Video, 5:18 min

The problem with stray dogs in Bucharest started in the 1980s. Nicolae Ceausescu, the former dictator, demolished many houses to realize his ambitious large-scale housing projects. Many people were relocated into social housing and did not have space to keep their dogs any more.
On top of this, the officials introduced high fees for dog licenses and people couldn’t afford them.
People simply abandoned their dogs on the street. The dogs started to live together in packs, gathering in numbers rapidly. The highest number reached around 200,000 strays.
At the beginning of the nineties the problem was out of control. Everywhere you went, you met the packs. The dogs became representative of Bucharest. Very soon, the municipality started to catch and kill them with strychnine. This caused much international protest in 1994.
Nowadays the problem is more or less under control: The dogs are no longer killed but instead are caught
and castrated.

Romania has been a member of NATO since 2004. Everyone - the people and the politicians wanted to join. Not only for military reasons – the country expected foreign investment to increase on their entering into the alliance. Being a member brings a stability that foreign investors trust. Joining NATO could also be seen as an important step from dictatorship to democracy.
In April 2008, the 20th NATO Summit took place in Bucharest. Certain parts of the city were declared as zones of high security and were partly closed off from the public. The city was full of police. Some days before the Summit arrangements to clean the city were clearly visible: streets and parks were cleaned, fences and buildings were repainted, stray dogs were collected from the streets and taken somewhere else. This was done for the benefit of the foreign politicians, that they should feel safe in a modern, clean city.
There were no demonstrations like one may see at each other NATO-Summit. Nobody went out in the street to protest against war, against militarization or capitalist exploitation. Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin were also in town. Nobody went out in the street to demonstrate against their aggressive politics.

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