Romanian teenager Ana-Maria Ciulcu uses Facebook to save hundreds of stray dogs

Thirteen-year-old rescues animals and re-homes them using a Facebook page

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The Independent Online

A Romanian teenager is using Facebook to save stray dogs from being euthanised in Bucharest after authorities introduced laws to allow dogs caught in public places to be put down if they are not re-homed within two weeks.

Thirteen-year-old Ana-Maria Ciulcu has been collecting stray animals found on the street, having them vaccinated, micro-chipped and even acquiring international passports for them.

She then uploads pictures of the animals onto Facebook in the hope of securing an adoptive home for them from dog-lovers across Europe.

The teenager has already saved 150 of the 60,000 canines roaming Romania's capital by sending them to owners in Germany, Austria and Belgium since September.

Last year, a four-year-old boy died after he was mauled by a stray beside a Bucharest park which lead to protests demanding something be done about the dogs.

The authorities began enforcing the euthanasia rules shortly after, which enable city halls to put down dogs caught in public spaces if they are not adopted within two weeks.

Her family cover the vet bill and care costs, while the new owner pays any transportation costs. Ana-Marie focuses on ensuring the animals go to a good home.

"I like to know that my dogs will be spoiled, and will be allowed to sit on the sofa ... so one of my first questions would be: 'Are you going to chain him?'" she explained.

"Romanians generally want to adopt only a pure breed," she added. "Dogs can't live packed together. They need affection."

Ana-Maria Ciulcu takes pictures of a dog she rescued from the streets of Bucharest while a veterinary doctor makes him a vaccine in Bucharest March 28, 2014.

Bucharest's state-funded wards now hold 2,800 dogs, and 2,000 dogs have been euthanized in the past two months, according to Romania's Authority for Animal Surveillance and Protection.

Foreign citizens, mainly German and British, have directly adopted about 30 dogs since September, ASPA Director Razvan Bancescu said.

The strays are thought to be a legacy of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's decision to bulldoze Bucharest's historic center in the 1980s to make way for a gargantuan "House of the People".

Thousands of guard dogs were abandoned by residents who had been forcibly relocated into small apartments.

Additional reporting by Reuters