Could it be that the homeless dog problem is unsolvable in the 21st Century? Absolutely not!
It would be easy to solve if:
– the authorities would want to solve it
– no owner of companion animals would abandon a dog or cat
– animal lovers would direct their efforts towards understanding this apparently unsolvable problem, so as to mobilize efforts and obtain real results
– the program of “spay/neuter & release” vehemently supported by certain foundations for animal protection CAN NOT solve the homeless animals problem without measures taken to also prevent and stop abandonment
This information had the same fate: no answer from anyone.
Ignored by the authorities, I tried my luck with the ONGs. I proposed to unite our efforts and launch a mass neuter/spay campaign for dogs with owners in order to prevent new abandoned dogs from appearing (shelters can not accommodate all existing dogs, let alone any more that are constantly abandoned). Otherwise, we will end up helplessly watching how thousands of animals will end up being killed. This effort was also in vain.
Since then, I never hesitated to explain to anyone willing to listen about the need to control the population of companion animals, dogs and cats, as being the only solution to the homeless animals problem.
Our actions were not limited to petitions, meetings or discussions. We organized several rallies with the purpose of getting the attention of both authorities and the public regarding the tragic situation of animals in Romania and the ways in which the problem can be solved.
Our efforts once again proved futile. When they want to, the authorities can be deaf and blind. These handicaps seem to apply at least when it comes to the animal protection issue.
In 2006, I had new hope in my heart when I met senator Marius Marinescu.
Following many discussions on the subject of animal protection, he concluded that we can change the fate of animals only if we can change the laws. Said and done: a long period of study and gathering documentation regarding legislation in counties where the homeless animal population is under control followed. What we thought regarding the measures that need to be taken in order to solve the homeless animals problem we also found in the laws of civilized countries:
1. population control
2. identification and registration of animals in a national database
3. forbidding the breeding of companion animals with some exceptions
4. taxes for companion animals (these are a lot higher for animals that are not spayed/neutered)
5. punishment commesurate with the crime, including incarceration
With this in mind, we proposed amendments to the following two laws:
1. Law 205/2004 regarding animal protection
2. OG 155/2001 regarding the management program of homeless dogs
keeping in mind the legislation in place in other countries, as well as the situation in Romania. Thus emerged the two new legislative proposals for the modification and completion of the laws mentioned above.
Before being submitted to the senate, the two proposals suffered modifications following the intervention of the ANSVSA representatinve. In our opinion, these modifications were not beneficial, on the contrary, they succeeded in aggravating the problem over time.
The fact that the identification and registration requirement for animals was moved from Law 205 to OG 155 means that there is no way to control the breeding of animals, which in turn means that any citizen who grows tired of his/her companion animal is able to abandon the animal without fear of any punishment.
We do not know if this change was made with the purpose of continuing to allow owners of companion animals to abandon them without fear, but considering that it was within the power of the ANSVSA to ammend its own law and take measures to stop the abandonment from private property into the public domain and did not do it even after all our protests, we can only conclude one thing: there is a significant interest in keeping the homeless dog and cat situation unresolved.
Click here to see Law 205/2004 regarding the protection of animals before and after the discussions with ANSVSA
After they were submitted, the laws suffered once again numerous ammendments, some of which brought precious improvements. The proposal refering to Law 205/2004 was promulgated in January 2008, and became Law 9/2008 regarding animal protection.
The second proposal remains on the desk of deputees, and in the meantime, the number of homeless animals is increasing at an alarming rate, and their abandonment from private property onto public property is reaching alarming levels.