The Romanian Parliament has ruled that all stray dogs will be killed if, after fourteen days, they remain unadopted. The strays' plight was discussed previously on the Huffington Post.
The Romanian Insider recently reported :-
"The Chamber of Deputies approved the law which sets a two week day deadline for stray dogs in shelters to be adopted, following which they will be put down.
City Hall, however, retains the power to delay the lethal injection.
The law passed by a majority of votes, with MPs from the Democrat Liberal Party (PDL), the Social Democrat party (PSD) and the National Liberal Party (PNL) all in favour of euthanizing stray dogs
During the debates, the president of the Chamber of Deputies Valeriu Zgonea said none of the NGOs protecting stray dogs had filed a request to attend the vote.
According to sources, animal rights supporter, Senator Marinescu Marius, will now contest the matter at Romania's Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile, although the BBC reported Romanian protests in support of the dog cull , world-wide online protests against the cruel, non evidence based killing spree have gone unmentioned.
Social networks were bombarded with thousands of messages describing peoples' distress at the Romanian government's cruel decision. In protest, thousands have changed their Facebook profile page to show the bright red dog paw "Red Card For Romania".
One campaigner wrote
"Today, the humanity of the Romanian people died. From now on the morality, conscience, education, civilization, logic and religion do not mean anything for this country. Yes, we live in it. Yes, we did everything we could to change the fate of stray animals: we have sterilized many animals, we gave hours of education in schools, we have created programs for the sterilization and microchip identification with low prices and even free for the stray dogs and dogs with owners, we noticed the police when we came across of a stray abandonment, we organized fairs adoptions trying to wake the people's consciousness up in order to adopt a stray and not to buy one, we have helped animal cases of cruelty or illness /accidents , we hardly have got the permission to spray/neuter and relocate the stray dogs from the authorities in some cities, and also we manage to adopt laws that force the owners of dogs and cats to sterilized and identify them by microchips ... Unfortunately all what we did not helped enough, that was even not considered as a way to control and stop the breeding of stray animals"
Although local and international media imply that the Romanian public supports the cull, this is untrue. The UK's National Canine Defence League [NCDL] wrote
"Research carried out by Dogs Trust last year revealed that 87% of Romanians disagree with mass euthanasia and see it as an abhorrent practice while 50% of urban Romanian citizens would be willing to donate 1 Euro towards a humane initiative to reduce the street dog problem"
The European Parliament's Intergroup on Welfare and Conservation of Animals doesn't support it either, writing in a so-far unreported document .
"Your call for a systematic mass killing of strays goes against the will of the democratically elected Romanian MEPs. This is something which we consider as profoundly undemocratic and unacceptable in the European Union.
The Members of the Animal Welfare Intergroup undersigning this letter call on you not to promote the legalisation of systematic mass euthanasia of stray dogs. This will cause a horrible and useless massacre of dogs which goes against the values and objectives of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union"
The World Society for the Protection of Animals said in a statement:
"Todays adopted Romanian law for Euthanasia after 14 days, as the main tool to manage the stray dog population breaks a number of conventions including:
• Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty
• The European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals
• The Written Declaration 26/2011 by the European Parliament on dog population management in the EU - which clearly states that euthanasia, is not effective way of solving the problem"
Ruud Tombrock, WSPA Europe director said:
"The massive culling of dogs lacks compassion and defies values and respect for life we would normally expect from EU members. The European community has the task of protecting those values, and WSPA will rally all parties to act according and call for accountability of those who do not."
Clearly, Romanian politicians have discarded recommendations and a rational decision making process, acting instead on media-driven hysteria, without reference to the evidence in this matter. This reckless, haphazard method will now cost the lives of 64,000 stray dogs in Bucharest alone. Today, the decision affects voiceless, defenceless dogs. Tomorrow, perhaps the same approach will apply to vulnerable people - one aberrant event may be all it takes!
Now, campaigners world-wide - and particularly those on the ground in Bucharest - must steel themselves to face the needless killing of vulnerable dogs. Working tirelessly to find each dog their forever home, they feel powerless to save them from the impending massacre.
One campaigner showed me a picture of a lovely collie. The poster said "This is Flash, he was going to be adopted, what happened to the 14 day rule? Today, he was murdered by the country that breaks its own rules". K. Lunstrum wrote "Flash was going to travel to his new home in October, before he could be taken to a safe place he was found killed today" .
Bucharest is fast becoming a haunting reminder of Auschwitz, a death camp for dogs. Higher authorities in the European Union, bound in red tape, appear unable to prevent this massacre while we watch and wait powerlessly for it to begin - as each playful bark disappears, we ask ourselves, when did we elect politicians to kill the vulnerable?
Follow Rita Pal on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dr_rita39