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Stray dogs

Stray Dogs
© chelle129 / Fotolia

In the aftermath of a deadly dog attack on a four-year-old boy in Romania, the government’s adoption of a new law for the mass euthanasia of stray dogs has created an overwhelming reaction from citizens throughout Europe. Animal rights activists abhor what they see as brutal treatment of dogs and plead for an improvement to be made in stray animal management strategies.

The European Parliament is aware of the existing problems in the control of the companion animal population in some Member States, including the welfare of stray dogs.


Although Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requires paying full regard to the welfare requirements of animals when formulating and implementing some EU policies, it does not give a legal base nor require addressing all animal welfare issues. The welfare of stray animals is therefore not governed by EU rules and remains under the sole responsibility of the Member States.

Parliamentary resolution

As far as the European Parliament is concerned, it attaches great importance to animal welfare. In view of a large number of petitions received from EU citizens, a resolution on the establishment of an EU legal framework for the protection of pets and stray animals [2012/2670(RSP)] was adopted on 4 July 2012. This resolution calls on the Commission, inter alia, to put forward stray animal management strategies.

Conference of the European Commission

As a contribution to the debate on the practical considerations that relate to companion animal welfare and what further action is needed for its improvement, a conference on the welfare of dogs and cats in the European Union “Building a Europe that cares for companion animals”, organised by the European Commission, took place in Brussels on 28 October 2013.

Intergroup Welfare and Conservation of Animals

In addition, the EP’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals appealed to the Romanian President to ensure that uncontrolled killings of stray dogs will be avoided. Please consult the EP’s Intergroup’s website for more information.


Petition number 1561/2013 has been introduced on this issue. Further information on the right of petition to the European Parliament may be found on EP’s petition website.

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