Several animal rights NGOs believe that Romanian authorities do not want a law for the sterilisation of stray dogs and want to keep the current situation, which is a “business” worth hundreds of millions of EUR, according to Mediafax. NGO representatives said in a press conference on Thursday that mass-killing dogs is an easy and safe way to embezzle public funds. All the available evidence leads to the conclusion that the public services dealing with stray dogs do not observe the minimum animal welfare conditions and the legal euthanasia procedures.
“It is obvious that all the funds embezzled with fake documents (quantities of food, medical products, the incineration of bodies) reach the pockets of the involved individuals and authorities,” said the vice-president of the National Federation for Animal Protection, Carmen Arsene.
According to the same source, dog catchers are first to profit from this business, by taking a protection fee for the dogs adopted by tenants and kept near residential buildings. Next come the people in charge with the dog shelters operated by municipalities, who sell to their own profit the dog food and medicines allotted to these establishments. At the end of the chain is the Protan company – the “tip of the iceberg” – whose main income source is incinerating animal bodies, which charges EUR 15-20 per dead dog. According to NGOs, 144,339 stray dogs were put to sleep in Bucharest during 2001 and 2007, at a cost of EUR 9 M. In Brasov, 20,000 dogs were killed between 2002 and 2008, at a cost of EUR 2 M. From 2008 to 2010, the municipality of Arad spent EUR 308,408 to euthanise 2,986 dogs, Slatina paid EUR 242,500 for 1,111 dogs and Constanta spent EUR 1.5 M for 20,000 dogs.
However, the only localities where the number of stray dogs drastically dropped were those that enforced mass-sterilisation schemes, such as Oradea and Lugoj.
Also on Thursday, Kuki Barbuceanu, from Vier Photen Romania, blamed the cases of people bitten or killed by street dogs on authorities, which have a huge interest in preserving the current situation. “They once again take the law off the drawer now, in a pre-electoral year, and those who suffer are dogs, but also citizens. The only solution is to deprive the dogs of their reproduction capacity through sterilisation, vaccinate them against rabies, and return those dogs that are accepted by the community,” Barbuceanu said.