The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) was deeply sorry to hear the tragic story of a four-year-old boy who was attacked and killed by stray dogs in Romania at the end of last month. This is a terrible tragedy that should never have happened.
However it has now thrown the spotlight on the long standing and very real problem of stray dogs in Romania. WSPA is concerned that in the speed to respond to public pressure, decisions may be being made to placate public anger, but which do not genuinely address the problem.
The Romanian government will be bringing in a new law to kill the stray dogs, just 14 days after they are seized. However this could break a number of European agreements including Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty, and others which spell out that euthanasia of dog populations is not an effective way of solving the problem.
Ruud Tombrock, WSPA Europe director said:
“We don’t believe that anyone wants tens of thousands of innocent dogs killed as a response to the tragic death of this poor little boy. A proper long-term solution urgently needs to be put in place and this requires careful thought and consideration, not a knee-jerk reaction to appease/address the understandable public pressure in Romania.”
“The mass culling of dogs lacks compassion and defies the values and respect for life we would normally expect from EU members. The European community has the task of protecting those values, and WSPA will rally all parties to act according and call for accountability of those who do not.”
In line with international guidelines, when dog population management is deemed necessary, it is essential that it is achieved as humanely as possible.
Ruud Tombrock concluded:
“WSPA is already in close dialogue with other concerned organisations on developing plans for a coordinated response to stop plans for the cull, and to engage with the Romanian authorities to discuss more humane and effective methods of addressing the problem so that neither this tragic incident nor the Government’s brutal reaction to it are ever repeated."