From Occupy For Animals:
How #IREC tried to manipulate Prefect Rodica Paraschiv to destroy Ploiesti's newly adopted C-N-R program according to HCL 502/2015, with a manipulative letter containing erroneous, misleading, and false information!
In our previous article on Ploiesti, we reported about the exemplary dog population management program to be implemented in the city of Ploiesti. And while the rest of the civilized world applauded Ploiesti's decision, there was one angry but insignificant voice from Romania that complained... As expected, IREC, represented by its Führer #AnaMăiţă, had protested Ploiesti's HCL 502/2015!
We will demonstrate - and provide voluminous evidence - how IREC seeks to destroy one of the most important initiatives introduced into Romania in recent years. We will evidence that IREC has submitted inaccurate information to deliberately mislead Prefect Rodica Paraschiv whose remit of responsibility includes Ploiesti. They also mislead the Romanian media and consequently, the Romanian people, as exemplified by their recent press release.
We will show unequivocally that IREC’s own statements about legal issues exemplify their severely limited legal knowledge of their own country's laws regulating the management of stray animals. With numerous examples we can demonstrate that whilst IREC speaks about dog population management, the reality is that they have a total absence of knowledge about this, as well as about canine ecology and canine ethology, all of which are essential to understand when creating a responsible and effective dog management program. IREC's public statements in the absence of any informed knowledge, are both dangerously ill-conceived, and exemplify the limitations of a childish perspective, seeking only to satisfy personal desires.
IREC’s ignorance of any broader societal implications, their misinterpretation of international organisations' advice, Treaties and Conventions, their total absence of awareness of the implications of legitimised aggression on individuals and society, invites any shreds of integrity which they may have, to compel them to acknowledge their charade, and to simply return to their homes and bathrooms and cease to seek publicity.
On behalf of truth, integrity and honesty we will rebut, at best the spurious claims of IREC, and at worst, their blatant dishonesty, and by the time you've reached the end of this article, you will come to the realization that IREC deliberately misleads and manipulates simply to satisfy personal desires. That IREC's actions are irresponsible, with potentially major negative impact on society, and that IREC can not be considered a trustworthy, believable entity.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS ARTICLE
The following article, as indeed all our articles actually, is "rather" long, but is essential reading for everyone interested in the Romanian stray dogs issue, because it contains an extensive and comprehensive volume of information, covering all façets of this complex and emotive issue. Feel free to quote liberally, especially when confronted with inventive false arguments such as those offered by IREC.
For a more in depth "reading experience" we suggest that you read it directly on our website as it contains a lot of information in link form, as well a recapitulation of the importance of the issue of the multitude of stray animals roaming the streets of Romania, and their history
On our website, you can read IREC's letter to the Vice-Mayor of Ploiesti, with copy to the Prefect and the Executive Director of DSVSA, followed by their "press release".
Below, our reflections and remarks:
1. IREC wrongly says reterritorialization was not in accordance with the current legislation and requires the removal of all provisions containing the word "return/
On the contrary, Romania's legal framework does indeed allow dogs to be returned to their places of origin as stipulated in article 10 of OUG 155/2001, as well as in article 17, paragraph 3, letter d) of GD 955/2004:
● OUG 155/2011 regulating the management program for stray dogs, as amended and supplemented by Law 258/2013 reads in art. 10: adăposturile publice din cadrul serviciilor specializate pentru gestionarea câinilor fără stăpân, precum şi adăposturile asociaţiilor şi fundaţiilor pentru protecţia animalelor ţin registre speciale, vizate de medicul veterinar de liberă practică, în care trebuie notat, alături de alte informaţii, numărul de câini prinşi, revendicaţi, adoptaţi, returnaţi şi eutanasiaţi” (The public shelters within the specialized services for ownerless dogs’ management, also the shelters belonging to animal protection associations and foundations keep special registers, approved by the free practice veterinary doctor, in which must be noted, along with other information, the number of dogs that were caught, claimed, adopted, returned, and euthanized.)
● HG 955/2004 as amended and supplemented reads in art. 17 alin. (3) lit. d) “Serviciul public de ecarisaj va realiza următoarele”: “reîntoarcerea câinilor în zona de unde au fost prinşi, la cererea colectivităţii/grupului local, care îşi va asuma în scris răspunderea pentru ocrotirea câinilor trataţi” . (The public service of dogs’ rendering will realize the following: returning of the dogs in their original territory from where they were caught, at the request of the collectivity/local group which will assume, in writing, their responsibility for protecting the treated dogs.)
● GEO 155/2001 regulating the management program for stray dogs does not provide for euthanasia of stray dogs in the imperative, it does not provide for compulsory euthanasia of dogs anywhere in the text. Also, there is no legislative provision prohibiting the reterritorialization of the dogs.
2. IREC wrongly says "according to legislation in force in Romania... there exists no category called "community dogs" („conform legislaţiei în vigoare în România …nu există categoria de “câine comunitar”)
On the contrary, in GD 955/2004 amended and supplemented, under "public service rendering" art. 17 para. (3) you can read:
● “Conform normelor europene, câinii sunt consideraţi animale comunitare în acest sens fiind interzise: a) omorârea câinilor în afara instituţiilor specializate; b) prinderea şi maltratarea câinilor; c) organizarea luptelor cu câini” ("Under EU rules, dogs are considered community animals and in this respect is prohibited to: a) kill dogs outside of specialized institutions; b) to capture and mistreat dogs; c) to organize dog fights.")
3. IREC wrongly says "reterritorialization" (returning an animal on public land) would fall within the definition of "abandonment contained in Romanian animal welfare framework law" (“reteritorializarea (lăsarea unui animal pe domeniul public) intră în definiţia abandonului cuprinsă în legea cadru de protecţie a animalelor”)
This interpretation is manifestly exaggerated, biased and illogical, since:
● the definition "abandonment" contained in Romanian Animal Protection Law refers strictly to the "owner" of an animal since local authorities can not be considered the "owners" of stray dogs, although legally responsible for such animals; local authorities can not forcibly acquire ownership of these animals simply due to the mere fact that the animals are located on public domain after having been abandoned by their genuine owners (which is why there is the category of dogs without owner/abandoned, since no one can be forced to become the owner of something without the intention thereon);
● the very name "reterritorialization" in grammatically-literary terms, refers, of course, to "return to territory" / to "send back" and is in no way similar to "abandon" since this involves an action taken by an owner;
● according to HCL 502/2015. reterritorialization of sterilized, identified, vaccinated, and dewormed dogs, can be made in accordance with art. 17 para. (3) d) of GD 955/2004 amended and supplemented as follows: "the return of the dog to the area where they were caught at the request of the community / local group which will assume responsibility, in written, for protecting the treated dogs" (“reîntoarcerea câinilor în zona de unde au fost prinşi, la cererea colectivităţii/grupului local, care îşi va asumă în scris răspunderea pentru ocrotirea câinilor trataţi”)
4. IREC wrongly interpreted a quote from Decision CC Nr 383 dated 25.09.2013, namely: “…asigură autoritatea statală că aceşti câini adoptaţi nu vor fi din nou returnaţi de către adoptator pe domeniul public” ("authorities will make sure that dogs, once adopted, will not be returned by their adopter to the public domain")
● IREC once again demonstrates that it does not differentiate, either legally or the meaning of the terms "adoption" and "return / reterritorialization". For their benefit let us help them: “adoption” refers to dogs that are adopted from municipal shelters and the term is “adopted” and of course, if they were to be abandoned by their new owner, they would be termed “abandoned”. Dogs removed from their habitat in the public domain for neutering would be returned or reterritorized back to this habitat. Surprisingly enough this process is termed “returning “ or "reterritorization”.
5. IREC wrongly shows / invokes various classifications of "stray dogs"
First, it is noticeable that IREC highlights the phrase "stray dogs" among many other problems for the citizens of Ploiesti. Those who are animal lovers / protectors also wish to see a reduction of stray dogs on the streets to reduce the numbers liable to abuse, but they wish to see a succinct, humane and proven successful management strategy, not simply one which kills whilst ignoring the fact that numbers are not reducing. Indeed, as stated in the Explanatory Memorandum of HCL 502/2015, to date, the management of stray dogs by either catching and accommodating the animals in the public shelter, or by killing them, has had no successful effect. They quote:
● "The measures applied in the last period of 15 years for capturing and incarceration, or euthanasia of stray dogs showed no results" („măsurile întreprinse în ultimii 15 ani pentru capturarea şi cazarea ori eutanasierea câinilor fără stăpân de pe domeniu public nu au dat rezultate”)
● “given the situation of stray dogs from Ploiesti, which despite the efforts of the municipality is failing to significantly improve, uniform measures are required to be applied in the whole administrative territorial unit in order to reduce the local potential growth of the canine population that at the end affects the citizens when simply being abandoned and becoming stray dogs"„ („având în vedere situaţia câinilor fără stăpân de pe rază Municipiului Ploieşti, care în ciuda eforturilor administraţiei locale nu este pe cale a se ameliora semnificativ se impune adoptarea unor măsuri unitare la nivel de unitate administrativ teritorială care să diminueze potenţialul local al creşterii populaţiei canine ce ajunge în final a afecta cetăţenii, devenind câini fără stăpân”)
6. IREC incorrectly refers to certain details of the CCR decision that have no connection with the subject
In their letter, IREC were selective in choice and, deliberately and arbitrarily, altered the context of various allegations of CCR. Conversely, however, CCR decisions are required to be interpreted systematically and without forgetting to remove just the spirit of these decisions, illustrated by CCR Decision No. 1 of 11 January 2012:
● "stray dogs euthanasia solution should be applied only as a last resort, ie only when all other solutions have been properly applied by local authorities, but had not achieved its aim of limiting or eradicating this phenomena" (“soluţia eutanasierii câinilor fără stăpân trebuie să fie aplicată doar în ultimă instanţă, respectiv numai atunci când toate celelalte soluţii au fost aplicate corespunzător de către autorităţile locale, dar nu şi-au atins scopul de a limita sau de a eradica acest fenomen”)
● "The legislature is obliged, as a constitutional requirement, to involve and empower the local authorities, including through contravention or criminal sanctions, to avoid resorting to euthanasia" (“legiuitorul este obligat, ca şi cerinţă constituţională, să implice şi să responsabilizeze autorităţile publice locale, inclusiv prin sancţiuni de natură contravenţională sau penală, pentru a se evita recurgerea la măsura eutanasierii”)
● “Human dignity, under constitutional aspect, involves two inherent dimensions: human relationships, .......... and relation of human with the environment, including animals, which implies, with regards at animals, the moral responsibility of human beings to care for these beings in a manner that illustrate the level of civilization attained." ("Demnitatea umană, sub aspect constituţional, presupune două dimensiuni inerente, respectiv relaţiile dintre oameni, .........., precum şi relaţia omului cu mediul înconjurător, inclusiv cu lumea animală, ceea ce implică, în privinţa animalelor, responsabilitatea morală a omului de a îngriji aceste fiinţe într-un mod de natură a ilustra nivelul de civilizaţie atins.”)
7. IREC incorrectly states that: "reterritorialization has had no positive effects in any country in which this method was applied"
On the contrary, the opposite is true. This has been the most successful strategy applied in many countries around the world. Wherever applied, sterilization and reterritorialization was the only strategy that worked, while all other methods have failed. Like all other allegations of IREC, are these just a mere opinion of either their members, or their Führer, Ana Maita. They are unsubstantiated, unfounded and devoid of any verifiable evidence. The more ridiculous are the claims of IREC since they directly contradict opinions and directives of global organizations such as the World Health Organization.
Correct is that in the past, the capture and killing of stray dogs has been the dominant strategy to reduce dog populations and dog zoonoses. In the late 1980s, lethal dog-control programs were challenged on both ethical and efficiency grounds. Mass removal strategies have been criticized because they fail to discriminate between owned and stray dogs and use cruel methods of removal. Rather than reducing rabies risk, the culling of dogs in countries increases population turnover and movement, which, in turn, facilitate disease transmission. Following the elimination of dogs, new dogs repopulate the areas through compensatory breeding and migration.
While WHO initially supported the culling of stray dogs, it now concedes that removal of dogs does not stop the problem and only offers a temporary “solution”, nor does it reduce the spread of rabies (WHO, Geneva, 1990).
Statistical studies indicate that in order to fully control a stray population, you need to achieve a 70 percent sterilization rate of the animals within a particular community. Once you reach the 70 percent threshold, the probability that an unsterilized female comes into contact with an unsterilized male is sufficiently small, and the population stops growing. Killing stray animals, however, does not stop the problem”. The World Health Organization’s “Guidelines for Dog Population Management” (Geneva 1990) and various other academic studies show that killing dogs is ineffective.
A very important component of C-N-R is the return of the animals back to their territory and that has its reasons. If the captured, neutered, registered and vaccinated dogs are not being returned back to their territory, the remaining dogs, or the newly abandoned dogs, will breed in larger numbers due to the fact that they will use the whole food resources available, and the empty place after the dogs have been removed, will soon be occupied by other ones in search of food and shelter.
According to the Red Panda Association, a dog can travel up to 7 kilometers in a single day looking for a space with sufficient resources, where he/she can settle and breed, and an area free from competition will be very easy to identify. If, however, that territory is held by neutered dogs these will consume the resources the un-neutered dogs would need. If the neutered dog is being returned to his/her territory, he/she will fight off and keep away newer dogs from entering his/her area, including those that are probably not sterilized and thus stop the reproduction in this area. Their number will stabilize in this manner, and reduce. Neutered dogs would naturally disappear from the streets in a few years, because their average life in the street is 3 to 7 years. 
A “Catch & Kill" policy, as currently in practice in Romania, will not work because it is aimed at the wrong target. Stray, feral dogs are not the source of the problem. The dog flourishes only in the company of human beings; accordingly, feral dogs are the least reproductively successful. In contrast, the offspring of kept or owned dogs (whether family dogs or neighbourhood dogs) often survive. The latter are the source of the next generation of unsupervised “street” dogs. This is why a “Neuter, Vaccinate & Return” policy works, whereas Catch & Kill does not.
A successful stray management policy must include all owned dogs, because the abandoned dogs are the source of the next generation of unsupervised “street” dogs. People living in cities abandon dogs in rural areas, hoping these will become yard dogs in someone’s household, while those living in rural areas abandon them in urban areas hoping that these will find food in landfills or around restaurants or butcheries. This type of abandonment is a constant source of dogs that will breed.
According to Canine Rabies Blueprint 
● “Euthanasia only deals with the symptoms of a population management problem, and not the cause.”
● “Dog culling (i.e. removal) has never been effective in controlling or eliminating dog rabies and can often be counterproductive”.
According to WHO Expert Consultation on Rabies 
● “There is no evidence that removal of dogs has a significant impact on the dog population density or the spread of rabies.”
● “Mass culling of dogs should not be an element of a rabies control strategy: it is ineffective and can be counterproductive to vaccination programmes”.
According to WHO Guidelines for Dog Population Management
● “In the long term, control of reproduction is by far the most effective strategy of dog population management”. 
● “Animals kept as pets are the group which reproduce most successfully, and so methods aimed at them should have the greatest effect”. 
● “In order to achieve long term reductions in dog populations, the strategies selected must include controlling the reproduction of owned dogs” 
● “Removal and killing of dogs should never be considered as the most effective way of dealing with a problem of surplus dogs in the community: it has no effect on the root cause of the problem”. 
● “Neuter, Vaccinate & Return” addresses the root of the problem, “Catch & Kill” only the symptoms, as also evidenced by the following examples:
● In 2001, the stray dog population in Bucharest was estimated at 70,000 dogs. The same year, Traian Basescu - the then-mayor of Bucharest - launched a campaign that led to the extermination of about 144,000 stray dogs in the capital alone, spending almost 9,000,000 Euros (62 Euros per dog killed) during the period from 2001-2007. Four years later, in 2011, when a mass-extermination was considered again for the first time, authorities claimed that 50,000 stray dogs were still/again roaming the streets of the Romanian capital and of which 60 percent were sterilized. In September 2013, at the time the current Law 258/2013 was introduced, the authorities claimed that there were about 65,000 street dogs living in Bucharest. ASPA claims having removed 55,000 dogs in 2013 and 2014, and ASPA's budget, as allocated by the town hall of Bucharest for this same period being of 11.842.420,39 EURO means that the costs involved in removing ONE dog were of 215,31 EUR. That said: from 2001 till 2014, a total of 199,000 dogs have been killed in the capital alone at a total cost of 20.842.420,39 EURO.
"Catch & Kill” has not permanently solved the stray dog problem anywhere in the world, and is often carried out inhumanely. In contrast, by means of a “Neuter, Vaccinate & Return” strategy, a reduction of the unsupervised dog population in six years to less than 10 % of its starting level has been evidenced even in pilot cities in Romania.
● ORADEA had a stray dog population of 4,000 animals in 2006 which had been reduced to 350 animals until 2011 at a cost of 14 Euros to spay/neuter one dog. The program was run and funded by Robert Smith - FPCC/Dog - Project Oradea, UK, in collaboration with the city hall Oradea. The sterilization project included dogs with owner, and was accompanied by education programs in schools, education of owners on responsible animal ownership including on the importance and benefits of sterilization which lead to a significant reduction of the numbers of abandoned animals and thus reduced the stray dog population. The Oradea Program and the achieved results are known internationally and are often cited even in the European Parliament.
● LUGOJ had a stray dog population of 2,500 animals in 2008 which had been reduced to 235 animals until 2011 at a cost of 12 Euros to spay/neuter one dog. The program was run and funded by the city hall Lugoj in collaboration with the local animal welfare organization, Free Amely 2007
● TURKEY - Muslim country, killing applied for decades resulting in a significant increase of the number of dogs in the street. The extent of the phenomenon prompted reconsideration of the program and following studies conducted in 2006, a complete law on a unified management of strays dogs through sterilization and return, was developed. Although the program has not been implemented in a focused manner, the population of community dogs was greatly reduced. At the same time, campaigns conducted by municipalities and NGOs have led to increased awareness, compassion, and respect for dogs with implications including raising the education level of communities.
● INDIA, MADRAS - stray dogs had been killed for more than 100 years (from 1860 to 1995) with the sole result that the number of dogs in the street as well as the number of rabies cases in humans increased in proportion to the killing rate; if in 1860, only ONE dog was killed per day in shelters, their number reached 135 dogs killed daily in 1995. In 1995, an ABC (Animal Birth Control) Program (Capture - Sterilization - Return) was introduced in Chennai and Japura, and extended to the whole Madras region six months later. After the implementation of the ABC program in Chennai, the number of human rabies deaths decreased from 120 cases in 1996, to 5 cases in 2004. The number of bites dropped from 170 to 25 over a year and a half.
8. IREC wants to inoculate through their own interpretations, and give a false idea on a possible view of Ploiesti citizens that suggests (from the IREC point of view) euthanasia, but is nowhere to be found in the examples.
On the contrary, according to a legal procedure, applied broadly, citizens of Ploiesti converge towards adopting civilised strategies and ethical strategies of neutering and return of the dogs. On 30 May 2012, the Human Rights Alliance of Romania (ADOR) held a public hearing on the topic of identifying strategies for solving the situation of stray dogs. The public hearing consisted of a transparent process of collection of opinions that any group, organization, institution and individual concerned in this issue could contribute to in order to determine and to adopt local public policies on this issue.
Directions dictated by the views, collected through depositions, and which are a result of a majority, are listed as well in the Synthesis Report of the Public Hearing, we quote:
● "The existence of stray dogs issue comes mainly from the lack of education that generates massive abandonment from private property (thousands of abandoned dogs annually in the streets) and this fact requires intense educational campaign in order to bring awareness and accountability for the owners towards their own animals, awareness of the harm towards the animals, society and nature." („Existenţa problemei câinilor comunitari derivă în primul rând din lipsa educaţiei care generează şi abandonul masiv din proprietate privată (mii de câini abandonaţi anual în stradă) fapt pentru care se impune o campanie intensă educaţională în scopul responsabilizării faţă de animalele proprii, conştientizării răului produs animalelor, societăţii dar şi naturii.")
● "Euthanasia has not reduced the number of dogs in the street anywhere and involves permanent very high costs" ("Eutanasia nu a redus nicăieri numărul câinilor în stradă şi implică costuri foarte mari şi permanente")
● "Euthanasia has destructive effects on Romanian society, it polarizes the citizens, and encourages violence, up to inducing the idea that killing can be a solution to solve a problem." ("Eutanasia are efecte distructive asupra societăţii româneşti, de la dezbinarea cetăţenilor şi încurajarea violenţei, până la inducerea ideii că uciderea poate reprezenta o soluţie pentru rezolvarea unei probleme.")
● "We all have an obligation to help to solve the situation: authorities, institutions with educative role, NGOs and citizens" (Toţi au obligaţia de a contribui la rezolvarea situaţiei: autorităţi, instituţii cu rol educogen, ONGuri şi cetăţeni")
● Solving the situation of stray dogs - by:
- Educational programs
- Neutering, identification, registration in a database of all dogs, with and without an owner, and returning them to their territory
- Establishment of a fee for the owners with un-neutered dogs
- Establishment of mini-shelters for dogs which can't be returned to the territory
- Stimulating the adoption "
As a continuation of the public hearing in 2013, ADOR organized an advocacy campaign titled "No dogs on the streets - by ethics and reason", which brought to light the need to implement urgently a coherent, civilized, ethical, and efficient manner of dog population management, and which also formed a base for the conceptual draft of the Local Council Decision, and within three years the original form was amended to reach to a form that includes all elements necessary for a successful dog management program.
9. IREC wrongly uses an article quoting a local website "The city is full of dogs", "people complain" noting that "two days before the vote on this HCL, on 13/12/2015, citizens of Ploiesti expressed their concern regarding the presence of packs of stray dogs on the streets "
On the contrary, this statement comes just in support of the reasons that led to the adoption of HCL 502/2015, namely that the dog population management by either accommodating the dogs in the local public shelter, or by killing them, and practiced for about 15 years, showed no results in the streets but rather the canine population increased due to continued abandon and compensatory breeding of the remaining dogs.
10. IREC wrongly states that the guide "Dog Population Management" of the World Health Organization "contains no recommendations on the use of the Capture-Sterilization-Retu
On the contrary, "Guidelines for Dog Population Management" (correct name) as drafted by the World Health Organization (and WSPA) complains that euthanasia was no solution wherever applied:
“Removal and killing of dogs should never be considered as the most effective way of dealing with a problem of surplus dogs in the community: it has no effect on the root cause of the problem”
“In the long term, control of reproduction is by far the most effective strategy of dog population management”
"Each habitat has a specific ability to care for each species. This capacity depends on the specific resources available (shelter, food, water). The density of a population of higher vertibrates (including dogs) is almost always based on the ability to care for the environment. Any reduction in population density through mortality is rapidly compensated by better reproduction and survival. In other words, when the dogs are removed, the survivors will increase because they have more access to resources and will be less competition to reach them“
11. IREC says that the capital Bucharest had seen a steady growth of the stray dog population during the time reterritorialization was applied, and that it came to dramatic drop in the number of stray dogs, as well as the number of bites, once current legislation was applied and the dogs had been removed and ultimately killed.
Correct is that Bucharest town hall has never applied an effective sterilization program that must include owned dogs. As previously explained at length, stray, feral dogs are not the source of the problem. The dog flourishes only in the company of human beings; accordingly, feral dogs are the least reproductively successful. In contrast, the offspring of kept or owned dogs (whether family dogs or neighbourhood dogs) often survive. The latter are the source of the next generation of unsupervised “street” dogs.
Regarding "decrease in the number of bites" which is often used as an argument to demonstrate that Romania's extermination policy works, we would like to say that things are, however, not as simple as that.
● The next document issued by National Institute of Infectious Diseases Matei Bals covers the period from 01.01.2013 till 30.06.2015 and what is interesting at this document is that not only did the number of bites caused by dogs without owner (fara stapan) decrease, but so did also the number of bites caused by dogs with owner (cu stapan), by cats (pisica) and even those caused by other animals such as rats (altre animale), meaning a downward trend of all carnivore bites.
● Evidently, the removal from the streets of the stray dogs could NOT have influenced the number or behaviour of the other animals reflected in the statistics, what means that there is no certain correlation between the temporary decrease of the number of stray dogs and the diminished number of bites.
● According to the data provided by the National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Prof. Dr. Matei Balș” of Bucharest the total number of stray dog bites in 2013 was of merely 6,886 in the entire country. Assuming that in Bucharest, where the aggressivity rate is higher than in the rest of the towns a number of 5,000 persons were bitten and considering that the stray dog population is estimated relatively at 40,000 – 50,000 dogs, it follows that ONLY one dog of 10 bites, and this only once a year. (Realistically it is more likely to assume that one dog out of 20 has bitten twice a year or one dog out of 30 has bitten thrice a year)!
The aggressivity indicators of the stray dogs are artificially amplified also by the false declarations of some owners such as to avoid paying for rabies vaccination from their own pocket.
If you take a look at the figures on dog bites registered between January 2004 and September 2014, shared also by Institute Matei Bals (see 1st picture below), as well as the graphical interpretation below (2nd picture below), you will see that the number of bites registered as having been caused by "dogs without owner", had already started to decrease after May 2013 (marked by a red arrow) while stray dog capturing and killing has started only in 2014.
If we were to take into consideration the numbers put forward by ASPA Bucharest (the Authority for Animal Monitoring and Protection) concerning the capturing of 55,000 of 65,000 dogs by the end of 2014 and correlate these with the number of bites recorded in 2014 and the diminishing rate of the number of bites already existing between 2012 and 2013, an interesting result is obtained. Thus, if we disregard the significant decreasing trend of 2013 (which can be reasonably assumed to have continued also in the absence of the slaughtering initiated by the dog-catchers of Bucharest), we can notice that although the number of dogs has allegedly decreased 6.5 times, the number of bites has decreased only 2.38 times, that is three times less than the decrease of the dog population.
More so, if we consider also the decreasing trend started in 2013 (probably generated by the reduction of the stray dog population by castration) we would arrive at the conclusion that the SLAUGHTERING OF MORE THAN 70% of the dogs has led merely to an ANAEMIC DECREASE OF THE NUMBER OF BITES, namely 1.2 times, and WHICH IS ABSURD.
In reality, the report issued by the National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Prof. Dr. Matei Balș” of Bucharest, is a report in that the number of stray dog bites is established only based on the statements of the bitten persons, within the context of many preferring to declare to have been bitten by a stray dog, such as to not have to pay for rabies vaccination.
Over the last years, many, including Romanian NGOs, have expressed doubts about these statistics, because the people are advised by the medical staff / friends/ other patients or on their own initiative, to declare that they were bitten by unknown stray dogs in order to avoid paying for the related 8/11 treatment costs nor for the rabies vaccination. Care provided to bitten individuals costs between RON 130 and RON 400 per patient, and in case of assault by street dogs, all costs are covered by the medical unit, which probably influences the number of bites declared as being caused by stray dogs.
But even the complains point to aggressive dogs, fact is that aggressive stray dogs (who attack without being provoked) are very rare. The most serious cases of aggression have always been caused by dogs with owners, and even dogs kept on a leash.
Canine ethology is being ignored: canine behaviour is as varied as the human one. There are dogs lacking aggressive potential, and dogs that turn aggressive only when provoked. Individual, solitary dogs are almost never dangerous, unlike dogs forming packs. A dog’s aggressivity, if existing, is damped by life on the streets as the dog adapts in order to survive and be tolerated by humans.
The risks of dog attacks (which are invoked as first argument for the necessity of the extermination) are NOT eliminated if all stray dogs are being killed. The aggression of dogs with owners is still there (more dangerous and more numerous than stray dogs) which can not be completely avoided even if the most draconian security measures would be taken during their walk on the streets, even if they would be banned from walking in public places (a dog can accidentally escape from an enclosure, a car, etc.) In conclusion, dog aggression can be, mathematically speaking, eliminated ONLY by banning the ownership of dogs (like in Iran) and the extermination of all dogs. Fortunately, this will not happen because it is absurd and impossible to achieve.
Any dog can bite. From the smallest to the largest, even the most friendly, cute and easygoing dogs might bite if provoked. To reduce the number of injuries from dog bites, adults and children should be educated about bite prevention, and dog owners should practice responsible dog ownership.
● In a fatal incident end of January 2006, a Japanese tourist died of the consequences of a dog bite in downtown Bucharest. Hajime Hori, 68, was bitten in the left leg, and very unfortunately, the bite damaged an artery in his thigh and he bled to death several minutes later. The media were quick in blaming a very old female stray dog named Bosquito, having actually no teeth.
● In March 2014, the lifeless body of a drunken woman was found at the market in Odor, Bucharest, with several dog bites on her body. The media were quick in blaming the "stray dogs" for her death and reports of a "woman mauled to death in Obor" made the headlines. The autopsy report later showed that the woman choke on her own vomit and that the bites were caused post-mortem.
● Since September 2013 and for months on end, the tragic death of the young child, Ionut Anghel - also known as the child killed by stray dogs - was mentioned in the Romanian newspapers and televisions. They did shows, told stories, interviewed people who felt disturbed by dogs, they showed false statistics, they distorted the reality, and they inflamed the entire population. But too little was being mentioned that little Ionut and his older brother were left too long unsupervised by their grand mother; that they had left the park; wandered very far away; and entered a private, fenced property where dogs were at almost one kilometer from the park where their grandmother was quietly sitting on a bench, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. No-one seemed to be interested in the fact that these "dogs" on this private land could as well have been guard-dogs, perhaps even deliberately encouraged to be aggressive towards intruders. No one waited until that the final investigations were over to determine how the death of the young boy was caused; "the strays" were blamed for the death of the child, and all of Romania's homeless dogs were quickly sentenced to death. The boys's death was later found to have indeed been caused by seven guard dogs owned by a private company.
The drama of the child getting killed could NOT have been avoided even if all stray dogs would have been removed from the public domain, because the animals responsible were cared for and assumed by an owner (the guard) on a property. In the street, a public place, a tragedy of such proportion never happened and could never happen, because on one hand the animals do not display any significant amount of territorial aggressivity on intensively circulated territories like parks, streets, etc., and on the other hand such a tragedy could have occurred only on a property, in woods, in a not frequented and inaccessible area where animals become more aggressive and no one can intervene.
Dogs bite everywhere on the planet, and fatal incidents happen in all countries. Yet no country has ever blamed the entire dog population for an accident caused by one or a few dogs. The inhumane culling of dogs is unacceptable under any circumstance and an extermination policy, as currently practiced in Romania, is not an appropriate response to the presence of stray dogs, nor to incidents with DOGS anywhere in the world, let alone Europe. And this last statement bears repeating the word "DOGS", because Ionut Anghel's death (which triggered the current policy and events) was NOT caused by "stray dogs", yet a few hundred thousand innocent homeless dogs have already paid for it with their lives.
● Romania has seen 11 deaths caused by attacks from street dogs since 1990.
● 17 people have died since 2005 in the United Kingdom as a result of attacks by dogs that do have an owner.
● France recorded 33 fatal incidents with dogs during the last 20 years, yet France does not have a single street dog.
● The Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta states that there are about 4.5 to 4.7 million people bitten by owned dogs each year in the United States. It means 1 in 60 people is bitten each year by a dog with owner. Comparing the statistics of USA (where the bites were only received from owned dogs) and Romania that has a homeless dog population we can admit that EVEN THE FALSE statistic from Romania (for example, 1 in 151 people were bitten in Bucharest in 2011) is much lower than in the USA.
In reality the number of stray dog bites and fatal incidents caused by these animals is much smaller in Romania than in other countries, while the psychosis caused by these incidents is significantly greater.
World-leading experts in the LINK between animal abuse and inter-human anti-social aggression patterns, in collaboration with the University of Teesside (UK) and the University of Denver (USA), conducted a study in Bistrita and Nasaud (Romania) with a control group in Berlin (Germany). It was deemed that Romania offered a unique animal abuse environment with stray animal abuse being reported extensively throughout the country. Particular focus was placed on the effects of children witnessing and perpetrating animal abuse. This study is commonly known as the 'Making the Link' Study .
It was found that in Bistrita, 86,3% of the children had witnessed animal abuse in public. 65% claimed to have been emotionally affected by the experience. Such abuse has been identified as poisoning, hanging and mutilation of homeless animals. This provides a direct contrast to western societies where almost 50% of dog owners considered their pets to be ‘members of the family’. A survey of psychologists who practice as therapists in the USA, indicated that the overwhelming majority (87%) considered animal abuse to be a mental health issue.
Children who admitted to abusing animals also correlated with aggression against people and property. They identified a predilection for committing theft but also displayed reduced empathy and suicidal tendencies.
Animal abuser profiles typically show violence towards people and property, arson, theft and self-harming. Animal abuse was found to be NINE times more prevalent in a Romanian urban environment (Bistrita) than in a German urban environment (Berlin) and EVEN SIGNIFICANTLY MORE prevalent in a Romanian rural environment than urban. A second study also revealed strong correlations with children who abused animals and who also contemplated suicide.
According to expert opinion, one theory that might predict higher levels of violence in Romania than in Germany is 'cultural spillover theory' (Straus, 1991, 1994), which argues that living in a culture, or subculture, with high levels of socially acceptable violence may lead to a 'spillover effect', whereby those cultures also have higher levels of unacceptable violence.
In a U.S. study with states serving as the cultural variable, Baron and Straus (1988) found that states with the highest level of legitimate violence – e.g., as measured by such variables as number of hunting licenses sold, execution rates, laws permitting corporal punishment in schools, and circulation rates for magazine rates with violent content – also had higher murder rates.
Thus being part of a culture where the mistreatment of animals is a routine part of everyday-life, could result in a greater likelihood of adolescents engaging in animal abuse. Relatedly, in the first study documenting a link between institutionalized animal abuse and increased crime, Fitzgerald, Kalof and Dietz (2009) investigated the LINK between socially accepted institutionalized animal abuse and human crime. Specifically, they examined whether the “violent work” that takes place in slaughterhouses increases a community’s crime rate. To answer this question, slaughterhouses were compared with other industries (including iron and steel forging, truck trailer manufacturing, motor vehicle metal stamping, sign manufacturing, and industrial launderers), and controlled for other relevant factors, including the demographic characteristics of workers, increased unemployment rates, and social disorganization in the community.
As expected, slaughterhouse employment was significantly related to higher crime rates as well as report rates. Compared to other industries, slaughterhouse employment was linked to significantly higher total arrest rates for violent crimes, rape, and other sex offenses. These findings lend support to the notion that institutionalized, socially acceptable violence can spillover into unacceptable or illegal acts of violence.
These studies of the impact of socially legitimized and institutionalized violence on the rate of illegal violence in certain subcultures, provide support for the proposition that adolescents in Romania who are routinely exposed to the mistreatment of other animals could lead to rates of animal abuse that are higher than that of teens in other countries.
Lastly, we trust that this type of behavior, based on intimidation, used by an association which has not even the right to make legal recommendations, will not delay or hinder the application of HCL 502/2015.
This HCL is the means by which the Ploiesti municipality will be added the list of cities which have demonstrated responsibility and efficiency in managing the ownerless/homeless dogs by spending public funds efficiently, and by applying proportional and tangible measures that will achieve concrete results.
Back then, when IREC tried to manipulate Huffington Post to amend THE article with their own idiosyncratic views, they later "apologized" to Dr Pal on their Facebook-page:
"Dear Rita Pal please do not take our letter personally - we know you are probably just another victim of extremist groups' untruthful propaganda. Please see this interview with Mr. Dominic Taylor - perhaps it will help you get a better grasp on the truth about strays in Romania. He is a British expat businessman who talks about the magnitude of the stray dog problem he's experienced first-hand in Romania."
Dr Pal responded:
"The small minded often make assumptions about the broad minded. Secondly, your assumptions, of course, are inaccurate. Thirdly, no one is disputing overpopulation. The evidence demonstrates culling is not the way forward. To deny this is to deny evidence.
I have read all you have written in the past and find your position unconvincing, misdirected and non-evidence based. You are welcome to write whatever you wish. It does amuse me because I consider your narrow spectrum viewpoint to be non-evidence based. That is all I have to say on the matter.
I take nothing personally. I merely observe with a great deal of amusement. I give your letter a 2/10. Next time write your evidence in reference or link form and argue your points better. I have no objection to your right to free speech. I do have mine as well. It is for the audience to judge which of us is right. For us to judge ourselves would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.
I bid you Good Night and may I suggest you take up knitting as it would be a more constructive use of your time. All the best!"
We couldn't have said it better ourselves!
Read the original article, including loads of information, and videos, at: http://