Death to the Strays

The ASPCA’s commercial to stop cruelty to animals has brought tears to many viewers’ eyes. Sarah McLachlan’s song, In the Arms of an Angel plays as beaten and scarred dogs and cats are shown on the television looking sad and lonely begging for loving homes. This commercial might affect many people; however, the people in Romania might not be so inclined to shed a tear over this commercial.

Stray dogs have infiltrated Romania over the past few years and have posed a serious problem to the residents. The stray dogs are violent. There are over one hundred thousand stray dogs terrorizing the streets of the country. In the capital, Bucharest, there are over 65,000 strays.

Last week, four-year-old Ionut Anghel was attacked in a park by some of the stray dogs and was killed. His body was found devoured by the dogs. After this incident, citizens and politicians have fought to change the law to kill all stray dogs.

The law that Romania’s Parliament has enacted in a 266 to 23 vote is to allow stray dogs to be captured and killed. Romania’s President, Traian Basescu, has encouraged this legislation saying, “Humans are above dogs.” This legislation allows stray dogs to be killed if authorities cannot find shelters or the dogs’ owner within two weeks of their capture. The old law allowed for the killing of sick dogs only. Last year over 6,500 stray dogs were sterilized and the cost of this treatment was $260,000. However, the violent nature of the strays continued.

Romania’s citizens have been tortured and frightened by the increasing population of strays in their cities. 16,000 residents of Bucharest were treated for bites from stray dogs last year. A retired woman was killed by a pack of strays. A Japanese tourist was killed when a group of dogs attacked and severed his artery. These are only a few of the many horror stories Romania’s people face.

Romania’s government is calling for the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of stray dogs. What should be done with the thousands of stray dogs who frighten the people? Are humans above dogs as Romania’s President suggests? Is killing the large number of dogs humane?

image: google images

One comment

  1. This is a true moral dilemma, which I really don’t have an answer to. On the one hand, these dogs are living things, just trying to survive in a society that has abandoned them. On the other hand, they are a risk to the safety of the citizens of Romania, as well as tourism deterrent, injuring the economy as well. I can certainly understand the perspective of animal rights proponents, in that the killing of the dogs should be a last resort. The proposed legislation provides that two weeks will be given in shelters, and if they are not adopted then they will be put down. That seems like too short of a time and which will lead to an enormous amount of dogs being killed. Maybe the government can provide an incentive to citizens who do adopt these dogs. Maybe some sort of tax deduction/credit, and a subsidized effort to sterilize the dogs would increase the adoption rate. If not that then maybe a longer time period in the shelter before death becomes the option. I do understand the sentiment of the citizens who are living in danger every day, and just saw a 4 year-old child be mauled to death. It is simply an unacceptable situation and something needs to be done, but hopefully in the most humane way possible.

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