Romania has the biggest problem with street dogs in all of Europe

Stray dogs & dog catchers on Romania's streets

Initial situation:
The problem of street dogs in Romania arose during the communist era, that is, in the 1970s. Many people forcibly abandoned their dogs when their homes were demolished and they moved into apartment blocks. A merciless war was waged against the strays. Hundreds of thousands have been brutally killed, either with a club or with poison. And yet the strays stayed alive. Many people fed the dogs and hid them from the dog catchers. Since 1993 the problem of the street dogs has been discussed in public and the first castration campaigns started. Well-intentioned programs were unfortunately boycotted again and again, because in Romania a so-called dog catcher mafia earns money through the existence of street dogs and their disposal. Corrupt politicians and local rulers, a dog-catching mafia and a tragic accident in which a four-year-old boy was killed by a dog are the ideal cocktail for an unprecedented hunt that began again on Romania's street dogs in September 2013.

On Monday, September 2, 2013, a tragic accident occurred in Bucharest. A four-year-old boy who ran unsupervised onto an adjacent wasteland in a park was attacked and killed by a dog. Prime Minister Victor Ponta found the right words when he described the accident as a "tragedy". Despite all the mourning for this terrible incident, a hate and media campaign against street dogs that was unprecedented even by Romanian standards began in the following days. Populist politicians were only too happy to jump on the bandwagon and fuel the smear campaign. Street dogs are a topic with which one can always score points in Romania in the election campaign.

On the day after the tragedy, Romanian President Traian Basescu urged the government to issue an emergency ordinance that includes the killing of all street dogs. Some offices of local and foreign animal welfare organizations had to close temporarily due to death threats.
The real reason for this media-staged mass hysteria is, as is so often the case, money. In Romania there is an animal catcher mafia which artificially keeps the street dog population high and torpedoes every sensible form of population control (neutering and releasing). After all, dog catching and disposal is a million dollar business and for Romania's dog catchers, golden times began again in 2013. The tragic incident on Monday was a welcome opportunity for the dog catcher mafia to tap into this source of money again.

The Romanian animal rights activist Claudiu Dimitriu, himself the father of a young daughter and a witness of the dramatic development, summed up the interrelationships and backgrounds in the crisis area: “When was a president ever interested in the fact that children still have to die in clinics today because ours Government not investing in healthcare? In our country, children can be run over by politicians on pedestrian paths and children can be mistreated by their beating parents, children die in burning houses, drown, give their lives in traffic accidents and through the negligence of doctors - but this corrupt, gray and apparently futile country is failing the tragic child death now finally who the real "culprits" are: the street dogs, on which every person can take revenge for all shame suffered. "
(Source: Tasso)