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Bucharest
September 25, 2021
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Protest against stray dogs: “I am no dog food”

The local referendum on killing stray dogs will take place on October 6.
The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies announced that he will ask today the commissions to debate the stray dogs’ law. PDL to leave the Capital Council.

The issue of stray dogs continues to spark emotions and tough reactions after the death a four-year-old boy bitten to death last week by an aggressive stray dog. Some 300 people took part yesterday in Izvor Park in a protest against the stray dogs, asking the local authorities to take them out of the streets for the sake of the citizens’ safety.
Protesters, from all walks of life, were holding banners reading: “A.S.P.A (Agency for Supervision and Protection of Animals) take responsibility!”, “I am no dog food!”, “My street is not a dog house” and “We want Ionut Law!”. Some participants also brought pictures of the Bucharest Mayor Sorin Oprescu and other district mayors marked: ”Take Responsibility!” and banners with the picture of the deceased boy Ionut Anghel, the four-year old killed by dogs, with the message : “WHY?”.
The protesters asked the local elect to take immediate measures in order to render the city safe for its inhabitants, asking for a city ‘free of strays”.  They also shouted “No referendum!”, as they oppose the referendum called last week by mayor Oprescu.
Saturday, several dozen people protested against the killing of the stray dogs, saying this is not a solution. The animal lovers gathered in front of Bucharest National Theatre and opined that the best solution is neutering the dogs.
On the other hand, the Bucharest councilors on Friday voted for organizing a local referendum on managing the Capital’s stray dogs as proposed by Mayor Sorin Oprescu, with the poll to be held on October 6.
Some 900,000 Bucharesters has to vote in the referendum in order to be validated. According to an opinion poll, conducted last Thursday by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy, almost three quarters of Bucharesters would vote for the humanely killing the stray dogs and some 54 percent think this is the only solution to the problemme. According to Razvan Bancescu, project manager at the A.S.P.A if the outcome of the referendum is the killing the dogs, then all the stray dogs from Bucharest would be taken out of the streets in 12 to 18 months.
Opinions are divided regarding the referendum. Whilst some protesters said they are against a referendum, some politicians already hurried to say that they would vote for the killing of the dogs. Minister delegate for Dialogue, Dina Pana, a Bistrita Deputy that despite the fact that she loves animals she would vote Yes to the humanely killing because she is ‘a mom’ and that she won’t be able to sleep thinking that another child could end up eaten by dogs, The Minister also said that the authorities that the local elect are not entirely responsible for the fashion in which the stray dog situation is being handled. In herb view, the poor legislation is to blame as well, as it is confusing.
Deputy Remus Cernea said that an efficient measure would be neutering all dogs without owner and their return from the areas where they have been picked first. He added that it is crucial for this measure to be enforced nationwide, otherwise the problemme would only be solved in a matter of years. Cernea also proposed that authorities to force the public radio and TV stations to allot each month two hours of air time for dog adoptions campaigns and the private press to be also forced to allot an hour a month for this topic. The Deputy estimated that through this adoption campaign some 10-15 percent of the stray dogs might find a forever home.
According to Evenimentul Zilei Saturday edition, so far, the thousands of victims bitten by stray dogs did not notify the authorities. According to a statistic quoted by the newspaper, shows that in 2007 alone some 10,500 cases of dog attacks have been registered and after 2008 when the humane killing of dogs stopped the number of victims increased. Thus, in 2012, there were 16,192 registered cases of stray dog attacks.
Oprescu, slammed by PDL
The Democrat Liberal leader Vasile Blaga claims that it is ‘absolutely necessary’ that the Sorin Oprescu to step down because in the last five years of his Mayorship he didn’t take care of the problemme of stray dogs. Blaga said Saturday, in a press conference, that there is no need for a referendum on October 6, but for a popular consultation regarding the continuation of the mandate of Oprescu at the City Hall.
On the other hand, the vice-president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Nicolae Banicioiu also Minister of Sports, told in a communiqué that a solution should be found as soon as possible in order to remove the danger of strays from the streets. He pointed out that “the Social Liberal Union (USL) and PSD has to show solidarity to Sorin Oprescu” in this matter

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