In October last year the tragic death of a child who was allegedly attacked by stray dogs has lead to the introduction of new legislation in Romania which promotes the capture and killing of all stray dogs in this country. Thousands of stray dogs are being brutally caught and sent to horrific dog pounds where they are given just 14 days to be either claimed by an owner or adopted. The conditions in these dogs pounds are terrible: The dogs are kept in crowded dirty wire cages, there is lack of food and medical treatment for the dogs. Since the law was introduced FOUR PAWS has reported over 70 cases of abuses of stray dogs in Bucharest along including the poisoning, drowning and torture of stray dogs. Many authorities chose to ignore the abuse cases taking place on a daily basis.
On 21 March 2014 several dog catchers of the local authority for stray dogs management ASPA abused and illegally took 18 dogs treated by the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS. They broke the lock of the entrance, took the dogs and vandalized the post-operation paddocks of FOUR PAWS veterinary clinic in 6th District of Bucharest. According to several eye witnesses, at least four dogs died on the spot because of the brutal handling.
The only man who has the power to address this situation and stop the killing law is the Romania Prime Minister Victor Ponta. FOUR PAWS is campaigning tirelessly to stop the abuse and killing of all stray dogs in this country. We urgently wish to meet with the key stakeholders in Romania to produce a national strategy for stray dog management which does not rely on brutal methods to capture and kill. This strategy will promote a humane and long-term solution to the problem and must be adopted by the Prime Minister.
Dear Prime Minister Victor PONTA,
I am writing to you because I am extremely distressed to hear the brutal way in which Romania is treating its stray dogs, with the introduction of a law which allows for the mass killing of all stray dogs in your country.
I am fully aware that coexistence of stray dogs and people is a tough challenge and incidents may occur. However to pass a law which promotes the killing of all stray dogs in your country is not the solution. It is a solution which has been bought on by emotional reactions of the public due to hyped media coverage. In the long-term this will neither control the stray dog population or prevent future incidents from taking place.
There have been many attempts by the Romanian Government to reduce the stray dog population in the past including the killing of 144,000 dogs in Bucharest alone between 2001-2008, which was unsuccessful.
Mass killing is not the answer. There are a number of options to deal with the stray dog population in a rational and humane way which will promote the welfare of both the dogs and the people at the same time. Capture, neuter and release schemes have been very effective in many countries world-wide and are endorsed by the OIE-World Organisation for Animal Health.
It is very disappointing that the Romania Government does not support these schemes but has instead introduced a law which allows mass killing of all stray dogs. The decision of the Romanian Parliament was fast, emotional and lacked a realistic solution to the problem.
Mr. Ponta, the future fate of all stray dogs in Romania is in your hands along with Romania’s international reputation. I am urging you to stop the killing law and to issue an emergency governmental decision to bring all stakeholders together to work on a national strategy for the humane management of stray dogs. This is the most effective way to keep the streets safe and to stop any further unnecessary killings.