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One Stray Dog Adoption per Building, Says Romanian Mayor

W460

Dog-loving Romanians living in a Bucharest district will be limited to "adopting" one stray dog per building, authorities said Thursday, amid a controversy over putting down strays.

"One cage may be placed behind the building for the adopted dog, so long as 51 percent of people living in the building are in agreement," the district town hall said in a statement.

Several Romanians have taken to feeding local strays, with these even becoming known as "community dogs."

The move came after Romania passed a law on Tuesday allowing authorities to put down stray dogs if they are not claimed within two weeks.

This prompted French animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot to call President Traian Basescu a "tyrant" for backing the legislation.

"You would think we had returned to the (Nicolae) Ceausescu years!" the 78-year-old former actress told Agence France Presse, referring to the Romanian dictator deposed in 1989.

The law was passed a week after a child bitten by dogs near a Bucharest park died.

There are some 40,000 stray dogs in Bucharest, according to authorities and animal rights activists.

The relatively high number of stray dogs stems from the 1980s when Ceausescu ordered the demolition of whole quarters of Bucharest.

Houses with courtyards were pulled down, replaced with terraces in which there was little space to keep a dog.

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