Hilary Swank advocates for stray animals in Romania

The Million Dollar Baby star visited the the capital of Bucharest on Friday (22Jun12) in a bid to dissuade officials from putting down upwards of 35,000 unwanted animals, and urging welfare leaders to support sterilisation and neuter programmes instead.

She tells the Associated Press, “I believe in a No-Kill policy. Hopefully (we are) getting to a place where we have No-Kill universally and just a more caring attitude in general to all animals.”

During her trip Swank also offered up a solution on what to do with the influx of homeless canines – train them to become therapy dogs.

She continues, “I’ve seen firsthand how it changes the path of the soul, for the animal and for the child… 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.”

And the pet owner insists she witnessed the real-life benefits during a recent visit to a retirement home – “There was a woman (who) didn’t get out of bed, and after a few weeks of the dog coming to visit she’s up walking. The dog literally got her out of bed.”

The 37 year old now plans to launch her own charity to help unite children and animals in America.