Endangered dogs rescued from life of horror in Romania
Five endangered dogs that were rescued from a horror life in Romania are safe in a Northern Ireland sanctuary.
Prior to their escape they were kept in dreadful conditions, fed once a week, prodded with pitch-forks and faced being killed with hammers.
But now, after five long, dark days in transit, the frightened stray dogs are being cared for in Banbridge before hopefully being rehomed.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Gillian McFadden, boss of the Doghouse Sanctuary in the Co Down town, said the vulnerable animals were lucky to be alive.
"Romania is one of the worst countries in the world for animal cruelty and we've been hearing terrible stories about the mass slaughter of dogs there recently," she said.
"We really wanted to help, which is why we decided to take the animals in and care for them."
She added: "Right now they're all shell-shocked and totally traumatised by their experiences."
The crossbreed dogs – Nero, Pippo, Pongo, Baumaux and Max – are aged between three and six and are currently on the mend.
Mrs McFadden (45), a mother-of-four, who also has one grandson, said the Doghouse, a registered charity, is expecting another five arrivals from Romania this weekend.
Two months ago The Associated Press reported that the Romanian government had given the green light to the mass killing of tens and thousands of stray dogs in the country's capital Bucharest.
The move came after a four-year-old boy was attacked and killed while playing outside a park with his older brother.
It also followed another incident in 2011 when a woman was mauled to death by a pack of strays.