Often, too often, I feel sad about the cruelty and narrow-mindedness of my countrymen. Lately, they are planning to kill stray dogs in masses, because of the overpopulation. It has been done before and they are planning to do it again, only this time a lot of people have raised to protest against this atrocity.
|A photo from one of the protests. From www.adoptiicaini.ro.|
What the pro-euthanasia people have to say
There is a phobia (rational or not) of dogs, especially stray dogs. People mistakenly believe that these are savage beasts, intent on harming humans at any given chance. They often quote the case of a woman bitten by stray dogs who eventually died because of the wounds. They claim it should be a "survival of the fittest" and that for one person, they have to commit genocide.
Of course, stray dogs will leave a lot of dirt on the streets and it is unpleasant. Taking care of them in shelters costs quite a lot, so most of them are still out there, in packs, trying to survive. Every person who feeds these dogs is frowned upon (at least).
What the sensible minds respond to all this
I myself can say that the majority of stray dogs will not attack people unprovoked. None of the ones I've seen (and there are plenty in my neighbourhood) are violent. Most are frightful, which is understandable, and some are even friendly. The only problems we've had were a menacing bark at Aschiuta from dogs protecting their territory. They rarely get close and try to bite her and if I'm alone, they don't even flinch.
If we can accept having dogs on our streets, population control can be done through spaying and neutering stray dogs. It is actually cheaper than euthanising the dogs (sterilising costs 15 euros, euthanasia 62 euros). I'm sure readers from more civilised countries agree that is the best solution.
Moreover, the whole action is illegal, contradicting the animal rights here in Romania.
What can be done?
There have been two protests against the euthanasia law the past couple of weeks. There is also a petition addressed to the Parliament, asking for the law not to be passed. The petition can be signed online here.
Adoption is always a great solution. I cannot stress it enough. Our streets are full of stray dogs needing homes, still I see almost only breeder-bought dogs being walked by their owners. Aschiuta was once on the street too and if we had the means to, we'd adopt another dog too. What we did, others can do too.
I have heard about a lot of programs for free or low cost spaying/neutering. We talked to one of the shelters here about trying to get our neighbourhood dogs sterilised this spring. I do hope we'll still have what to spay and neuter...