Tuesday, 11 March 2014

OFA's observations regarding IREC's 'Right of Reply' from 7th of March, 2014 concerning the article called 'Neglect of Stray Dogs - MEPs Deliver Damning Indictment of Romania's Mismanagement' published by Dr Rita Pal on Huffington Post.

On 7th of March, 2014 IREC's expressed reservations in their paper 'Right of Reply' regarding the article called 'Neglect of Stray Dogs-MEPs Deliver Damning Indictment of Romania's Mismanagement' published by Dr Rita Pal on Huffington Post, and later "apologized" to Dr Pal on their Facebook-page:

"Dear Rita Pal please do not take our letter personally - we know you are probably just another victim of extremist groups' untruthful propaganda. Please see this interview with Mr. Dominic Taylor - perhaps it will help you get a better grasp on the truth about strays in Romania. He is a British expat businessman who talks about the magnitude of the stray dog problem he's experienced first-hand in Romania."

Dr Pal responded:

"The small minded often make assumptions about the broad minded. Secondly, your assumptions, of course, are inaccurate. Thirdly, no one is disputing overpopulation. The evidence demonstrates culling is not the way forward. To deny this is to deny evidence.

I have read all you have written in the past and find your position unconvincing, misdirected and non-evidence based. You are welcome to write whatever you wish. It does amuse me because I consider your narrow spectrum viewpoint to be non-evidence based. That is all I have to say on the matter.

I take nothing personally. I merely observe with a great deal of amusement. I give your letter a 2/10. Next time write your evidence in reference or link form and argue your points better. I have no objection to your right to free speech. I do have mine as well. It is for the audience to judge which of us is right. For us to judge ourselves would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

I bid you Good Night and may I suggest you take up knitting as it would be a more constructive use of your time. All the best!"


It is with delight that we use the opportunity to respond to the IREC's 'Right to Reply' and to be able to correct a number of errors and misrepresentations contained therein for the benefit of the Romanian people.

As said before, the article by Dr Rita Pal, referred to is in fact NOT a personal perspective but a representation of the conclusion and perceptions of the European Union authorities. Recent visits by representatives of this authority found that they had been deceived by the Romanian authorities and that both stray animal control strategy and it's implementation were inconsistent with European policies and directives.

Taking each point in turn, recognizing the naive mis-interpretations and mis-representations included in this 'Right to Reply', we seek to inform not only IREC but also the Romanian people of the true realities.

- That there are too many stray animals on the streets of Romania is agreed by all.
- That some of these dogs are aggressive is agreed.
- That the situation is undesirable to all.
- The only question that remains is how to achieve a successful conclusion.

The reasons why there are so many on the streets is generally agreed. No major national program has ever been conducted, so numbers have continued to increase. Endeavors to control the animal population by catching and killing have failed abysmally whereas major programs where the animals were neutered, although not producing an immediate result, after 6-7 years reduced numbers on the streets significantly and most important... permanently.

Almost all countries in Western Europe and the USA have used a national neutering program and where stray animals are generally conspicuous by their absence. In Romania this was also achieved in Oradea and Lugoj where stray animal numbers were reduced from 4,000 to 270 and 2,500 to 235 respectively. Not only have national neutering programs proven to be successful but they are also recommended by the WHO as the only successful strategy.

In response to the unique strategy of managing stray population numbers by killing, currently being deployed in Romania, significant numbers of people from western societies are adopting dogs both remotely and transporting them physically outside of Romania to new western homes where the animals will become members of the family. In one culture... harmonious inclusion.... in another... divisive exclusion promoting significant societal disharmony, violence and death.

It is also important for the Romanian people to know that not only is the Law 258/2013 promoting an animal control strategy which historically has been proven to be unsuccessful compared with the strategy of a national neutering program which has proven successful in many countries but the selection of this strategy comes with a literal serious cost. From Romanian government figures, we see that by enacting Law 258/2013 instead a neutering program, the Romanian taxpayer will contribute almost twice as much to fund a program which has never been successful.

Instead of spending huge amounts of money on the promotion of violence and corruption, a socially credible government invests the money into the social infrastructure, of which the independent social movement is one of essential foundations.

So let us take each of the points made and offer a sensible and real response to each.

- 258/2013 is NOT compliant with EU legislation (see our page)

- Animal control strategy by euthanasia is NOT compliant with WHO directives (see our page)

- The number of dogs adopted by people and organisations IS taking place, but the quantification of numbers as 'very low' does not provide a numerical basis to challenge.

- However the statement that NO long distance adoptions have taken place is demonstrably incorrect with for example in Craiova: approximately 100 dogs. Braila: 44 dogs. Cernica and Batimanu: 750 dogs. In Bristrita, all dogs are sponsored through international sponsors, last year 400 dogs were adopted by groups in Europe, this year 30 have been adopted so far. The shelter hasn't yet adopted the distant adoption, but volunteers are caring for the dogs through sponsors.

- It is true that the problem of dog bites and the rabies alert may be serious but it is the inevitable consequence of the Romanian government's failed and abortive social policy.

- Regarding REC's claim that "the legal conditions to adopt a dog from a "shelter" are minimal", we would simply like to quote what MEP Wojciechowski said about the adoption procedure after his second visit: "Shelters are every often located in places which are difficult to find and they are closed for people who wish to adopt a dog. Although financed from public money, they are treated as private ownership. Furthermore, adoption procedure is very complicated and it makes adoption practically impossible." The limited access to shelters, as evidenced by the delegation, actually renders all else an irrelevancy.

- To say that the Romanian Slaughter Law was comparable to the law in the U.K. is like comparing a Luxembourgian egg to a book by Jean-Paul Sartre. Surreally different... In the U.K. in 2013, 48% of dogs who entered a shelter were reunited with their owners. 25% of dogs have been been re-homed. 8% have being euthanized because of behavioral problems, ill health or because they are dangerous. A stray in the UK is one who is owned but simply went on a touring holiday for a few days...

And last but not least, the fact that the Romanian people are being bitten by stray dogs and that there are even fatalities reported, which need to be carefully analysed, is a clear sign of the ineffectiveness or even a criminal neglect on the part of the Romanian authorities which shamefully failed in the implementation of the plausible and working social policy to win the support and the co-operation of the social movements and the general Romanian public to resolve the structural and social problem of animal homelessness through socially-friendly policy of non-violence and honest public dialogue.

In fact, the degenerate quality of the Romanian social relations compromises the set of values and standards of the European Community thus exposing the weakness and inefficiency of the EU policy makers.

Our detailed reflections, important links as well as picture and video evidence are compiled in the following link:


In conclusion - and arguably most important of all - we would agree with the statement that 'Romania is finally on the right track.' NOT however by implementing a law which patently is historically unsuccessful, ill-consistent with international directives and morals but because the light of truth and reality is now beginning to shine in the darkness after the second visit of the EU-delegation.

In the Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, justification is given to reduce significant numbers of stray dogs, it shall take the appropriate legislative and/or administrative measures necessary to reduce their numbers in a way which does not cause avoidable pain, suffering or distress. The word that shouts from the page is 'avoidable'. As we have highlighted in the IREC response text, there is another way: by introducing a neutering program, pain, suffering and distress are 'avoided'.

This exchange is a watershed where we have identified all the errors presented by IREC. We have responded with evidenced truths and facts. Romania has lived too long in the darkness of deceit and corruption.

And therefore, having identified the multiple errors contained within the IREC Right to Reply, we freely invite IREC to contact us for assistance before publishing erroneous letter content. The people of Romania deserve no less than to have access to the truth and to make their decisions accordingly.

We would respectfully suggest that IREC retract all their statements which have been proven here to be erroneous and misleading and to allow Romania to really be 'on the right track'.

Only through truth is a democracy truly made.

- The Occupy for Animals Team 

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Romanian Stray Dogs