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Referendum Could Determine Fate Of Bucharest's 65,000 Stray Dogs

What's the Latest Development?

In response to the recent mauling death of a four-year-old, the mayor of Bucharest announced that on October 6 residents would have the opportunity to decide whether the city's stray dogs -- estimated to number about 65,000 -- should be euthanized. Hundreds in favor of a cull attended a demonstration on Sunday (Sept. 8), including the victim's grandmother, who said, "I hope for a change for the better - I don't want to see dogs on the street anymore." Even Romania's president, Traian Basescu, is in favor of a law authorizing euthanasia, stating, "Humans are above dogs."

What's the Big Idea?

In the first four months of this year alone, over a thousand people have been bitten by stray dogs in Bucharest. Current law dictates that strays be taken to dog shelters, but they are overcrowded. Animal rights group 4Pfoten ("Four Paws") has worked hard to provide and promote sterilization, but campaign director Gabriel Paun says the effort needs to happen on a national level: "[E]ven if Bucharest is free of strays, the dogs don't have administrative borders - they will come back." He also notes that the use of the term "euthanasia" is misleading, since even healthy dogs will be included in the cull. "We did our own poll, and if you change the word to 'killing', nobody wants that."

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Read it at BBC News

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