The former "neuter and return" programme was abandoned in Bucharest, in spite of positive results (the number of reported bites had decreased by 16% in the last quarter of implementation). A "total kill" programme is now implemented.
The decision of the Mayor Traian Basescu was perceived as an instigation to violence
While the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry replies to international protests by simply denying the crude reality heavily documented by the international and local mass media, by daily press conferences of the criminal Mayor, by official acts and, anyway, easy to verify each and every moment in Bucharest, Ion ILIESCU, the President of Romania, declared on April 27 2001, in a TV interview for PrimaTV:
"I think Mr. Basescu exaggerates and he does wrong by not considering the reaction of the public opinion, both internal and international. I suggested Mr. Basescu to come down with his legs on the earth, to have, first of all, a discussion with the municipal councillors, to reach a common option and conclusion."
Mr. Iliescu said he handed over to the Mayor copies of e-mails he received from citizens of many countries in which disapproval of the Mayor's conduct is expressed. He also had a telephone talk with Brigitte Bardot, who expressed her deep discontent because Mayor Traian Basescu crossed the promises and commitments he made during her recent visit to Bucharest. But the massacre continues.
A Gallup opinion pool, carried out in February 2001, showed that 86% of the citizens of Bucharest consider sterilization an effective method to control the overpopulation of dogs, and the majority of them approves euthanasia for ill street dogs. 33% of them already have a pet. A programme developed in year 2000, with the contribution of many local volunteers and of several international NGOs, had just begun to give positive results: the intensive neutering, vaccination and return activities led to a lowering number of reported bites in the last four months and only constant effort was required to attain a reversal of the population growth.
In spite of that, the Mayor Traian Basescu promoted a new programme that leads to the distruction of almost all the estimated 70.000 street dogs. The new programme started on March 1st, 2001 and asks for all dogs to be removed from the streets and allows for a 10 days adoption period before their so-called euthanasia (euthanasia has not been locally regulated as a veterinary procedure). This announcement unleashed a series of violent acts against animals, all over Romania, widely covered in the local media.
This is a pilot project in a national programme announced by the Romanian authorities to sort out the problem of street dogs, which are a common presence in all Romanian towns and villages.
There is no Animal Protection Law in Romania, although a bill on it is registered with the Parliament for several years already.
French Minister of Foreign Affairs sustains the apeal of Brigitte Bardot to save the street dogs in Bucharest. Click to see details:
The ones to go and the already gone ones: a puppy sleeping next to his dead mother. She had been neutered, vaccinated and marked only a few days before.
In a press conference on 26 April 2001, Traian Basescu, announced that, from now on, he will no longer use "euthanasia" to describe the treatment he applies to all dogs captured on the streets of Bucharest, Romania, but "liquidation". The reaction of the audience, made of press people, to this announcement was ... bursting into laughter.
As a result of the example of violence carried out by the Mayor, after the shooting on the street incidents (see page on this site), several unidentified people entered by force an apartment in a block of flats on Foisorului Street in Bucharest, beat an old lady and her three dogs with sticks and then cast the dogs over the balcony. All dogs are dead (see page on this site) and the woman is in hospital. The incident was documented in a news bulletin broadcasted on April 26 evening by PrimaTV, along with horrific images from inside the shelters of the City Hall.
In the same programme Mr. Mihai Voiculescu, a University Professor who is also a councillor in the City General Council and head of the Commission in charge with the monitoring of the programme for the street dogs, stated that dogs are currently killed by strangulation or injections in the heart with Magnesium Sulphate (with no preliminary anaesthesia) and the shelters of the City Hall, heavily guarded by armed people and closed to any visitor, are operating as "death camps". He also indicated that the most reliable estimation of the dog population in Bucharest (2.2 million inhabitants) is less than 60000, as opposed to the 200000 figure advanced by the Mayor to hint at huge costs required for sterilization.
More than 10,000 have been distroyed already in the first 4 months of the killings.
This is the man! The eversmiling Traian Basescu,
now poised to become
President of Romania
Mayor Basescu continues the massacre of street dogs in spite of street protests attended by Parliament members and hundreds of citizens. The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister asked Mr. Basescu to switch to more humane methods to solve the problem. As a response, the Mayor of Bucharest menaced today (April 21) to use riot police to disband any further protest. A few sticks on the backs of the attending senator and of the ladies from the protection organizations would be quite appropriate he said, as a lesson on authority and public order. The General Council of Bucharest adopted on Thursday, April 19, a decision by which the Director of ASA (the City Hall department in charge with the street animals) was suspended and the Mayor was asked to stop the killings and resume the former neuter and return programme. Next day, the Mayor issued a new decision to continue the killings, cancel all adoptions and re-confirm in office Mr. Tiru, the Director of ASA. He also dismissed the Veterinary Doctor in charge with one of the shelters, VASILIU MARIANA, who refused to carry out the killings ordered by the Mayor. It is not clear how far the Mayor can go in crossing the decisions of the Council before facing suspension from office. What has been confirmed is that euthanasia was just a lie: magnesium phosphate injected in the hart is the method used to kill the dogs in the shelters, but many dogs are simply strangled during capturing. No representative of the press or of the AR/AW organizations is allowed in the shelters were the massacre is carried out. Inside information says that at least 100 dogs are destroyed daily.
Not only street dogs fel victims of the campaign. Several citizens complained that their dogs were picked from inside their yards. In the incident on Fosisorului Street, the dogs beaten to death inside the apartment had been adopted from the street.
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