Concerns raised over Romanian stray dogs
MEPs have warned that a new law to tackle stray dogs in Romania has led to animals being killed in an inhumane way.
On 12 February 2014, the Agriculture Committee debated the country’s new legislation that came into effect last Autumn.
The law was brought in following figures that revealed that there are 65,000 stray dogs in the capital, Bucharest, alone.
That represents one for every 30 residents.
There have been demonstrations outside Romanian embassies in some European capitals, and celebrities like Brigitte Bardot and Pamela Anderson have made forceful representations against the law.
Vice-chair of the committee, Polish Conservative MEP Janusz Wojciechowski, said that although measured were needed to reduce the numbers of strays, “dogs are now being killed in the streets, in front of children”.
He said the Romanian authorities had assured the committee that the law would be implemented “in line with European standards”.
But, he claimed, there was little monitoring of the law, and that private companies were receiving public money to euthanise the dogs without proper oversight.
The stray dog population has grown over many years, especially since former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu ordered in the 1980s the demolition of vast areas of houses in Bucharest and other cities, and their replacement with concrete blocks of flats, forcing the owners to abandon their dogs.
The government insists that the new law also introduces mandatory registration for dogs and harsher penalties for owners who abandon their animals.
But critics complain that, besides potentially triggering a massacre of stray dogs, the law will not solve the problem in the long term, as it does not tackle the issue of uncontrolled breeding