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Killing Dogs for Animal Welfare

Posted by Richard Conniff on October 5, 2013

A street dog--one of thousands-- in Mumbai, India.

A street dog–one of thousands– in Mumbai, India.

In the face of protests that the plan is “criminal” and “inhumane,” Romanians is about to begin a program to catch and euthanize its feral dogs.  The proposal arose from growing alarm over the 64,000 feral dogs said to be roaming the streets of Bucharest, and 7800 dog bite injuries in the city so far this year. It gained momentum last month after a stray dog mauled a four-year-old boy to death.

Legislation authorizing the culling of stray dogs—if no one adopts them within 14 days—has already cleared the Romanian parliament and been approved by the national court.  It now awaits the signature of President President Traian Basescu, who has declared that “humans are above dogs.”

Predictably, animal rights activists are outraged.  The World Society for the Protection of Animals has criticized the culling as “both inhumane and ineffective.” Vier Pfoten, a Romanian animal welfare group, calls it “mass killing,” arguing instead for continuing a program to catch stray dogs and sterilize them.

It’s easy enough to understand where the animal welfare activists are coming from: I love my dog, too.  The debate also matters because it isn’t just about Romania.  It’s happening everywhere from Detroit, which has 40,000 feral dogs, to Srinigar, India, which has one feral dog for every 13 people.  But instead of automatically opposing the euthanasia idea, it’s worth pausing to think more clearly about what animal welfare really means.  Feral dogs aren’t just bad for people, it turns out.  They’re also catastrophically bad for wildlife.

The evidence of the damage they cause …   to read the rest of this article, click here.

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3 Responses to “Killing Dogs for Animal Welfare”

  1. c.green said

    I remember when two boys were killed by a pack of feral dogs in minnesota in 1960’s. the boys tried to climb young apsen trees one of dead boys had top of the trees caught in death grip, the trees could not support their weight and bent over the dogs had mauled them to death and ate their kidneys. another neighbor had to shoot his colt when feral dogs had chased it into barb wire dogs then tore into its underbelly and left it to slowly die held upright in the barb wire. these animals do not belong in the wild we had more problems with them than black bears . With bears you only have lock up your garage cans , no more problem. I always saw people who dump their dogs in country side as thoughtless, dog would die of hunger or diease, detroying wildlife in meanwhile . one of my neighbors after seeing an car drive up and dump the dog and drive off , he would go in his house, bring out his gun and shoot the dog. I would hate the dog owner who couldn’t care for his pet.

  2. […] week or two ago, I wrote about how feral dogs kill wildlife by direct attack, by stealing prey, and by spreading disease.  Now a report on the BBC says canine […]

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