Tuesday was a busy day for the Parliament, as the law allowing stray dogs who have not been adopted or reclaimed within 14 days after being taken into shelters to be euthanized passed the final Chamber of Deputies vote with a decision forum. The law will then be sent to President Traian Basescu to be promulgated. The bill was adopted with 266 votes in favor, 23 votes against and 20 abstentions. Representatives of NGOs that are against euthanizing stray dogs witnessed the final vote in the Chamber plenum from their balconies. Immediately after the results of the vote were announced, they accused the MPs of being “murderers”.
After the vote, PDL member Ioan Oltean stated he hopes “the saying ‘people don’t die when dogs want them to’ becomes a fact from now on”. He pointed out that if this law had been passed in 2011, when it was proposed by PDL, the tragedy of children being killed by dogs could have been avoided.
On the other hand, PPDD leader Daniel Fenechiu said party members abstained or voted against the bill because they disagreed with “mass extermination” measures that are not meant “to improve Romania’s image”. “It is regrettable that we have come to have to vote on a law for the mass extermination of animals, only to cover up the mayor and deputy mayors’ incompetence”, Fenechiu maintained, as cited by Mediafax. MP Marius Marinescu announced he would challenge the law on stray dog euthanasia at the Constitutional Court (CC). MP Remus Cernea also voted against the bill, claiming the vote was “a consequence of fleeting emotions”. He said “mass extermination” was the wrong solution and, according to studies conducted in the field, euthanasia is the most expensive and inefficient method. Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Valeriu Zgonea congratulated the Deputies for adopting the bill in commissions and in the plenum so quickly and emphasized that former parliamentary majorities did not manage this for many years.
Prior to the vote, the Chamber of Deputies plenum adopted the amendment on the stray dogs’ law by which a 14-day deadline was set for dogs to be kept in shelters, after which they would be euthanized if they are not reclaimed or adopted; the amendment left open the possibility of prefects postponing the euthanasia. The amendment was adopted with a majority of votes, after PDL, PSD and PNL representatives expressed their support for the version of the law approved by the commission. PPDD (Dan Diaconescu People’s Party) representatives did not take part in the vote.
Animal lovers’ protest before the Parliament
While MPs participated in the final vote on the law allowing stray dogs to be euthanized, over 200 persons who were against this bill draft protested at the Izvor Park entrance to Palatul Parlamentului. Demonstrators chanted slogans against the Parliament and the USL governance: “Murdering Parliament”, “We hope it happens to you, what the stray dogs went through”, “Right to live”, “Euthanasia removed from Romania”, “USL, remember this is your murder”. People marched with banners displaying messages such as “Say no to murder”, “Animal cruelty leads to human cruelty”, “Stop the massacre”, “From mineriads to dogcatchers’’ crusades”, “We want solutions, not slaughter”, “No to euthanasia, yes to sterilization”. Protesters also displayed messages by which they asked measures to be taken for placing dogs in shelter, in addition to sterilizing stray dogs. One of the protesters referred to the incident that occurred a week ago, when a four-year-old boy lost his life after being attacked by stray dogs, and displayed the following messages: “Justice for Ionut”, “Where is child’s services?”, “Stray dogs protect their cubs, but nana did not protect Ionut, what is child’s services up to?”.
Chairman of “Cutu, cutu” Association Marcela Pisla argues that, before claiming “sterilization is no good” because “it has been implemented since 2004 and still has not been effective”, it must be mentioned that “sterilization as a method has never been put into practice in Romania”. “The word ‘sterilization’ is not mentioned in any of our laws, it has never been applied on a national level”, Pisla stated. She added that dog cubs abandoned from districts such as Voluntari and Stefanesti are dumped in Bucharest: “If it’s not cubs, it’s grown dogs who have been abandoned and come to Bucharest’s dump sites”.
New related cases in Bucharest
Meanwhile, dogs continue to do harm. An elderly woman was bitten yesterday by dogs in the capital’s Fourth District, realitatea.net notes. According to the cited source, the woman was hospitalized after the attack. In a telephone interview for Realitatea TV, Fourth District mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone said the woman was bitten by an owned dog. “The elderly woman was hospitalized with two superficial wounds”, Piedone added. According to rtv.net, two other persons were hospitalized yesterday after being bitten by stray dogs.
Hearings continue at General Prosecutor’s Office
Prior to yesterday’s hearing at the Prosecutor’s Office at the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the project coordinator at ASPA (the Animal Supervision and Protection Authority), the number of on-the-field dogcatchers was increased to eleven teams. We remind our readers that prosecutors are still investigating the circumstances of the four-year-old boy’s death that was attacked by a pack of stray dogs near a park in the capital.
According to Bancescu, approximately 30 to 35 dogs were picked up Monday, some of which has been loitering around kindergartens and other institutions. He also said over 200 complaints have been registered every day since 2 September regarding packs of dogs walking the streets, compared to 70 or 80 in the previous period. Asked by journalists what the number of dog adoptions is, Bancescu answered it was approximately 1,400, when in actuality it is 200. “Approximately seven per cent of adoptions are real”, Bancescu added.
Asked how many fines were applied to people for adopting and abandoning dogs, Razvan Bancescu replied that when ASPA is notified of such instances, it notifies ANSVSA and the Ministry of Internal Affairs in turn, through the Bucharest Police Department. Bancescu pointed out that all picked-up dogs are put into shelters and some of them will be euthanized when the law comes in effect. Asked if there is enough money for dog euthanasia, Bancescu said an adjustment is needed to move funds from one place to another.