Saturday, 1 February 2014

EU-delegation visits Romania again - At last... someone switched the lights on!



January 28 - Delegation of the European Parliament to Romania face-to-face with the reality of the dog shelters owned by city halls.

After thousands of petitions addressed to the European Parliament from across Europe, which included, in addition to protests against the new law on killing dogs, claims of incidents of abuse against stray dogs and dogs living in deplorable shelter conditions, a delegation of the European Parliament came to Romania to investigate this issue.

The first visit, paid on December 4, 2013, was aimed at finding out the opinions of authorities on the situation of the stray dogs in Romania. Thus, during the meetings with representatives ANSVSA (and also with the Mayor of Bucharest), the delegation members were assured, among others, that the law on dog management was a law on "adoption, not on "euthanasia" and the citizens had access to public shelters which were totally transparent and complying with the law!

On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, the delegation of the European Parliament consisting of Janusz Wojciechowski, MEP deputy and vice president of the AGRI Committee, Dr. Karolina Tomaszewski, veterinarian and animal welfare consultant, and Magdalena Majerczyk, ECR Political Consultant, returned to Romania in order to inform themselves on the situation directly on site and they also included in their agenda some visits to dog shelters.

Unfortunately the weather in Romania during the last few days, with heavy snowfall and blizzard, caused the cancellation of some flights, therefore the time available to the delegation was reduced by half a day and only part of their planned agenda was possible; however, their shortened visit did reveal some of the realities of the dog industry.

The Delegation of the European Parliament was faced with the reality of the dog shelters owned by City Halls.

At 10:00 a.m., in the public dog shelter located in the village of Saristea and owned by Slatina City Hall, on whose gate was abusively written "Private Property. Access denied", there was no caring staff but a gatekeeper who had received orders not to allow anyone to enter.

To hide what could still be hidden from the European officials, the representatives of the City Hall acted in a more aggravated manner, rather than revealing that the situation behind the locked gates was cruel and illegal. They were embarrassed about sending a representative to the shelter (without whom the entry to the shelter was not allowed). Furthermore, they were embarrassed when I asked if the shelter belonged to the City Hall or was a private shelter. Probably all the interlocutors from the City Hall and the State Patrimony Administration did not know what would be appropriate to answer, so they spoke confusingly and finished with the eternal "I don' know".

Finally, we found out from the vice mayor, who was not in a position to say "I don' know", that the shelter belonged to Slatina City Hall.

The dog shelter of Slatina City Hall is managed by the same company, Iberia Velvet SRL, the constant partner of the City Hall, charging excessive prices settled by Slatina City Hall from the public money.

However, the "Shelter" which does not meet the minimum legal requirements, where dogs die in starvation, holds a sanitary and veterinary certificate issued by DSVSA (Sanitary- Veterinary and Food Safety Department) of Olt county!

The lamentable condition of the dogs sheltered there could be deduced even from the gate. Around a special cage where they kept a "protected" purebred dog, the snow was 1 m high and intact, meaning that in the last few days nobody had gone to that dog to feed it.This is the usual situation if we recall the personal observations and also the statements of those who have visited this "shelter" so far, whereby they noted that, except for exhausted dogs lacking water and food, the cages had nothing, not even water bowls! This cruelty applied to animals, which is shown in statements and photographs, was the reason of the criminal complaint made by FNPA in 2013 against the City Hall and also against Iberia Velvet SRL.

Moreover, the adoption of a dog from the shelter of Slatina City Hall seems to involve winding steps, without any effective result. In theory, adopting a dog would have been possible if you had first addressed to the City Hall, then to the State Patrimony Administration, where they asked you to fill in a lot of papers, and then you had come to the shelter, accompanied by a representative of the City Hall, to choose a dog.

The Delegation found that there was a major discrepancy between what the authorities had told them during their first visit and what they found on site during their second visit. The shelters owned by the City Halls are tightly closed, the animals are in distress and adoptions are made difficult if not impossible.

The Delegation will prepare a full report on the things observed, which they will submit to the European Parliament and to the European Commission and will also make it public.

In the added pictures you can read the letter written by the two MEPs, Janusz Wojciechowski and Andrea Zanoni, containing the conclusions of their first visit paid on December 4, 2013.

Written by Dr Carmen Arsene (originally in Romanian)

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