Bucharest Prefect Mihai Cristian Atanasoaei presented on Tuesday a law draft according to which the dogs found in Bucharest's shelters are to be eliminated if they fail to be adopted within seven days. The NGOs claim there are 40,000 stray dogs on the streets of Bucharest, while the city's council claims there are 100,000. In the first three months of the present year 2,175 people have been bitten by stray dogs.

In an online live chat with HotNews.ro readers, Atanasoaei detailed the conditions to adopt a dog, the costs of dog shelters and euthanasia.

His proposal is likely to be enforced 30 days after the publication in the Official Gazette. People who want to inquire about a dog that has an owner but that was captured by mistake or who want to inform on a stray dogs can do so at the local Veterinary units or at the services that manage stray dogs, he said.

"If all dogs without an owner from a town will be adopted by NGOs and individuals, there will be no more dogs left to euthanasia. We leave the communities to decide alone the fate of stray dogs. And here is where the NGOs will play an important role", he added.

According to him, anyone can adopt a dog, but those living in a flat will be able to adopt more than two dogs only if they obtain the agreement of the owner's association and proves that the animal has sufficient space. "our right to own cannot breech the neighbours' rights", Atanasoaiei claims.

The prefect said there were 11,000 people bitten in Bucharest alone last year. Their medical care cost around 400,000 euros and 1,320,000 euros in the last four years, he claims. Euthanasia for a dog costs 11 lei (around 3 euros). "The shelters and vets will that the dog will stay in the shelter for as long as the law entails, before euthanasia", he added. Atanasoaiei said he agreed with the "compulsory castration of the dogs with or without an owner".

He agreed that the problem of stray dogs was closely links with the issue of the city's sanitation. The amendments he proposed to the existing law address:

  • the creation of shelters and services specialised in handling stray dogs by local authorities, within 30 days from the day the law is adopted or face sanctions;
  • setting up a database for stray dogs, for owned dogs and dogs with a special regime;
  • implanting a microchip into every dog in the country;
  • encouraging adoptions and making the adopters responsible, so that the dogs will not end p on the streets again. Those mistreating the dogs will be fined between 2000 and 5000 lei;
  • compulsory sterilisation of the "common" race dogs;
  • the interdiction of breeding dogs on the public domain;
  • the interdiction of abandon the adopted dogs on public domain;
  • keeping the public domain clean
  • dog owners would have to register their dogs immediately after adoption;
  • euthanasia. The vets will first consult the dogs. Those incurable, with serious affections or aggressive will be euthanized immediately. The rest of them will be kept between seven to 14 days to be adopted or rededicated, before being eliminated.

In an interview for Adrian Novac, Nadja Kutscher - campaign coordinator for PETA Deutschland - declared:

"Implementing castration programmes (and providing for the dog's care afterwards!) represents the only solution to efficiently reduce, in a humane manner, the number of stray dogs". Commenting on the proposal of the Bucharest prefect, Kutscher opinionated this was "completely unproductive - it is not only cruel, but also inefficient and, on long-term, more costly."

PETA announced its availability to cooperate with the Romanian authorities to solve the issue of stray dogs.