The fight for Romanian stray dogs: Stefan Eck meets with Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos

On July 28th 2016, GUE/NGL MEP Stefan Eck met in Bucharest with Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos to discuss how to improve the situation of stray dogs in Romania.  

The fight for a more dignified treatment of stray dogs in the country has been high on the political agenda of the German MEP for nearly two years with the help of GUE NGL group.

Stefan Eck hopes this “conversation at the highest political level”, that was made possible by the friendly support of the Romanian ambassador in Berlin, Emil Hurezeanu, “will help to unblock the situation” by setting a good basis for further steps for improving the life of dogs on Romanian streets.

The head of government expressed his support to tackling the problem. But time may be running out as Mr Ciolos will only remain in office for a short period before the general elections by the end of this year.

In this frank 40-minute conversation the cruel and unacceptable management of the stray dog population in Romania was the top issue.

Stefan Eck expressed in detail his doubts and concern about the massive killings of dogs undertaken all over the nation by public services. He pointed out that such an approach by the Romanian state faces fierce criticism among a large number of his colleagues at the European Parliament – in particular those from the GUE/NGL parliamentary group.

Finally, Stefan Eck underlined the fact that hundreds of thousands of campaigners and concerned citizens throughout Europe have already expressed their outrage which led to “an immense image loss” for Romania.

In the course of the conversation other aspects were lighted up by the two sides including the lack of politicization of the Romanian animal rights activists and a lack of interest on the side of the political parties. At the same time Romanian public opinion is divided when it comes to dog management measures. The fracture crosses the whole society with part of the citizens judging the indiscriminate killings necessary while others would prefer more friendly methods to control the number of strays.

According to Prime Minister Ciolos, the Romanian Law 258/2013 on stray dogs is comparable to the laws applied in some other countries in Europe. But he did acknowledge Romania has a problem of law transposition together with lower animal protection standards especially at local level. As a first step, he committed to ask service providers to control the public shelters and check their observance of existing laws and regulations.

The MEP underlined that Romania should follow the recommendations of the WHO and the OIE (catch-neuter-release or adopt) to ensure a sustainable and humane population management of the stray dogs. He also displayed the view that this meeting may be the cornerstone of a real change in the way Romania treats animals in particular stray dogs.