The Romanian government has given the green-light to the mass killing of tens and thousands of stray dogs in the country's capital, The Associated Press reports.
The law allows the state to round up the city's estimated 60,000 strays and have them put down. Despite hundreds of protesters urging parliamentarians to vote against it, the law was overwhelmingly approved -- by a vote of 266 to 23.
"We want a civilized capital, we don't want a jungle," Adina Suiu, a hairdresser in Bucharest told AP. "When I walk around my neighborhood, I am always looking over my shoulder. If we don't stop them now, we will be taken over by dogs."
Gabriel Paun, director for animal rights group 4Pfoten, told BBC News, a nation-wide sterilization strategy is necessary to control the burgeoning dog population.
"In the last few years we've castrated 100,000 dogs in Romania altogether, 10,600 of them in Bucharest," he said. "But it's not enough, this is a voluntary private project -- we need them to do the same thing at national level."
According to rescue group Any Dog, the cost of killing a street dog may be considerably higher than sterilizing it.
The city of some two million people shares its public spaces with an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 stray dogs -- a number that has ballooned since the fall of communism in 1989.
A Bucharest hospital spokesman told The Associated Press 9,760 people have been treated for dog bites in the first eight months of this year.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story suggested a boy was killed by dogs in a park. He was, in fact, near a park.
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Ukraine Calls To End Dog Killings
Throughout 2011, Ukraine killed thousands of strays after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/22/romanian-stray-dogs-parliament-euthanize_n_1107666.html" target="_hplink">voting to legalize euthanasia for dogs</a>. Then in November of that year, the country responded to international pressure to cease the killings of stray dogs, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/17/ukraine-stray-dog-killing_n_1099223.html" target="_hplink">according to the Associated Press</a>. In anticipation of the Euro 2012 soccer championship, the Environment Ministry urged mayors to build shelters to protect the stray animals instead of euthanization.
Sri Lanka Allows Killing Of Strays Once Again
In an effort to reduce the thousands of monthly hospitalizations and rabies outbreaks due to dog bites, Sri Lanka lifted a moratorium on killing stray dogs in January 2011, <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gGBPDbU6Pi7n51blkf9seGXu9ZSQ?docId=CNG.36c3f163965af959290ee2127d710e65.161" target="_hplink">according to the AFP</a>. Catching and killing strays was legal under Sri Lankan law until 2006, when the practice ceased after pressure from animal rights groups. But after a recent attempt to sterilize the dogs failed, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena decided to reintroduce killing the homeless animals. "As a government, we have decided to go back to the previous practice," Sirisina reportedly said. "Clearly our new policy has failed."
Thailand's Stray Dogs A Problem For Tourists
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendy-diamond/thailands-dog-day-afterno_b_1004136.html" target="_hplink">According to Huffpost blogger Wendy Diamond</a>, after a number of surveys showed that stray dogs were tourists' primary complaint while visiting Thailand, the country is looking for ways to solve their problem of abandoned animals. With a struggling country-wide Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a starving stray covered with sores and fleas is not an unusual sight in the streets of Bangkok. Roger Lohanan, leader of Thailand's SPCA, reportedly said that the government killed more than 50,000 stray dogs in 1999 by poisoning or starvation. Diamond said the problem stems from a lack of owner responsibility and education. "Pet owners simply fail to spay and neuter their animals," she wrote. "Owners frequently abandon their dogs once the pets are no longer fun to play with or become too expensive to take care of."
Chinese Stray Dogs Killed To Thwart Rabies
In an effort to thwart a rabies outbreak, officials in Hanzhong, China killed 36,000 stray dogs, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/16/idUSPEK35560" target="_hplink">Reuters reported in June 2009</a>. The decision was made after 12 people died in the city from dog bites. Although the government claimed the killings were necessary, animal rights groups have long fought against animal cruelty in China, where millions of animals have been allegedly mistreated and killed inhumanely. In addition, organizations claimed that the Hanzhong killing spree wouldn't even eradicate the problem. "The mass removal of dogs can result in the increased movement of dogs of unknown disease status from surrounding areas, thereby actually facilitating disease transmission and increasing the threat to human and animal health," Peter Williams, China director for the World Society for Protection of Animals, was quoted as saying.
Baghdad's Stray Dog Killing Frenzy
In 2010, the government of Baghdad went on a campaign to cleanse the city of stray dogs. 58,000 strays were killed in a 3-month period of time. Although the increase in stray dogs correlated to "an improvement in some elements of daily life in Baghdad," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/10/baghdad-stray-dogs-proble_n_641783.html" target="_hplink">according to AFP</a>, the killing campaign was deemed necessary after incidents of attacks against children. Dogs were routinely shot under Hussein's rule, but the stray population swelled to 1.25 million after the new government focused on other issues.
Puerto Rico Accused Of Animal Cruelty
Treatment of animals in Puerto Rico came to light in 2008 when people near a housing project stumbled upon corpses and skeletons of cats and dogs who were thrown over a highway bridge and left to die in the ravine below. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/us/09dogs.html" target="_hplink">According to <em>The New York Times</em></a>, government workers had previously entered the housing development and rounded up all pets, stating the owners were in violation of a "no-pet" rule. A lawsuit was brought against the men accused of brutalizing the animals, <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_10432131" target="_hplink">yet all defendants were found not-guilty</a>, reported <em>The Denver Post</em>. Carlos M. Carazo, director of the animal disease division of Puerto Rico's State Office for Animal Control, told <em>The New York Times</em>, "In our culture we have not addressed these issues because, probably, we did not think they were important."
Ethiopia Kills Thousands Of Strays
In the weeks before Coptic millennium celebrations in late 2007, Ethiopian government officials killed thousands of stray dogs by feeding them strychnine-laced meat, <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20591166/ns/world_news-africa/t/ethiopia-kill-tens-thousands-stray-dogs/" target="_hplink">reported the Associated Press</a>. "We want rabies to be history by the next millennium," said Tafa Hunde, leader of the animal services for the city. "The dogs are not vaccinated, there is no one who manages them." The measure was taken even though there were no official statistics on rabies deaths in Ethiopia. In addition to the dog killings, thousands of homeless people were moved from the Ethiopian captial Addis Ababa to the countryside in anticipation of the celebrations.
Group Rescues Taiwanese Strays
<a href="http://www.collared-scholar.com/" target="_hplink">The Collared Scholar</a>, a dog training academy in San Diego, recently saved 10 stray dogs in Taiwan by importing them to San Diego in an effort to have them adopted by American families. Meagan Karnes, The Collared Scholar president, <a href="http://www.fox5sandiego.com/news/kswb-imported-shelter-dogs-group-rescues-stray-dogs-from-taiwan-20110217,0,449071.story" target="_hplink">told KSWB</a>, "In Taiwan they don't practice euthanasia. Oftentimes, people see dogs as a nuisance, so there are bear traps all over the streets to capture them. Instead of euthanizing them, they will burn, drown or electrocute them." The Collared Scholar also rescues dogs from Mexico in an effort to save them from brutal Mexican animal control practices.
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