We had to pay a visit to Bucurestii Noi yesterday morning, to Jiului to be precise, and as we emerged from the metro we were met by a pack of four rather unpleasant looking, and ferociously barking stray dogs. They appeared to have emerged from the courtyard of a factory whose gates had been left unlocked.
We were rather taken aback: it was the first time we had seen a pack of strays in Bucharest in quite a while. We still spot the odd stray here and there, but for many months now the number of strays terrorising the Romanian capital’s streets has clearly been decreasing; fast. It’s perhaps time to recognise that some areas of the capital (and our own, Vitan, is one of them) are now dog free.
The agency responsible for stray dogs, ASPA, last week published figures which would suggest the dog problem is indeed becoming a thing of the past: it estimates the number of strays in Bucharest to now be as low as 4,000: that’s a huge decrease since the last major dog census was carried out in 2013, when there were almost 65,000.
This of course begs the question: Where have all the dogs gone? To be perfectly honest, we don’t really care, but according to ASPA around 20,000 have been adopted, 2,000 remain in shelters and 26,000 have been put down. The boss of ASPA, Razvan Bancescu, made some rather bizarre claims about how dogs being sent abroad for adoption were being mistreated. The dog NGOs denied the claims, and for once we’re inclined to believe them.
What’s important of course is that the dogs are no longer on our streets, and that things stay that way: dog numbers have fallen in the past (although never as low as current levels) only to increase again very quickly. Keeping the streets safe is an ongoing task.
It is also a shame that a small boy had to die before something got done.
Loads more on the stray dog issue in Life passim.