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Last Friday the Bucharest Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, and suspended the execution methodology of the stray dogs killing law. According to the official communication of the Court of Appeal, the entire Governmental Decision is suspended. With immediate effect in Romania, the killing law has no applicable norms and there is no legal framework to capture stray dogs nor to issue a decision to kill them according to the suspended methodology.
“The Court’s decision to suspend the killing norms is a clear, independent signal that things do not work so far with the new killing law”, says Gabriel Paun, Director of Campaigns at FOUR PAWS. “It brings us confidence in our goal to bring about a change from an emotional to a rational way to manage the stray dogs humanely.”
The killing law came into force in October 2013 following a tragic incident in which a little boy was fatally injured by dogs on a private property a month earlier. The methodology to be applied to the killing became known in December 2013, and the mass killing started soon after. Many thousands of stray dogs have been killed since then by several municipalities, including Bucharest. Starting in January 2014, FOUR PAWS challenged the methodological norms and stated that there are several aspects therein that contradict laws of higher force. “For example, according to this methodology, the local authorities could delegate the management of the stray dogs to any private company. This may open the floodgates to conflict of interests and haemorrhaging public funds”, explains Paun.“Another example: public access to shelters was restricted, and consequently the adoptions were largely restricted.”
Firstly, FOUR PAWS called on the Romanian Government to freeze the methodology, but unfortunately the Government dismissed the request. Therefore, in March 2014, FOUR PAWS challenged it at the Court of Appeal in Bucharest.
FOUR PAWS believes in a long-term strategic solution to manage the stray animals in Romania and in other European countries: A Europe-wide approach with national action plans, established and supervised by the government, developed and supported by veterinarians and animal welfare organisations, based on a common European understanding of the human-animal relationship.
In the past few years, FOUR PAWS has focused on the main source of stray dogs: their reproduction. “With the financial support of our donors we have sterilised over 100,000 strays in Romania. The organisation offers further support in this direction but our efforts will only bring safe streets and welfare for the dogs if we are backed up by a rational law and support from all municipalities”, stresses Paun.