Barking Blondes: The Romanian tragedy
We all know that UK animal rescue centres are bursting at the seams and the charities involved are constantly appealing to the media in order to highlight their plight. However, this week, all focus moved to Romania.
In the wake of a four-year old boy who was tragically mauled to death by a pack of dogs, locals have now turned against canines. Vigilantes are cruelly killing dogs, en mass, to gain justice for the little boy.
Apparently, there’s a huge stray dog problem in Romania with over 65,000 in Bucharest alone. These animals roam the streets scavenging for food and on the whole are non confrontational. The majority are domesticated pets.
Their fate has been escalated by President Traian Băsescu who is encouraging pet-free housing in the capital, meaning many of these strays were once beloved animals. With a “no pet” policy in many new rebuilds, they are now victims of new legislation and cast out to forage for themselves on the streets.
Romania’s attitude to dogs is very different than here in the UK. There is no Animal Welfare Act to offer policy or encourage the human attitudes we enjoy here. Therefore the situation has snowballed resulting in a mass culling of these dogs. Many are being maimed or stoned to death. This is a blanket and bombastic approach. All strays are targeted, whether they are friendly, young, old, sick, healthy or aggressive and could be considered by some as genocide.
Animal rights groups in the country are fighting a losing battle as the stray dog population has for a long time been getting out of hand. The rescue centres in Romania, like our own, are also at bursting point.
The dogs that DO find themselves taken to such a sanctuary are no longer being adopted, leaving no spaces for more. Campaigners are pushing for legislation to neuter the dogs on the street to help control the population, but this involves funding, which the Romanian government will not offer.
One of the K9 Angels, an international campaigner, based in London, was a guest on our radio show this week. Pallo, herself a Romanian, is one of many attempting to rally the British public with peaceful demonstrations and awareness. The emotion in her voice almost prevented her from describing the atrocities taking place in Bucharest.
Many organisations are risking their own fate to stand up and help these dogs on the streets desperately trying to get healthy dogs neutered in haste. Some lucky mutts are being shipped around the world to find loving forever homes. According to one of our listeners they can be transported over here for approx. 50 Euros. But what then of their fate? We have our own rescue problems. And what can be done if the Romania government won’t respond?
Urgent steps need to be taken to educate the population, and the authorities need to introduce compulsory microchipping so that owners can be traced. Although, many fear it may well be too late.
‘Barking Blondes’ by Anna Webb & Jo Good, published by Hamlyn, £12.99Romania
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