The EU and Stray Dogs

The welfare of stray animals is not governed by EU rules and remains under the sole responsibility of the Member States.

The welfare of stray animals is not governed by EU rules and remains under the sole responsibility of the Member States including Romania. Tax payer money is sent to Romania from the EU to assist them in management the population of stay dogs, and this is what we see…

The laws in Romania on the management of stray dogs allow for the establishment by local councils of specialised service and shelters to capture dogs, to hold them for 14 days and euthanise them.

Only the laws and what actually happens are not always the same. We see the law being broken time and again both with the abuse and inhumane manner in which stray dogs are handled and euthanised and through what some may say is “corruption” or “siphoning” of money through service companies or any method necessary to clear the streets of dogs especially in the run up to local elections. Some local councils find alternative solutions outside the law, to concession these services to third-party service companies and the price paid by local councils to dog catchers (one could almost ask if this is any person who can make a pole with a looped wire on the end) can be as high as 1000 lei (£200) per dog.

It seems outrageous in a country where child allowances cannot be increased due to a lack of budget and where 1.2 million retired people live from 700 lei per month (£140), where we see children in winter with no shoes, who do not know when they last ate a meal, that a private entity can receive such a huge amount for capturing just one dog.

Complaints are submitted against the service companies including criminal complaints of tax evasion and killing animals. Violations of the legislation on animal protection and the management of stray dogs and serious deviations from the law on exercising of the veterinarian profession including non- qualified staff euthanizing or capturing dogs with nail guns. Evidence of using forbidden substances to euthanise dogs, around children and in the courtyards of schools, and still they say that animals are killed for the safety of the citizens – 65% of whom want the euthanasia law annulled.

The Romanian government should be held to account with ultimate responsibility for their mismanagement of the stray dog population. With over 3 billion Euros (source CP) sent to Romania over the last years, from the EU to manage their stray dog population, and still the stray dog problem remains unchanged. Romanian people are watching as their own government fail at the mismanagement, and sickened by their children seeing the abuse of dogs and animals, they reach out to the EU for help, only to be told: “The welfare of stray animals is not governed by EU rules and remains under the sole responsibility of the Member States.”

Surely EU Article 24 breaches should be investigated. The children of Romania have a right not to see violence towards animals by government paid service companies in the streets.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires all UN members to protect children’s civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights – this includes a child watching animal abuse that exposes them to extreme violence, which is banned by the UN treaty.

The reality of post-Communist Romania is that there is a long road ahead, a change in values so deeply rooted in their culture is not a quick change. To move forwards, we need to keep nurturing the future generation and until the national law is changed, we need to keep neutering to prevent more unwanted dogs and cats being born into a life of hell into the land called Romania.

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Article 24 – The rights of the child

  1. Children shall have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being.
  2. In all actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the
    child’s best interests must be a primary consideration.

In January 2020, our founder, Alison Standbridge went to the EU in Brussels. A morning with private meetings with Euro MP’s who support the animal welfare charities, and agree that the EU Council must make changes to protect the stray dogs. The meetings were to discuss future proposals and best methods to continue the lobby and pressure on the EU Council not to sweep the stray dog problems across Europe under the carpet.

During the afternoon there were presentations made by a number of nation-states, individuals or representatives of charities, who had travelled from across Europe to present their nations Animal Welfare issues to the EU General Council. Their please to the EU were passionate, were desperate, and the situation across so many countries, so similar to Romania. To hear the sickening stories of abuse, of neglect and lack of government action, to watch the videos, and look into the eyes of those animals in such desperate pain, was soul-destroying. After each presentation from countries ranging from Cyprus, Lithuania to Bulgaria, the first council response was the same cold and hard tone: “The welfare of stray animals is not governed by EU rules and remains under the sole responsibility of the Member States.”

The Chair of the EU Council surmised confirming that a proposal would be drafted to the EU Commission on the matter and that they understood that the stray dog population was “problematic” (!!!)

Since the day, Paws2Rescue are in contact with various Euro MP’s and will continue the pressure on the EU to act on this Europe-wide problem, and not avoid addressing it. Our work supporting the European Coalition Link (between child abuse and dog abuse) will continue.

The UK may have left Europe, but we will continue this work on behalf of Paws2Rescue Romania and on behalf of every abused dog in Romania and across Europe.