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Petitioning European Commission and 6 others

The vice-mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea: drop your plan to kill all homeless dogs after 7 days - it's unlawful!

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Supporters

This petition has been started by Occupy for Animals on 30th of August, 2013, after they had received a "cry for help" from local animal rescuers and organizations because Emilian Frâncu, the mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea, intends to kill all dogs at the public shelter after 7 days if not adopted!

http://www.occupyforanimals.org/the-mayor-of-valcea-considers-killing-all-stray-dogs-after-7-days-if-not-adopted.htmlTo the tourist eye, Râmnicu Vâlcea is a quiet, leafy city. Located at the bottom of the Carpathian mountain range, in central Romania, no one would guess this town’s secret(s), buried in its working-class neighborhood, Ostroveni.


There are two facets in the image of this quiet, leafy city, that Râmnicu Vâlcea would love to hide from you - you, the tourist or potential tourist:

the +/- 2,500 homeless dogs living on the streets, and the hackers!

You have to leave the boulevard that stretches across the city to end up in narrow streets surrounded by housing projects from the communist era, to start noticing that something’s amiss in this city of about 100,000 citizens.

Parked around those poorly constructed buildings erected during the Cold War dictatorship, there are expensive cars. Behind the wheel, youths between 20 and 30-years-old are proud of showing off a wealth that deeply contrasts with its surroundings.

Welcome to the hackers’ lair!

Râmnicu Vâlcea and its Ostroveni neighborhood, is nicknamed “Hackerville”. It is the world capital for online theft. Internet shoppers from all over the world have been had by the Romanian hacking network: French, British, Germans, Italians and mostly Americans. According to the Romanian police, around 80% of their victims reside in the U.S. "Last year, one billion dollars was stolen in the U.S. by Romanian hackers," says American ambassador in Bucharest, Mark Gitenstein.

Ramnicu Valcea is the nerve center of cyber-criminality and its reach extends to several continents. The phenomenon started in 1996 and had a snowball effect on the town. However, Romania waited until 2003 – pressed by the U.S. – to pass a bill against cyber crimes. 

And then there are the stray dogs that you are not supposed to see...

And therefore - in year, in year out - and especially before the beginning of the tourist season, and like in almost all Romanian tourist towns, the unwanted, abandoned dogs are being rounded up the municipal dog catchers and thrown in their public shelters.

But homeless dogs, so called 'stray dogs', do not only disturb tourists, but also wealthy people...

There are at the moment between 250 and 300 dogs living in the public shelter Caini Valcea alone. There, out of the public eye, the animals are left to starve... And they would most certainly starve to death if there weren't all the dedicated animal rights activists and rescuers who feed them three times a week, at their own costs, while the money which is being paid by the municipality to feed the dogs "disappears" in unknown channels. The dogs are starving but the mayor doesn't allow the volunteers to feed them more than 3 times a week... go figure why!

This fate is not unique to the stray dogs of Râmnicu Vâlcea; in fact it is the common fate of almost all Romanian stray dogs who have the misfortune to enter such a public shelter, or publicly financed animal shelter, of which most are nothing less than illegal extermination camps run by untrained, poorly educated, underpaid and cruel shelter workers.

We know that, since the Romanian Constitutional Court declared euthanasia in the absence of clear medical criteria as unconstitutional on 11th of January, 2012, many public shelters, or public financed shelters run by dog-catching companies, simply let the animals die of thirst and/or hunger, or of the consequences of diseases and injuries (often inflicted during the catching) left without veterinary care. It is considered "to die of natural causes"...

Since the euthanasia of healthy animals is unlawful in Romania (according to Romanian Animal Protection Law 9/2008), many Romanian town halls find other "solutions" to get rid of the unwanted animals.

Before going into the matter, we need to classify 'euthanasia Romanian style' for our dear readers. 'Euthanasia Romanian style' has often nothing in common with the merciful and painless ending of an animal's life as practiced in western societies.

In the past, "euthanasia" in fact meant: poisoning, strangulation, being burnt alive, beaten to death or injected with magnesium sulphate, water, vinegar, paint thinner and other chemical substance...

Today, "euthanasia" means starving to death, freezing to death, or being left to die of the consequences of diseases, of injuries inflicted during the catching, or of unprofessional sterilizations left without veterinary care.

While some animal welfare legislation exists on paper there is no effect in the real life. Despite improvements of animal protection legislation, and the euthanasia being prohibited, in fact the stray dog management means the same illegal methods to catch and kill dogs, and the same public camps where the dogs are killed by starving to death...

The next video (graphic) will give you an idea about "euthanasia Romanian style"... In this video the Romanian president Basescu, at that time mayor of Bucharest, said about the stray dogs: "We will take care of them like if they were our children."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljD3SRq-6aE

On the municipality's diverse attempts to get rid of the strays:

In 2010, and again in April 2013, the Râmnicu Vâlcea Town hall had the idea to bring the 'rabies argument' in... they said, they had "found" a dead fox, infected with rabies, and following this they wanted to kill all stray dogs in the town. But their claims were false, their plan didn't work out and the dogs could not be killed.

In December 2012, the shelter vet has killed about 50 dogs directly and countless other dogs indirectly because they had intentionally not been treated or given any medical attention and thus the dogs became ill and died of the consequences of their illness, or their injuries left without medical care. In January 2013, the torturers were intercepted by animal rights activists when they tried to illegally dispose of the quietly and secretly killed dogs from the public shelter.

Although the mayor Emilian Francu promised that he will never hurt dogs, even since the time when he was running for mayor, it seems as if the political power erased his memory! 

During a meeting in May 2013, the mayor said that he was forced by legislation to apply the EUTHANASIA according to GEO 155/2001 (to euthanize all animals after 7 days), notwithstanding the existence of the Law 9/2008 which prohibits the euthanasia. Due to the intervention of the local animal protection association 'Caini Valcea' and public pressure, the mayor cancelled his plan.

Meanwhile the mayor, Emilian Francu, is in prison and the vice-mayor, Eduard Varlan, has taken his place...

And now, in August 2013, the vice-mayor has come up with the same plans again: to euthanize all dogs after 7 days if not adopted. 

What Eduard Varlan, the vice-mayor, does not seem to know is that, a similar decision taken by one of his politician colleagues, Mr. Bolojan the mayor of Oradea, failed the test of legality in court! The National Federation for Animal Protection (FNPA) brought this case to court requesting that the resolution in question adopted by the Local Council be dismissed at once, and THEY WON! Therefore, the Court judicial decision obtained at Oradea becomes extremely important for the entire country as a precedent for recognition in Court, the inapplicability, implied repeal of the articles of Governmental Ordinance 155/2001 that provide euthanasia.


Another, very important thing, that the vice-mayor seems not to be in the knowing, or that he chooses to ignore, is that Catch-Neuter-Return is the only proven humane and effective method to reduce stray animal populations. Statistical studies indicate that in order to fully control a stray population, you need to achieve a 70 percent sterilization rate of the animals within a particular community. Once you reach the 70 percent threshold, the probability that an unsterilized female comes into contact with an unsterilized male is sufficiently small, and the population stops growing.

Killing stray animals, however, does not stop the problem and only offers a temporary “solution”. The World Health Organization’s “Guidelines for Dog Population Management” (Geneva 1990) and various other academic studies show that killing dogs is ineffective. Despite mass extermination campaigns by misguided municipalities the street dog population grows, and the best examples of both good and bad stray animal population control policies come from their own country:

In 2001 the then-mayor of Bucharest launched a campaign that led to the extermination of about 144,000 stray dogs in the capital alone, spending almost 9,000,000 Euros (62 Euros per dog) during the period from 2001-2007. Between 2008-2010, 20,000 dogs have been killed in Constanta spending 1,500,000 Euros (75 Euros per dog). Both the city of Bucharest and Constanta are again littered with live and dead dogs.

The only town in Romania that used catch/neuter/release programs was Oradea, and the results are showing: in 6 years the population of strays decreased 8 times.

On 31st of May 2013, the local animal protection association 'Caini Valcea' wrote:

"The efficiency of sterilization of dogs that are supposed to be killed is NULL and any nonprofit organization in the country or abroad does not want to engage in such a futile project, with results shown to be doomed to failure.

Although currently local government spends more than 300,000 lei/luna (= approx. 70.000 euro per month!!!) (http://puicaniulian.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/cifre-care-te-lasa-mut/) and the result is only increase the number of stray dogs, is still denied any collaboration for proper adoption of effective measures. It is obvious that "someone" has a strong interest in keeping as many dogs on the streets, and constant increase of funds allocated. "Euthanasia" is practiced for years without success! Mayor compels another four years of genocide in Ramnicu Valcea! From a period to another, changing only ones who lie, dogs are still on the streets, and money spent are becoming more and more.

Thousands of dogs killed since the shelter was founded in 2009, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on paper, the results are still waited ... Mayor Francu does not bring anything new, but it seems that simply wants to continue failed "solutions" of his predecessors! As they did and former mayor, probably dl. Francu want to find out, by putting public debate of this project, the percentage who oppose euthanasia Valcea! The PEOPLE VOTED you Mr. Mayor Francu, with the HOPE that you will apply what you PROMISED: for mass sterilization to reduce street dogs, not euthanasia!"


By signing our petition, the message that you can read below will be instantly sent to:

Emilian Frâncu, the mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea

and copies will go to:

The Council of Europe
The European Commission
The Romanian Constitutional Court
Mr Andrea Zanoni, the vice-president of the European Parliament's Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals
Mrs Erminia Mazzoni, Chair of the Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament

Thank you, in advance, for your signature and your precious support!

And please: consider sharing this petition with your friends and contacts to increase its impact. Because: none of us is as strong as we all together!


 

Letter to
European Commission
Mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea Mr Eduard Varlan
Vice-President at the European Parliament's Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals Mr Andrea Zanoni
and 4 others
Chair of the Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament Mrs Erminia Mazzoni
Council of Europe President of the Council of Europe
Romanian Constitutional Court President
European Commission Mr José Manuel Barroso (European Commission)
SUBJECT: drop your plan to kill all homeless dogs after 7 days - it's unlawful!

Mr Vice-Mayor,

we are writing to you today because we have been informed that you intend to kill all homeless dogs at the public shelter after 7 days if not adopted. This is already the second time this year that you have come up with this unlawful idea!

http://www.occupyforanimals.org/the-mayor-of-valcea-considers-killing-all-stray-dogs-after-7-days-if-not-adopted.html

You seem to have forgotten, or to not being in the knowing that your country's Animal Protection Law 9/2008 prohibits the euthanasia of healthy animals. Not only is it unlawful, but let us tell you also, that a similar decision taken by one of your politician colleagues, Mr. Bolojan the mayor of Oradea, failed the test of legality in court! The National Federation for Animal Protection (FNPA) brought this case to court requesting that the resolution in question adopted by the Local Council be dismissed at once, and THEY WON! Therefore, the Court judicial decision obtained at Oradea becomes extremely important for the entire country as a precedent for recognition in Court, the inapplicability, implied repeal of the articles of Governmental Ordinance 155/2001 that provide euthanasia.

It seems also as if you had forgotten that you had promised your citizens - the people who voted you in - to solve the stray animals issue in your town in a civilized, humane manner and that you would implement mass sterilization campaigns to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals on your streets.

We understand that the next mayoral elections are "around the corner" and that the sheer fact that during your mayoral period, the stray animals population in your town has not decreased, but increased, and this despite the fact that your municipality spends more than 300,000 lei (+/- 70,000 euros) per month for the (supposed) management of the stray animals, puts you under some kind of stress.

According to your local animal protection associations "any collaboration for proper adoption of effective measures is being denied, and it is obvious, that "someone" has a strong interest in keeping as many dogs on the streets as possible, resulting in a constant increase of the allocated funds."

And this, dear Mr Vice-Mayor, is precisely where the problem lays!

We believe that you are desperate to solve the stray animals issue in your town and therefor we urge you to change your policy! We plead with you, Mr Vice-Mayor, to solve the stray animals issue in your town in a civilized and humane way, and to implement a successful Catch-Neuter-and-Return-program as soon as possible!

Catch-Neuter-Return is the only proven humane and effective method to reduce stray animal populations. Statistical studies indicate that in order to fully control a stray population, you need to achieve a 70 percent sterilization rate of the animals within a particular community. Once you reach the 70 percent threshold, the probability that an unsterilized female comes into contact with an unsterilized male is sufficiently small, and the population stops growing.

The International Companion Animal Management Coalition (ICAM) has published a guidance on the humane management of dog populations, which will guide and help you to implement an effective and sustainable approach that is proven to be effective. This document can be downloaded at the following link:

http://www.animalmosaic.org/Images/Humane_Dog_Population_Management_Guidance_English_tcm46-32307.pdf

Killing stray animals, however, does not stop the problem and only offers a temporary “solution”. The World Health Organization’s “Guidelines for Dog Population Management” (Geneva 1990) and various other academic studies show that killing dogs is ineffective. Despite mass extermination campaigns by misguided municipalities the street dog population grows, and the best examples of both good and bad stray animal population control policies come from your own country:

In 2001 the then-mayor of Bucharest launched a campaign that led to the extermination of about 144,000 stray dogs in the capital alone, spending almost 9,000,000 Euros (62 Euros per dog) during the period from 2001-2007. Between 2008-2010, 20,000 dogs have been killed in Constanta spending 1,500,000 Euros (75 Euros per dog). As you know, both the city of Bucharest and Constanta are again littered with live and dead dogs.

The only town in Romania that used catch/neuter/release programs was Oradea, and the results are showing: in 6 years the population of strays decreased 8 times.

Another problem that we see in the handling of your stray animals issue, is that you keep the dogs in your public shelters after they had been caught and sterilized.

You must understand that an important component of C-N-R (catch-neuter-return), which is the only humane and proven method to successfully curb stray animals populations, is the return of the dogs to their territory where they have been caught, and this has its reasons:

if the dogs are not returned back to their territory, the reproduction rate will rise directly with the catching rate (in an area where 50% of the dogs are caught and removed from the territory the rest of the 50% will breed in larger numbers due to the fact that they will use the whole food resources available)

the empty place after the dogs have been removed, will be occupied by other ones in search of food and shelter

but if the dog is being returned to his/her territory, he/she will fight off and keep away newer dogs from entering his/her area, including those that are probably not sterilized and thus stop the reproduction in this area. Their number will stabilize in this manner, and reduce, slowly, but surely

as said before: "catch & kill" or "catch & incarcerate" policies have failed in all other Romanian cities before. The only cities that have successfully managed and curbed their stray animals population where those that opted for "catch & return", such a Oradea that had a stray animals population of 4,000 dogs in 2006 which has been reduced to 270 dogs in 2011 without putting to death a single animal. Same us Lugoj, where the stray animals population decreased from 2,500 dogs in 2008, to 235 dogs in 2011

"Neuter & Return" is not only the only humane and proven method to successfully curb and control stray animals populations, it has also a few other advantages that we would like to elaborate below:

While animal lovers and NGOs boycott "catch & kill" or "catch & incarcerate & starve to death" policies and so complicate the dog catchers' work - for good reasons - they welcome "neuter & return" policies and they even gladly collaborate at the catching of the dogs with the purpose of sterilization which implies a reduction of costs and an increase of the speed of the sterilization process. Technically and logistically speaking, it is impossible for the dog catching services to capture all the stray dogs without the help of the population and the animal protection organizations anyways.

The costs are significantly smaller since the animals will not be housed in public shelters at huge costs, but returned to their territory once they have been vaccinated and sterilized, where people often care for them; some dogs being even semi-owned.

In summation: Solve your stray animals issue in the humane, civilized and proven manner (catch/neuter/release) and you will see that the stray animals population will stop growing, which will bring you sympathy (and votes) from both animal loving people and from those who don't love them and who want to see them disappear. Make the humane choice and everybody wins.

We thank you for having taken the time to read our letter and we will continue to follow the evolution of the stray animals issue in your city with great interest.