FOUR PAWS embarks on new SAC project in Bucharest
An extensive, three-month-long neutering project has gone underway in the 6th district of the Romanian capital Bucharest. In many ways, this marks a new step in the effort to establish animal-friendly population control in Eastern Europe: Even though FOUR PAWS has been working in Romania since the 1990s with considerable success, Bucharest has often been the most difficult political territory.
The situation threatened to take a turn for the worse when bill no. 912 was passed in November of 2011, essentially opening the gates to mass killings. However, the law was stopped by the Romanian Supreme court, creating a new basis for Stray Animal Care and dealing with local authorities in Romania.
The sixth district is now the site of the first large SAC project in Bucharest in years, which will carry on until the beginning of summer. The District City Council and its mayor Cristian Constantin Poteras had even approached FOUR PAWS about the project before the Supreme Court ruling and thereby taken an independent decision in favor of a sustainable and modern stray animal policy. Upon signing the agreement, which also rules out dog killings and poisonings on behalf of the district authorities, Poteras thanked FOUR PAWS for offering its services to the municipality for free and announced that a shelter for 500 animals will be built in the near future.
A model project for Bucharest
Since the middle of March, a team of veterinarians and dog catchers is neutering, vaccinating and treating animals in the area. Each dog will also be registered and tagged before being re-released into a better, safer life. Right after the project was announced, citizens began contacting FOUR PAWS for more information and expressing support. This will be mirrored in a multi-media info campaign, which answers the most important questions, does away with persistent myths about stray animals and keeps people updated on the progress. The new SAC effort will serve as a model for an efficient approach to stray animal politics in Bucharest and hopefully yield many follow-up projects.