I had planned to write about the city of Craiova today but events overtook me with the news breaking last night that the mayor and city council of Valcea, another city, were meeting this morning 9am to vote on whether to kill all street dogs indiscriminately in the public shelter when they have been there 7 days. My initial thought upon hearing this was utter surprise that the poor dogs even last 7 days in a public shelter but within a moment Facebook was buzzing last night with activity from animal rights groups and rescuers endeavouring to pressurise the council to abolish the idea. There are suggestions now later today that due to pressure, the vote was postponed. Great, but for how long? It is likely the vote will happen soon with a decision in favour of carrying out the decision. My puzzlement is this? If a city has problems with street dogs and there are many in Valcea and almost every other town and city in Romania, the problem could be solved very easily and most likely at very little public expense by working with all the rescuers and animal rights groups that are willing to take on the dogs that linger desperately in the shelters and on the streets. The dogs would be neutered, put into safe, temporary accommodation, a percentage would achieve international foster and ultimately adoption. It would go a long way towards ending the problem of street dogs once and for all. Considering how many dogs perish on the streets every day, it should be easy to bring the population down by working together. There are a couple of fine examples of this in Romania where the city council has worked with outsiders to improve the situation to the point where there a no or few dogs left on the street. Why don’t the rest? I mean, there are so very many people that want to and CAN help. There are countless charities and non-for profit organisations in the rest of Europe who would step in immediately of invited, but instead always seem obstructed at every turn by local authorities. Why? Mark my words, slaughtering and murdering dogs, often brutally, by starving them to death, breaking legs or backs does nothing for a country’s reputation in a world, where such acts cannot be kept secret and gathers international interest and attention. The world is watching, now more than ever and does not approve. That very same lack of good reputation costs vast sums in tourist revenue and international goodwill. The losses are no doubt more than the annual earmarked EU funds (which don’t reach the dogs). It cannot go on, even the EU will eventually clock on to the lack of improvement and will listen to the horrors going on. In all seriousness, not dealing with the issue of street dogs humanely, is a short term plan that doesn’t work. No one goes to Romania as a tourist….I know not a single person who has been there for fun. Personally I would never be able to walk around and enjoy the local sights whilst confronted with starving and injured dogs and cats -or begging impoverished people, for that matter. I have friends who refuse to re-visit Bulgaria for the very same reason, after just one trip. Bulgaria and Romania, are shooting themselves in the foot by trying to deal with their problems so brutally. I would encourage both countries to show some compassion and foresight and create some international goodwill. Back to Valcea, the city council and mayor have got an outstanding opportunity right NOW, this instant, to change things for the better. The postponing of the vote is a tiny but important step and I kindly urge the members to consider working with the rescue groups at your gates and create some happy endings for dogs and your city. Please, consider it, pick up the phone, email and communicate, start right now for the sake of dogs and humanity. It IS possible to achieve this. There are so many that are ready to help you and whose respect YOU, the city council could earn by taking this step. In one stroke, you could take a giant step towards a better future for your city and become a model for others. Please let us help you, we really want to. I hope to hear from you, I am Earnest Underdog.