Hilary Swank Sets Out to Save Stray Romanian Dogs

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Hilary Swank loves animals, and she's not above taking a trip across the pond to spread her love of those creatures who cannot speak for themselves. Recently, the "Million Dollar Baby" actress embarked on a mission to Bucharest, Romania in an attempt to save the stray dog population that's quickly becoming a problem in the city. According to reports, there are approximately 35,000 canine running free, and their fate is still up in the air.

What to do with these animals has become a hot-button issue in Romania; some feel that the dogs should be put down, while others believe they should be rounded up and placed into shelters. Additionally, quite a few folks think the canines should be sterilized, which would prevent them from producing even more strays. Swank, who feels that sterilization is the way to go, also feels that these dogs can help improve the lives of the disadvantaged.

Here in the States, Swank created the organization Hilaroo, which helps unite animals with needy children and those whose lives have taken a turn for the worse.

"I believe that is so healing to these kids who don't trust people anymore," she explained. "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."

She feels that such an organization could help improve the stray canine population in Bucharest, as well. Instead of simply killing the dogs and being done with it, Swank urges officials to sterilize these homeless dogs and cats and allow them to interact with children who could benefit greatly from the companionship they provide.

"I've seen firsthand how it changes the path of the soul," she said. "For the animal and for the child."

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