BUCHAREST, Romania — Thousands of Romanian street dogs have found a friend in Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank.
Swank, who won for her portrayal of a waitress-turned-boxe r in “Million Dollar Baby,” visited Bucharest last week and showed a different kind of skill: fighting for animal rights. Swank, who says travel has been her best education, rarely leaves home without Kai, a devoted Jack Russell stray she rescued in Los Angeles.
In the Romanian capital on Friday, she visited projects set up by the animal welfare foundation Vier Pfoten that encourage interaction between stray dogs and institutionalized people. Bucharest has 35,000 strays and their fate has sparked a fierce debate here.
Some believe they should be put down, others advocate putting the dogs in shelters, while others want strays to be sterilized. Swank spoke to The Associated Press about her devotion to animals, her belief in sterilization and the ways street dogs can help disadvantaged people.
‘I believe that is so healing to these kids who don’t trust people anymore,” she said. “The unconditional love of an animal is very healing and teaches them about not just unconditional love but about a relationship, about responsibility, about anger management.” — AP