Barking Blondes: The Romanian tragedy

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

photo 225x300 Barking Blondes: The Romanian tragedyWe 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, £12.99

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  • DrMartinAndrews

    One can judge a society very well by the way it treats the weakest and most vulnerable individuals which live in it – which, in most cases, means non-human animals.

    If just a tiny amount of the billions of pounds frittered away by the UK government on pointless ‘defence’ were used to provide real help and support for these poor animals the UK could once again become a beacon for the rest of the world.

  • Hill244

    If animals could imagine the Devil it would look a lot like a human being (Chesterton).

  • susan roberts

    PLEASE COME: Mass Protest – Saturday 21st September – 12 noon – Kensington High Street, London (nearest point to the Romanian Embassy is). Wear Red.

  • madgooner1

    I agree with Dr.Martin. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if William Hague shared some of his concern for this predicament.

  • jamie

    You’re wrong on a couple of things. Firstly, these dogs are NOT freshly turned out onto the streets, but are a result of Nicolae Ceausescu’s forced rehousing of hundreds of thousands of people into smaller apartments, which meant no space for their pets.

    Secondly, Băsescu actually adopted three of these strays himself, and has called on anybody who has the space to do the same.

    Thirdly, they are more than just a sad-eyed bunch of playful pups and are actually very aggressive towards people, (including my girlfriend, who was bitten as she carried her 2-year-old girl in the street) and household pets ((my girlfriend’s dog was eaten by a pack of strays). If you have never visited Bucharest and experienced the fear of being followed down a street by a pack of hungry dogs, it’s best not to comment on the matter.

  • harleymc

    “These animals roam the streets scavenging for food and on the whole are non confrontational. The majority are domesticated pets.”

    Says it all really this column consistantly argues for dogs being allowed to roam off lead and unsupervised, but there is no complaint against Romanians are being mauled to death.

    Nasty little pro genocide article.

  • ishmael2009

    What part of savaging young children is “innocent” exactly?

  • ishmael2009

    These are not cute little puppies wagging their tails at people, these are packs of hungry, feral dogs who often attack passers-by, particularly smaller ones like children.

    The fact that these two barking blondes have their ethics so hopelessly twisted that the death of young children is secondary to heart-string tugging for widdle puppy dogs is sickening and unacceptable.

  • Giles Toman

    These dogs sound a menace, what’s wrong with getting rid of them?

  • theUKnaturalvet

    I don’t have an answer to the problem, and I certainly don’t know the full facts but I am sure that transporting strays out of Romania is NOT the answer – it simply means strays in the country they are taken to will not find homes – displacing a problem doesn’t solve it. I’m equally sure that a programme of neutering will make very little difference, neutering programmes rarely, if ever, make a significant difference to a streay dog population (just as the badger cull programme won’t solve the problem of TB in cattle). Simply killing (culling) stray dogs won’t work either. Change of culture and ethics required by government and populace of Romania … any ideas how to achieve this anybody?

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