04 March 2011

Five day countdown as a quarter of a million dogs face death in legislation overhaul

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, today called on British dog lovers to help save hundreds of thousands of street dogs’ lives in Romania following shocking reports of new legislation imminently legalising their mass euthanasia.

The charity has created a Facebook page where British dog lovers can show their support to keep the ban on mass euthanasia and introduce a neutering campaign.  As British tourists are valued visitors to Romania, Dogs Trust is hopeful that the authorities will take notice of their objections and support for the Facebook campaign.  Dogs Trust has just five days to raise awareness of the issue before the Romanian Government votes on the new legislation.

There are no official statistics regarding the total number of street dogs in Romania, but with an estimated 80,000 dogs living on the street in Bucharest alone, the problem is deep-rooted and far-reaching. Mass euthanasia of street dogs was outlawed in 2008 but the Romanian Parliament is set to overhaul the legislation next week.

David Newall, International Director at Dogs Trust, says:

“We’re urging UK dog lovers to support our call to the Romanian government to introduce the only humane, effective solution – a long-term mass neutering project.

Their previous attempts to control the street dog population by shooting or poisoning them were both barbaric and ineffective. Thousands of dogs died or were badly injured in the process and the number of dogs on the streets did not fall because the remaining ones simply continued to breed.

Neutering is the only solution proven to control street dog population and aside from being the humane option would even save local authorities money as it costs just half the amount of euthanasia. We’re appealing to the Romanian’s government’s pockets as well as their hearts.”

Research carried out by Dogs Trust last year revealed that 87% of Romanians disagree with mass euthanasia and see it as an abhorrent practice while 50% of urban Romanian citizens would be willing to donate 1 Euro towards a humane initiative to reduce the street dog problem.

To support the Facebook campaign, please visit

Notes to editors:

  • Why are there so many street dogs in Romania? In the 1980s the Communist President Nicolae Ceausescu called for the demolition of traditional housing across the country and built large numbers of high rise apartment blocks. Romanian citizens had only three days notice to move and were forced to leave their pet dogs on the street but continued to feed them. The dogs quickly adapted to the new urban setting and, neutering being relatively rare at that time, their numbers soon multiplied. There are now hundreds of thousands of dogs living on the streets in Romania.
  • Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for 16,000 abandoned and unwanted dogs through its network of 17 rehoming centres across the country. Its international department is growing and works in Europe primarily, addressing the issues with street dogs and working with local NGOs.
  • For more information about the proposed neutering project visit 

For further information, interview or images contact:

Krystyna McGrath - Press Officer - 0207 833 7616 -

Hannah Macey - Press Officer - 0207 833 7608 -

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