The Romanian Parliament voted to pass a law that would make it legal to kill thousands of stray dogs in Romania. The bill was passed by a vote of 168-111, but it is yet to be signed by President Traian Basescu.
An estimated 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets of Bucharest alone. The current animal protection law prohibits the killing of healthy dogs, yet stray dogs are killed on a daily basis in Romania. If this bill is passed, tens of thousands of stray dogs, including harmless and healthy ones, may be legally slaughtered.
This proposal has not been backed by any scientific data or research. For nearly a decade, previous attempts to control the stray population in Romania have failed. To believe that extermination would resolve the problem is to oversimplify the problem. In fact, extermination is ultimately counter-productive, as it leads to the vacuum effect where areas that have been cleared of strays are repopulated by dogs from outside the region. The only way to prevent this from happening would be to remove all food sources (an impossible task). Euthanasia is only a temporary fix and even if a manageable stray population is reached, without adopting new solutions it would require repetitive culls to maintain the population level, which is unacceptable. This form of mass slaughter is also in violation of the EU animal welfare laws.
The government must rely on a humane, long-term approach that uses a combination of tactics, including the implementation of spay/neuter schemes. The trap-neuter-return scheme is a workable and humane solution that has proven to be effective in controlling stray populations. Mass neutering/sterilization schemes are already operating in other countries that have faced similar problems and have proven to be completely effective in reducing the stray population. Spay/neuter schemes are also recommended by WHO for dog population management. Furthermore, laws mandating the sterilization of all pets and increased public awareness of responsible pet guardianship would aid by preventing unwanted births.
I urge you not to legalize the killing of stray dogs and to instead increase funds for sterilization schemes!