Dear President Băsescu,
EP Animal Welfare Intergroup Members regret that no reply has been given so far to our correspondence of last month which would be very helpful for clarifications.
The recently adopted law amending and supplementing the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 155/2001 on the approval of a stray dogs management program stipulates a range of conditions and standards relating to the capture, transport, housing, identification, vaccination, sterilisation, registration, adoption and euthanasia of strays.
If the decision to euthanize a dog is taken, it must be carried out by veterinary personnel and in accordance with established and accepted practices. The law also specifies that the process of euthanasia must be quick and painless. It also confirms that shelters with the capacity and resources may continue to house strays for an indefinite period of time, and the animals may be returned to their owners (if they are identified) or adopted at any time.
These requirements don’t differ very much from what is practiced in other EU Member States but there remain concerns whether the law is enforceable as such under the given conditions.
– Will the municipalities have the sufficient means to respect all requirements of the law?
– Will it be possible to apply still neutering and release campaigns?
We assume that a lot will depend on the decisions taken by the municipalities. It seems that several mayors of Romanian cities have already stated publicly that they will avoid the euthanasia of strays, if at all possible. The Mayor of Bucharest expressed his commitment to urgently increase the capacity of dog shelters and to actively encourage adoption by promoting more education and a culture of adoption. We hope that these commitments will be held and that those authorities that will apply euthanasia campaigns will be obliged to operate within the strict confines of the law.
For the correct enforcement of the law it will be unavoidable to carry out inspections and to apply deterrent penalties for all those who infringe it. We hope that this will be foreseen to avoid cruelty to the dogs as much as possible.
We hope as well that the actions taken will be part of a comprehensive and humane, long-term population strategy.
As a member of the OIE, Romania is also responsible for implementing OIE recommendations. The OIE rules foresee that the killing of stray dogs should not be the only method of controlling the population and if killing is the last option, then it has to be done in a humane way along with other measures. This is also highlighted in Commissioner Tonio Borg’s letter to the Romanian Minister for Health.
We are aware that a lot of unsubstantiated ‘evidence’ of perpetrated cruelties has been circulating during the last weeks and that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between reliable information and invented horrors.
It remains though the fact that Romania, as several other EU Member States, has massive problems with stray dog populations and that everything has to be done to promote and implement humane management measures for strays as it was expressed in the European Parliament’s written declaration 26/2011 on dog population management in the European Union.
We urge you not to push for the euthanasia option, and to encourage the Mayors to choose the best solution for their municipality which avoids animal cruelty and takes dogs off the streets.
In your role as President you can act as mediator and work towards reducing the current polarization in Romanian society which exists around the issue of dogs, especially by promoting a responsible model of dog ownership in order to encourage a long-term solution to the issue of stray dogs in Romania.
Please rest assured of our solidarity for the handling of this difficult situation.
|Dan Jørgensen MEP|
Cc: Gheorghe-Eugen Nicolăescu – Romanian Minister for Health