str. Izvor nr.2-4,
7th March 2011
RE: New legislation for stray dog control in Romania
Dear Sir / Madam:
I am writing to you on behalf of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), the world’s
largest alliance of animal welfare organisations with more than 1000 member societies in 158
countries. It has come to our attention that new legislation for dealing with stray dog management
in Romania has been proposed and is currently under consideration. We are also aware that the
new law will overturn the existing ban on euthanasia, and there is great concern among local aWorld Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), UKnd
international animal protection groups that the new legislation will be used as an excuse by the
government to legalize the mass killing of stray dogs in Romania.
WSPA is working to promote animal protection and to end animal suffering, but we reluctantly
accept that there are circumstances when euthanasia is acceptable and necessary, such as when
an animal is suffering from an incurable disease/injury, when an animal presents a significant risk
to human health and safety, or when an animal’s welfare would be significantly compromised for
an indefinite period of time. However, WSPA does not support the mass killing of stray dogs
as a method of population control.
As an international organisation which has vast experience of humane stray control programmes,
we would like to emphasize that the mass killing of stray animals (culling), without addressing the
source(s) of the dogs, has been proven to be ineffective as a method of stray control. Mass killing,
even if the method is by injection, is still culling. Culling is both unnecessary and unacceptable as a
method of dog population management for a Member State of the European Union in the twentyfirst
Effective population management requires using a humane and comprehensive approach that
addresses the source(s) of stray dogs. The government needs to understand the sources of the
stray dogs and humanely and sustainably limit these sources through sterilisation and education in
responsible pet ownership in collaboration with the local community, supported by legislation and
policy that prevents cruelty and ensures a sustainable programme. Different sources may require
different interventions: for example, if the main source of stray dogs is “abandoned, owned” dogs (including puppies), then the government needs to enact and enforce legislation making the abandonment of dogs illegal, as well as promote affordable neutering and responsible pet ownership through public awareness campaigns. For un-owned dogs living and reproducing on the streets, they need to be caught, neutered, and placed for adoption. For dogs living on the streets with carers, an agreement needs to be reached with the carers to ensure that the dogs are neutered, that they do not pose danger to other people, and the number and movement of the animals should be restricted for public health and safety. There is no “one solution” that will address all sources. Effective stray dog management must include consideration of the pet dogs, the dog owners, as well as the welfare of any un-owned dogs. Any policy and procedure adopted must be transparent and have the support of the general public, the veterinary profession, as well as the animal protection societies.
WSPA and our member society Save the Dogs, together with our local partners such as GIA, are willing to assist with further recommendations and advice on humane methods of dog population management, using the experience and knowledge we have gathered from running successful examples of these programmes in other countries.
I have enclosed with this letter a copy of the International Companion Animal Management Coalition guidance on dog population management. This outlines how effective population management requires using a humane and comprehensive approach that also addresses the source of stray dogs. You may also be interested to read the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals developed by the Council of Europe – of which Romania is a ratified signatory – which suggests regulations to support a dog population management programme that is humane, comprehensive and sustainable.
I look forward to your response on the above and any future cooperation. WSPA will be following the developments in Romania with great interest, and we hope that the adoption and implementation of any new legislation on stray dog management will lead to a humane and sustainable solution for both the people and the animals of Romania.
Member Society Development Manager (Europe)
Enclosure: Humane Dog Population Management Guidance, International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) Coalition, www.icam-coalition.org
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