Street dogs in Bucharest

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In Bucharest – the capital city of Romania – the problem of stray dogs (maidanezi in Romanian) has been acknowledged for decades.[1] The number of stray dogs has been reduced drastically since 2014, following the death of a four-year-old child who was attacked by a dog.[2] In 2015, the Bucharest City Hall stated that over 51,200 stray dogs were captured between October 2013 and January 2015, with more than half being euthanized, about 23,000 being adopted, and 2,000 still residing in the municipality's shelters.[3] The issue has not only been a heated subject of debate in Bucharest, but also on a nationwide scale.[4]

Stray dogs using a crosswalk in Bucharest, late 2011


Feral puppies in Bucuresti in 2008

The problem has arisen as a result of systematization, a policy imposed during the Communist regime that ruled Romania for decades. Systematization forced people to move into apartment blocks and abandon their dogs.[5]

The problem escalated in 2004, when the legislative framework that allowed the euthanasia of unclaimed stray dogs was repealed.[6][7]

On 10 September 2013, the Parliament of Romania approved the Stray Dogs Euthanasia Law with an absolute majority.[8]

On 24 September 2013, the Constitutional Court of Romania deemed the law to be in compliance with the Constitution of Romania.[9]

On 25 September 2013, the President of Romania Traian Băsescu signed the Stray Dogs Euthanasia Law.[10]

Prior to 25 September 2013 (source ? Legislation in 2001 authorizes euthanasia[11]) (see below), the legislative framework of Romania did not allow the euthanasia of unclaimed stray dogs. The standard procedure stated that stray dogs were to be captured by an animal control officer. The dogs would then be taken to animal shelters operated independently by animal rights NGOs.[12] At the shelter, the dogs were due to be sterilized and – if no one legally adopted them – they would be sent back on the streets or sent abroad for adoption.[13][14][15]


Until the mid-2010s, dog bites occurred on a regular basis as a result of the stray dog situation. In 2012 alone, 16,192 people were bitten by dogs in Bucharest. Out of these, 3,300 were children.[16]

At least three deaths have occurred in Bucharest as a result of dog packs biting citizens. Those who died were either elderly or children.[17]

The issue of stray dogs gained international attention in 2006, when a Japanese citizen was bitten by dogs on Victory Square. The man died as a result of hemorrhagic shock caused by one of the many dog bites that severed an artery.[18] The dog that was determined to have bitten the man was adopted by a German family and died of old age in April 2013.[19]

In January 2011, a Romanian woman was lethally bitten by a dog. She died as a result of hemorrhagic shock, also caused by a dog bite that severed an artery.[20]

Death of Ionuț Anghel[edit]

The situation escalated rapidly on 2 September 2013, when a four-year-old boy was attacked[21][22] by a stray dog in the proximity of a park in Bucharest. The event caused an instant outcry in the Romanian society.[23] His death led to a series of changes in the legislative framework that allowed the euthanasia of stray dogs in an easier manner.[24][25]

The child was playing together with his six-year-old brother, away from adult supervision. The two children were playing near private property, when a pack of dogs suddenly attacked the young boy. Since there were no adults around, his six-year-old brother ran away to get help from his grandmother (the woman was looking after them). By the time the grandmother arrived at the scene together with the police, the boy was found dead and disfigured in a bush.

Two days later, it was revealed that the dog that bit the child was registered to an animal rights NGO.[26][27]

The reactions to his death were almost unanimously that of shock. The accident was listed as breaking news on news channels in Romania for multiple days. Protests were organized – both in favor of[28] and against[29] – the stray dogs euthanasia laws.[30] After the mauling incident, gruesome retaliatory acts against stray dogs were reported — including disfigurement and burning puppies to death.[31]

The then President of Romania Traian Băsescu urged the legislature to establish a set of laws urgently.[32] The Prime Minister of Romania stated that he would support the Stray Dogs Euthanasia Law.[33] As a result of the death, an investigation was started; those found guilty by a court of law will be sanctioned according to penal law.


The issue of stray dogs in Bucharest has multiple parties, each bearing an interest in the issue.

Asociația Cuțu Cuțu[edit]

Asociația Cuțu Cuțu (literally translated Doggie Doggie Association in English) is a Romanian NGO that focuses on animal rights, and more specifically, stray dogs. It was founded in 2002 and has been lobbying against euthanasia, and other laws concerning stray dogs. It has been created as a response to the abuse stray dogs are facing.[34]

In September 2013, an incident concerning a stray dog bite that led to the death of a four-year-old boy[35] brought ACC back under national and international media attention.[36][37]


On May 4, 2012, Cuțu Cuțu issued a press release, which was flagged as "shocking", "terrible" and has been associated with Reductio ad Hitlerum by the Romanian mass-media and bloggers.[38][39][40] The press release compared dog shelters with the Nazi concentration camps. Two days after the press release, the association has released another press statement, which mentioned the fact that they are not antisemitic and have "plenty of Romanian Jewish friends". Furthermore, it has been mentioned that what they wanted to point out is that the authorities treat dogs the way Jews were treated in 1940.[41]

The National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD) has self-mandated and is going to start an inquiry.[42]

Later in May 2012, the head of the Municipality of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, repealed the accusations. He said that his aim is to sterilize the stray dogs and take them off the streets.[43] The media responded positively towards his statement.[44]

Vier Pfoten[edit]

Vier Pfoten (Four paws in English) – an international animal welfare organisation – has been actively involved in lobbying for improvements in animal welfare in Romania for many years and runs CNR (capture, neuter, release) projects to manage the stray animal population in a humane and effective way working with municipalities across Romania, as well as supporting Speranta shelter (a shelter for 500 rescued stray dogs) close to Bucharest.


The first letter was sent in the Stray Dogs Euthanasia Law. She deemed the project to be a "project of systematic extermination".[45] Furthermore, Bardot appealed to the "majority" in order to find a "solution approved by the European Union, from which Romania has been part of since 2007". The content of the letter has been received with criticism and skepticism in Romania.[46] The President of Romania responded by saying that "Brigitte Bardot was beautiful during the reign of the Kings of France".[47]

The second later was addressed to the "president of the unfortunate Romanian nation". Bardot stated that the President of Romania is "the successor of Nicolae Ceaușescu". In the letter, she asked "where the money from the European Commission was" and "where the 3.42 million vaccinated dogs were". Bardot said that "the dogs are paying with their life as a result of a corrupt management".[48] She ended the letter by saying that she had "pleasant memories about Romania", but that she is "currently comparing it to hell".[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How Bucharest Ended Up With One of the World's Worst Stray Dog Problems". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Bucureștiul a rămas fără maidanezi. ASPA: Mai sunt în jur de 1.500 de câini pe străzi. Am adunat 55.000". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  3. ^ Insider, Romania (16 January 2015). "What happened to the 51,000 stray dogs captured in Bucharest? – Romania Insider". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Cum să NU faci o dezbatere publică: problema maidanezilor – Academia Catavencu". Academia Catavencu. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Die Welt: De cand Ceausescu a daramat Centrul Vechi, maidanezii terorizeaza bucurestenii". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Legalistică eutanasierea cainilor maidanezi – detalii CCR Curtea Constituţională a Romaniei". 7 July 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  7. ^ "ACTUALIZARE: Ponta îl acuză pe fostul primar Băsescu că nu a rezolvat problema maidanezilor". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  8. ^ "UPDATE Vot final: Proiectul de lege privind cainii fara stapan a fost adoptat cu 266 voturi pentru si 23 impotriva. Circa 200 de oameni au protestat in Parcul Izvor impotriva eutanasierii". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Vom scăpa de maidanezi? CCR și Traian Băsescu au avizat Legea eutanasierii - Ştiri interne -". 25 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Președintele a promulgat Legea eutanasierii maidanezilor. CCR o declarase constituţională". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  11. ^[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ "ASPA: Trei firme, 11 maşini şi 32 de hingheri, pentru strângerea câinilor din Capitală". Archived from the original on 17 August 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  13. ^ "EXCLUSIV PRINT. ATENŢIE! Unde ajung MAIDANEZII prinşi de hingherii privaţi, CU 219 LEI BUCATA!". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Telegraf Online – tag". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  15. ^ "VIDEO Reportaj Spiegel TV: Vânătoarea maidanezilor din București. Un război în care pierdem cu toţii?". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Bucureşti: Peste 16.000 de oameni au fost muşcaţi de câini în 2012 – Institutul Matei Balş". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Câţi oameni trebuie să mai moară ca să vă faceţi treaba? - Ştiri interne -". 5 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Stirea mortii japonezului ucis de caine face inconjurul lumii". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Ce a patit cainele care a ucis un japonez la Bucuresti, in 2006, aparat de Paula Iacob in instanta – B365". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Femeia ucisă de maidanezi a fost înmormântată astăzi". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  21. ^ "CUTREMURATOR: Noi detalii despre moartea lui Ionut, baiatul mancat de caini! -". 7 October 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Dom' primar, ţi-am adus poza cu Ionuţ mâncat de câini!". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  23. ^ Insider, Romania (3 September 2013). "Four year old dead after alleged stray dogs attack near Bucharest park – Romania Insider". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  24. ^ "Legea eutanasierii câinilor maidanezi a fost ADOPTATĂ. Ce modificări aduce noul proiect". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  25. ^ UNIMEDIA. "În România a fost adoptată legea eutanasierii câinilor maidanezi". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Câinele care a sfâşiat ieri un copil aparţine unui ONG pentru protecţia animalelor". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Câinele care a omorât un copil în București aparţine unui ONG". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  28. ^ "1.000 de oameni au participat la PROTESTUL în memoria lui Ionuţ Anghel – VIDEO". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  29. ^ "Proteste la sediul CCR, dupa decizia privind constitutionalitatea legii eutanasierii maidanezilor". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  30. ^ "De ce "presiunea străzii" are efect imediat doar în unele cazuri? Vezi cazul Ionuț Anghel versus Roșia Montana". 20 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  31. ^ Moran, Lee (December 2, 2013). "Animals hacked, kicked and torched in Romania after boy, 4, mauled by street dog". NY Daily News. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  32. ^ "VIDEO Traian Basescu: Fac apel la Guvern sa emita o Ordonanta de Urgenta prin care sa stabileasca un termen rezonabil in care iubitorii de caini sa ia maidanezii acasa, dupa care cei care nu au fost adoptati sa fie imediat eutanasiati – Hotnews Mobile". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  33. ^ "Ponta votează legea maidanezilor: Între viaţa unui om şi a unui câine, trebuie să apărăm viaţa omului". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Activitate 2003–2005 –". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
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  39. ^ "Adolf Hitler, nu fi trist / Cuțu, Cuțu e rasist". Daily Cotcodac. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  40. ^ "ACC: dogs are not jews, to be shipped to Auschwitz". Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  41. ^ "Revenire la Comunicatul de presa "Cainii nu sunt evrei sa fie dusi la Auschwitz -". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
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  43. ^ "Sorin Oprescu: Unii ma acuza ca am facut din adaposturile din jurul Capitalei un fel de Auschwitz pentru cainii comunitari". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  44. ^ "REALITATEA .NET". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
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  46. ^ "Brigitte Bardot denunta demersurile pentru eutanasiere, desi nu stie nimic despre situatia din tara". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  47. ^ "S-au pupat cu foc, dar acum Băsescu ÎI DĂ O LOVITURĂ SUB CENTURĂ actriţei Brigitte Bardot! - Vedete de la noi -". 3 October 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  48. ^ "Brigitte Bardot, într-o scrisoare adresată "preşedintelui nefericitei Românii": "Câinii plătesc cu viaţa o gestionare coruptă"". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
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