Romanian animal protection authority ASPA facing criminal prosecution
Following a complaint by FOUR PAWS, the Bucharest Authority for Surveillance and Protection of Animals (ASPA), officially subordinate to Bucharest City Hall, is facing prosecution for theft, abuse of power and destruction of property.
ASPA dogcatchers mistreated dogs
FOUR PAWS filed a complaint to the police against ASPA on 21 March 2014, after several ASPA dogcatchers mistreated and illegally took 18 dogs being treated by FOUR PAWS. They broke the entry lock of the FOUR PAWS veterinary clinic in Bucharest’s 6th District, took the dogs by brute force and vandalized the post-operation enclosures. Some of the dogs were ill or in post-operative treatment. The aggression was directed not only against the FOUR PAWS enclosures but also against the shelter in which the clinic is situated. The ASPA dogcatchers took a total of 90 dogs to the public shelter of Bragadiru near Bucharest. Nine dogs died because of the extremely cruel handling. On 24 March 2014, due to massive media pressure, the administration of the shelter Bragadiru returned 17 of the 18 dogs to FOUR PAWS.
More and more details of the authority’s brutal practices are coming to light
Four former ASPA dogcatchers disclosed to the media the brutal methods used for capturing the stray dogs. They accused ASPA of forcing them to capture as many dogs as possible, without tranquilizers, without proper instructions, and generally regardless of the methods used. “The instruments used for catching the dogs were in poor condition. The steel cable should have been covered by rubber, but the soft rubber shell was missing”, explained one of the former dogcatchers. “The majority of the dogs suffered during capture and most of them had blood in their mouths afterwards. Some of the dogs died while being caught or during transport.” They also said that the dogs were spending as much as 14 hours inside the vans before being discharged to the public dog pounds, and that some of them were already dead because of the violent treatment. Irrespective of the physical condition of the animals, the three private companies hired by ASPA were charging over 50 euros per captured animal. ASPA head Razvan Bancescu replied to these accusations that “the capturing methods are not the most elegant, but they are according to the law”. FOUR PAWS is asking the National Sanitarian Veterinarian Authority ANSVSA to check the legality of these deadly methods, reminding them that, according to the law, hurting the animals during capture is strictly forbidden.
Mass killing of stray dogs started
Romania’s brutal mass killing of stray dogs program officially started in February 2014. At least five cities, including Bucharest, are officially killing stray dogs. More and more cities are announcing mass killing. The killing law came into force in September 2013 following the tragic killing of a child by some dogs a month earlier. The new legislation allows for the capture of stray dogs in public spaces and the keeping of captured dogs in shelters for a period of 14 days. If during these 14 days the dog is not reclaimed by its owner or adopted, it can be killed. This enables the killing of healthy dogs as well, irrespective of their age.
According to ASPA’s own statement, in Bucharest alone 18,000 stray dogs have already been caught, 8,200 adopted, 2,700 put in public shelters and 7,100 killed.
FOUR PAWS asks all animal lovers to support the online protest for Romanian stray dogs calling on the Romanian Prime Minister to quash the law which allows the mass killing of stray dogs: www.four-paws.org/nokilling