Bucharest Stray Dog Crackdown Yields Results

The local authorities took a total of 6,756 stray dogs off the streets of Bucharest between September 2013 and January 2014, following the adoption of a new law aimed at solving the problem which has plagued Romania for years.

So far 4,900 of the strays have been adopted and another 187 put down, according to Razvan Bancescu, programme coordinator at the Authority for Animal Surveillance and Protection.

In September, Romania adopted a controversial law setting a two-week deadline for stray dogs in shelters to be adopted, after which they will be put down.

Around 1,000 more dogs could be put down in the coming days, according to media reports, as they have been in shelters for more than 100 days. Previously only sick dogs were killed.

In related development, the number of people bitten by stray dogs decreased significantly to 250 in January, compared to 810 in the same month in 2013.

“We will continue our work to clean the streets of Bucharest and soon hope to get to the number of 3,000 dogs captured every month,” Bancescu said.

Romanians are divided over the main options to solve the problem of stays: death or sterilisation. While most people now back radical measures, including putting down street dogs, animal rights groups advocate neutering and spaying.

Efforts in recent years to sterilise dogs and return them to the streets have proven inefficient, however.

More than 6,500 stray dogs were sterilised in Bucharest in 2012, at a cost of some 200,000 euro.

But the overall numbersof strays appeared not to fall, with a count last year showing around 65,000 still roaming the streets of Bucharest. Meanwhile, dog pounds are overcrowded and funds are lacking to build and run more shelters.

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