities investigated the accusations and found Horez free of guilt. Their final report said that a number of 54 dogs were impounded at the time of the check (together with police and DSV Braila), that they had food, water, were in good health and not subjected to any cruelty! It was cited a letter of DSV Braila (the note 5269/29.07.2008), confirming that the animals were not subjected to mistreatment.

At the date of visit the dogs were counted by police; they were 320 in papers and 303 on site, and not 54, as stated by prosecutors.

DSV appreciation was misleading since the higher authority ANSVSA had already fined NGO Horez (note 617/29.05.2008; 2500 lei – abt 685 euro) and had forbidden NGO to catch and impound dogs over the dogpound capacity, but prosecutors set up the resolution based on incorrect information, and closed the case. The case was appealed by FRPCA.

7. In February 2009, 3 persons visited 2 times the dogpound to rescue some puppies. The puppies were not found, and 2 visitors were assaulted by dogcatchers. “We returned on 27.02.2009, and found the same personnel, the ‘spokesman’ being an individual who recommended veterinary technician to us.
Once again they attempted to stop us checking for our dogs, saying that the dogpound was under rabies quarantine (!!). We insisted, phoned the director and eventually were allowed the access in the dogpound.

We were accompanied to a metallic shed where the dogs under 6 months of age were kept, a sinister place, where puppies and infants were kept alone, separated from their mothers, in a metallic fence, on wet concrete, with no bedding, water, food. They had a single bare bone as food. They were emaciated, frightened, a scary view, for which those we pay to look after dogs are responsible.

The dogs we saw on 27.02.2009 in the dogpound were not the same dogs we had seen a week earlier. Now they were healthy dogs, newcomers. Where the others were?

What sort of man would keep his dogs in courtyard exposed to frost, harsh winds in wintertime, in metallic pipes opened on 2 sides, with no bedding, no straws, nothing? That dogpound is an extermination camp.

We didn’t find the 2 puppies captured on 15.02.209. What did they do to them?

I believe the dog killing continues there. I doubt our dogs ever got to dogpoung. As taxpayers we are entitled to ask why the dogcatchers are permitted to kill the street dogs and why does the city hall pay for the dog killing?

As we realized that our dogs are not in dogpound we asked if they were killed, and this infuriated them. The technician attacked my son, pushed him and drew him out of dogpound. I intervened and said him to let my son alone. He rushed toward me and pushed me beyond the dogpound gate. I wonder, if this man is so violent and brutal with people, what do they do to those poor, frightened animals awaiting their execution?

We don’t know who could issue authorizations to that place. Shameful, if such authorizations exist. There should be a veterinarian there, specialized personnel, the basic conditions for those poor creatures compelled to live there.

We want to visit the animals without being abused by primitive people, and to know that our money is decently spent.

As the aforesaid examples show, the law for animal protection is disregarded first of all by the authorities in charge of law enforcement.

It is not a surprise that, in 2008, no penalty was charged in Braila under the new law for animal protection, according to the sanitary veterinarian authorities. The photos listed above clearly indicate the extent, gravity and frequency of animal cruelty in Braila.

If an owner repeatedly abuses his pet the animal can be seized, and the owner fined, put in jail, according to the animal welfare law; why hundreds and thousands of animals are are abused and illegally killed on a daily basis, and all authorities prefer to turn a blind eye to the evidence?

April 2009