Denis Foynes – Romanians want drastic action after a four-year-old boy was mauled to death in Bucharest by a stray dog.
The grandmother of the boy relayed the reaction of many when she cried, “I hope for a change for the better — I don’t want to see dogs on the street anymore.”
After public outcry, Romanian President, Traian Basescu, has declared that “dogs should not be put above humans.” He has called for emergency legislation to deal with the city’s stray dog problem. The plan is to launch a massive cull to take care of the problem once and for all.
There are an estimated 65,000 feral dogs in Bucharest alone and over the past five years, two other people, including a Japanese tourist, have been killed by stray dogs.
The problem began in the 1980’s. An attempt to industrialize the country forced the population to evacuate the country-side and move into cities. Vast blocks of apartments were constructed to accommodate the arrivals. Hence, domestic animals were abandoned due to lack of space. They reproduced and filled the streets.
However, an animal rights organization called 4Pfoten (“Four Paws”) is endorsing that dogs should be sterilized, not simply killed. Gabriel Paun, the head of 4Pfoten explained “In the last few years we’ve castrated 100,000 dogs in Romania altogether, 10,600 of them in Bucharest,” he said. “But it’s not enough, this is a voluntary private project –we need them [the government] to do the same thing at national level.”