MK Gandhi once said, "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated".
Romania has suffered a number of publicly humiliating blows to its reputation recently. Its high corruption levels were highlighted in the European Union's Anti-Corruption Report .
A previous EC Report has already criticised Romania's government citing as follows :-
"Political challenges to judicial decisions, the undermining of the constitutional court, the overturning of established procedures and the removal of key checks and balances have called into question the government's commitment to respect the rule of law,".
"The Commission is in particular extremely concerned by the indications of manipulations and pressure which affect institutions, members of the judiciary, and eventually have a serious impact on society as a whole."
Following on from this, the country found it difficult to defend itself from the damaging comments made by England's Mr Nigel Farage [UKIP]. An effort to duck tape its reputation, led to an invitation to visit Romania. It is interesting that various damning indictments of Romania's poor record in animal welfare is never once mentioned by Romania's leading politicians.
International animal welfare organisation, Four Paws has experienced the traits described in these reports first hand. Having won in court to suspend the execution methodology of the stray dog killing law, they found themselves in a situation where this court judgment was ignored.
They said, "Since then, the Romanian Animal Protection Authority (ASPA), which is in charge of catching and killing stray dogs, has caused outrage by publicly defying the decision, claiming to have identified "legal loopholes" which allow them to continue with the killing."
The government may well have the temerity to use taxpayers funds to appeal the judgment without electorate support. [VF Survey].
A much criticised government's irrational actions will call into question their fitness to govern. Such is the loss of confidence, more judgments against the killing law continue to be issued and a leading MEP suggested tourism to Romania should be curbed.
Earlier, the same MEP delivered a damning verdict of Romania's mismanagement of stray dogs.
The reputation of the Romanian government was to sink further into the gutter. On the 17th July 2014, the horrendous conditions of Romanian Dog Shelters was exposed by the Four Paws . The appalling conditions inside these notorious public dog shelters were caught on camera.
The disturbing report, conducted by a team of investigators between March and May 2014 contains shocking video footage of illegal activities in the majority of Romanian public dog shelters.
"The investigators visited 43 public shelters across Romania, out of 81 currently registered with the Romanian vet authorities. Up to 29 legal violations were identified, including dog corpses lying among living dogs (7% of the visited shelters), overcrowding (47%) and puppies and their mothers being kept with other dogs (42%). A mixture of food and waste, including urine and excrement, was found on the floor of the dog cages in a shocking 74% of the dog shelters visited, while residue was able to leak between cages in 63% of the shelters, according to the report.
The extent of the neglect and mistreatment revealed by the report is clearly taking its toll on the dogs housed in these shelters. Traces of blood were found in many cages, while bleeding and ill dogs were observed in several shelters and documented in video recordings. These violations mean that not only is the health of the animals and staff at risk, but also that of the local population, especially as these are public locations with visiting hours for anyone interested in visiting the shelter".
"This report reveals a systematic failure in Romanian shelters to provide stray dogs with humane housing conditions. The situation is out of control," stresses Gabriel Paun, Director of Campaigns at FOUR PAWS. "Alongside the misery we've witnessed in the public animal shelters, the illegal killing of stray dogs also continues at a pace. Although the legal framework of the killing law has been suspended, the ASPA continue to ignore the court's decision and continue capturing and killing stray dogs. We call again on the Romanian government to start cooperating with us and all relevant stakeholders to develop a humane solution and to abolish the killing law..."
In conclusion, to assess the greatness of a nation, perhaps Norica Nicolai, an MEP from the country's National Liberal Party could extend her invitation to all European leaders. This MEP writes "So take this opportunity to visit Romania" . We add "... and all its dog shelters".
Afterall, "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated".