During Europe-wide protests, one individual held up the banner "Hell is Empty and All the devils are in Romania". Seen as a license to kill, news of draconian dog catchers and canine deaths via "Romanian Style" euthanasia filled the social networks and local media. The cries of the population have gone unheard, the potential psychological scarring ignored.
"We will take care of them like if they were our children", said the Romanian President during his time as Mayor. With allegations of dogs being poisoned, drowned, hanged, shot, neglected, starved, plied with anti-freeze, their fragile lives ended behind closed doors where their cries cannot be heard, we ask ourselves who killed humanity?
In Romania, we will witness a massacre of dogs which will last for years to come . In a town called Ploiesti , 56 km north of Bucharest, such a massacre is taking place. Here, the cries of the canines have been silenced.
Serious complaints have been made by the public. They are never addressed, there is a failure to respond, much less correct the problems complained of. The law appears to be side-stepped or ignored. Already poor conditions get worse while the fat cats turn a blind eye. The town's convenient façade hides a dark secret.
Ploiesti is notorious for its treatment of stray dogs. Romanian Stray Dogs Ploiesti (RSDP) run by the Alex Ionescu details the problems there. He describes communism and forced emigration as the reason for the stray dog population.
There is no census of stray dogs, although the population is estimated at
3-4,000, to 7-8,000, with owned dogs allowed who roam the streets too. The dog population is divided with approximately 600 animals living in poor conditions at the much complained about Bucov shelter and thousands of strays living on the streets.
The inhumane conditions at Bucov shelter exemplify the abject failure to address problems. There are no inspection reports, no records of numbers of dogs dead and therefore no accountability or independent investigations. It is a place that the world forgot.
"Furthermore, despite dog killing being officially illegal, countless animals have simply vanished in the Bucov pound throughout the years." [ also refer to iReport CNN ]
The website continues
"According to the shelter administration itself, half of the dogs brought there do not survive their first year in the shelter".
The most detailed and best summary can be read here. Written in 2011, this much neglected complaint is the most succinct description of the haunting, cruel reality suffered by thousands of dogs. The allegations of the disgraceful, inhumane and cruel conditions for the dogs are probably one of the worst in terms of animal cruelty. The complaint was never addressed.
More recently, sources in the town allege that the dog catchers are not discriminating between owned dogs and those which are strays. One said "A very trusted contact of mine has just confirmed that around 100 public shelter dogs were killed today! They have also taken her 5 strays we were trying to save!! Around 200 dogs were caught by the dog catchers are in the last 4 days!"
One of many petitions set up said :-
"It has come to our attention that "squads" of dog catchers operate at night in many neighbourhoods in Ploiesti, picking up dogs and possibly placing POISON"
"Last night they killed many dogs to make space for new ones bring from street. They take even a woman dog from his arms! I had before two dogs there, one I saved they let me take but second one disappear and I think end in lions cage"
Earlier in the week, local media reported an outrageous situation [hotly disputed by the administration] where the dog shelter was overcrowded but adoptions and claims were suspended. It was no surprise when the later headlines screamed:-
Ploiesti had a shock when they came out of the house today: "There are bodies everywhere" .
With 14 strays found poisoned and a police investigation,the website stated "This is not the first time animals are killed by Orava, in Ploiesti. In June, animal protection organizations here have accused town hall officials extermination after about 400 dogs and cats by animal lovers calculations, died poisoned."
Alex Ionescu wrote
"This morning more phone calls of poisoned dogs... One lady found these poisoned dogs (including one still alive and suffering) at 11.30 pm last night... They only announced this morning. That poor dog suffered all night... We took him to the vet"
Local TV reported on protests against the administration, the mysterious deaths of the dogs and the grim reality of starving dogs having no alternative but to eat one another.
A few brave protesters willing to challenge the ever oppressive administration held their banners up and tried to tell the world about the catastrophic events that plagued their town.
Sadly in yet another nail in the coffin of accountability, the European Commission's Representation in Romania told me
"Concerning REGULATION 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing, it is to be noted that this regulation deals specifically with the killing of animals in slaughterhouses as well as those kept for farming purposes. Animals killed under other circumstances (hunting, bullfighting, stray dogs or cats in shelters, animals in the wild, etc.) are not part of the scope of this regulation."
Numerous deaths continue at Bucov Shelter, unmonitored, unscrutinised and unaccountable locally, nationally and at the European Commission. It is a town facing the horrors of unwritten, unmonitored policy, crying in the wilderness.