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Hundreds of people gathered in the Romanian capital Bucharest on Sunday, to campaign for the euthanasia of the city’s stray dogs. The killing of a four-year-old by strays in a park has thrown a serious spotlight on the issue and led to calls for a cull on some sixty thousand dogs which roam the streets. Many held up placards saying, “We don’t want to be next.”

Aurica Anghe, the boy’s grandmother was among the demonstrators. She told euronews, “I hope for a change for the better. I don’t want to see dogs on the street anymore.”

Local resident Ionica Daniel, also an anti stray dog campaigner said, “In my neighbourhood during the evening after 9 or 10 pm, I’m afraid to go out. They come out in packs and bark, it happened to me two evenings in a row. This is why I’m here now.”

Animal lovers say castration is a more acceptable solution.

Even the President Traian Basescu weighed into the debate, saying “I am asking the government to issue an emergency law to establish a short term during which dog lovers can adopt stray dogs. After this term, any dogs that have not been adopted will be put down.”

On September 9, the parliament will hold a debate on the issue and have promised to to make a decision on the fate of stray dogs by next week.

In all, around 6,700 people were bitten over the first six months of 2013 alone in Bucharest. Three people have been killed in the last decade.

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