BUCHAREST - Romanian lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill allowing local authorities to put down stray dogs, spurring anger among animal rights groups.
A total of 168 MPs voted in favor, 11 against and 14 abstained, while dozens of animal lovers present in parliament shouted "Killers" and "Shame on you".
According to the bill, already passed by the upper house of parliament, adult dogs living in refuges which are not claimed or adopted within 30 days can be put to sleep.
The decision rests with the local authorities, after consulting residents via opinion polls, referendums or public gatherings.
The draft law was submitted by the ruling Liberal Democrats, who claim that some 100,000 stray dogs live in the streets of Bucharest while 12,000 people sustained dog bites last year in the capital city alone.
But animal groups and Bucharest's prefect put the figure of stray dogs at 40,000.
Pet lovers say mass sterilization of dogs is a better and cheaper solution.
Some 145,000 stray dogs had been put to sleep in Bucharest between 2001 and 2007, before a law banning euthanasia was adopted.
Image: Dan Phiffer / via Flickr