Antonia Kerstesz is Romanian of Hungarian descent, therefore she speaks Hungarian better than Romanian. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but I think it adds character to her. She administers Salonta Public Shelter.
This shelter is under the city hall's administration, so I speculate that Antonia receives some salary (most likely small) to manage the shelter. Thanks to her big heart, this public shelter is one of the best shelters in the country (counting the private ones).
She does not have PayPal, so if a foreigner wants to donate to her they have to do it through bank transfer or western. Usually that deters foreigners from donating, so I speculate that most of her donations come from Romanian citizens.
I have seen so many cases of dogs rescued by Antonia and the way these dogs turn from emaciated, scared creatures into happy and fat dogs is amazing for me and it speaks to her kindness. There are so many instances where she proved her dedication and love to animal rescue, that it's hard for me to pick only a few.
One time she stopped her day only to rescue a dog who was left in a hot car by his owner. That might sound like common sense for you, but in Romania people would not care. Regular Romanians look at you like you're crazy if you pick up after your dog (ironically these are the same people who complain about dog dirt). Another time she took over 50 dogs from Focsani public shelter when that shelter closed down and the dogs were in danger of being euthanized.
There are also so many cases of dogs victims of car accidents or abandoned over the fence of her own shelter (basically irresponsible people put the dogs in a closed plastic bag and throw the bag over the shelter's fence.
Antonia said that she has a special love for old dogs that are usually disposed by regular people. She started a program called "Batranete linistita" which translates as "happy and secure in the old age". Basically she takes old dogs abandoned by other people and offers them a good life in their last days.
Another thing that makes Antonia special is the way she raises her children. She has a 5 or 6 years old daughter and a teenager son. They both love animals and they are very gentle and empathic kids. Antonia loves to have volunteers at the shelter and welcomes their help. The kids are usually working with the volunteers in between homeworks.
Recently she opened Asociatia Antonia Save Animals so that she can ask for donations in a legal way and secure fund for the dogs in her care.
She is a one woman show in the sense that she does everything:
- rescues the dog,
- takes the dog to the vet,
- fundraises to pay for the vet bills,
- prepares the dog for adoption (this includes socializing, vaccines, sterilization, microchip, etc),
- promotes the dog to find responsible adopters,
- updates the donors with the cases that they donated for
She has a few volunteers that work at the shelter once in a while, but that's a drop in the bucket.
Here are a few posts from her that I saved along the time:
How callous people abandon pets and how they disrespect Antonia: https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1522392017827017
Grave case of abandonment: https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1508605605872325
A pregnant dog that was poisoned. Antonia says that she does not want to get back in the car with which she brought this dog to the vet (in her words "the car has a death stench") https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1505287446204141
This post is about a dog whose muzzle was destroyed by some callous people who put explosives. Antonia feels very attached to this dog and hates that she has to euthanize him https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1483224495077103
Hysteric people complained about this dog that it "eats kids". Antonia shows how tame the dog is and it's the people who are hysteric. https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1471453169587569
What some people throw in the garbage Antonia's daughter treasures and takes care of (a pile of abandoned puppies) https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1466878713378348
In this post she explains that it is common practice for people to let their dogs out of the backyard to pee/poo in public space. This dog unfortunately was run over by a car https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1394136153985938
This is especially cruel because somebody threw the body of this mutilated piglet over the shelter's fence and a 13 years old volunteer girl discovered it. https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1278153388917549
This is a call for help for a cat that was left in the middle of an intensely circulated road and was hit by a car. Besides the fact that nobody bothered to stop for that poor cat, Antonia says that she can't do it alone. It was a cry for help that stuck with me. https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1155124707887085
Here she took out the garbage from the shelter and she felt the smell of death. There was a plastic bag with an animal that most likely died suffocated https://www.facebook.com/antonia.kertesz.9/posts/1146787488720807