The extremely poor standard of municipal dog pounds in Romania has recently been brought to my attention. Animal rights groups are much concerned that these pounds violate animal rights in the EU. According to reports, the Romanian authorities employ cruel tactics to catch stray dogs. Such concerns are multiplied, however, once the dogs have been brought to the municipal dog pounds, which are small, outdoor, fenced-off enclosures. As the facilities have no heating, any water the dogs receive freezes over in the winter, so that dogs are likely to die from dehydration, hunger and cold.
In Romania, dog owners are not registered, and there are no laws requiring the identification of all owned and abandoned dogs. This makes it difficult to determine whether a dog is owned, abandoned or stray. Romania is signatory to the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (Council of Europe Treaty Series No 125). The Convention, which entered into force in Romania in 2005, highlights the moral obligation to respect all living creatures. Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty also states that ‘the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals’.
1. Is the Commission aware of the inhumane conditions found at Romanian municipal dog pounds? Given that Romania became a Member State in 2007, what is the Commission’s position on this matter?
2. Does the Commission not believe that it would be beneficial to invite the Romanian authorities to inspect all municipal dog pounds and to work strongly to implement new standards that are in line with the EU Treaties?
3. What steps need to be to be taken, in the Commission’s view, to improve animal welfare in Romania?