Bucharest Outlaws Stray Dogs and More for NATO Summit

If the Romanian government can manage to help stray dogs for this one week, why can't they keep it up for the rest of the...

Joy  |  Apr 1st 2008


If the Romanian government can manage to help stray dogs for this one week, why can’t they keep it up for the rest of the year? How about spaying all the dogs collected for this fix-up? That would go a long way to helping make a dent in the stray population?

Thanks to Bloomberg News for this article.

NATO Summit Spurs Bucharest Ban on Stray Dogs, Puddles, Pranks

By Adam Brown

April 1 (Bloomberg) — Bucharest has outlawed stray dogs, puddles and April Fools’ Day pranks as the city prepares to host its biggest international event.

The Romanian capital is the site of a NATO summit that starts tomorrow and features U.S. President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other leaders. Bucharest officials ordered the city’s largest cleanup yet to rid communist-era buildings of grime.

“You can feel an enormous difference,” said Iulian Solomon, a 46-year-old taxi driver parked beside freshly dug flower beds in Piata Presei square, which summit participants will pass on their way to five-star hotels. “Everything works. Police control the traffic. All the street lights are fixed and people are even littering less. It’s not normal.”

Romania’s government is deploying 23,000 police officers, thousands of street cleaners, about two dozen dog catchers, social workers, secret agents and snipers to secure the capital and give it a makeover.

Heads of the 26 North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states and leaders from about 20 other nations will arrive in Bucharest accompanied by 3,500 journalists and thousands of aides for the April 2-4 summit, organizers say.

As recently as two weeks ago, the city of 2 million people suffered from construction site dust, traffic jams, stray dogs, beggars, potholes and mud puddles, Solomon said.

`Stiff Punishment’

Now, thousands of NATO and Romanian flags flutter over swept streets. Police in clean uniforms, thousands shipped in from outside Bucharest, direct traffic at intersections that are often chaotic, the Interior Ministry said in an e-mail on March 18.

The Foreign Ministry is spending $8 million on the summit and the Health Ministry about $1 million. Romania’s gross domestic product per capita is about 33 percent of other EU members. The government isn’t releasing the costs of the security measures.

“I seriously advise young people to refrain from making jokes for April Fool’s Day,” Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu said last week, warning of “stiff punishment.”

Romania, which joined the European Union last year and entered NATO in 2004, aims to use the summit in part to raise its profile and attract tourists, President Traian Basescu said in an interview with foreign journalists last week.

Beggars and stray dogs will be given shelter and food outside of the city center, Bucharest Mayor Adriean Videanu said.

`Back to Normal’

Medical, police and military helicopters are patrolling the skies of Bucharest this week and many of the city’s main streets have been closed to traffic.

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