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Romanian lawmakers pass laws to put down stray dogs

BUCHAREST, Romania, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Romania's government plans to euthanize thousands of stray dogs after a 4-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of strays.

The boy, Ionut, was playing with his brother, Andrei, 6, last week in Bucharest when he was attacked by the dogs, Spiegel Online reported Saturday.

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When police arrived at the scene, the boy had been dragged into bushes and was half eaten. An autopsy showed that the boy was bitten more than 100 times and bled to death from external injuries.

The feral dog problem in Bucharest has been ongoing for several years; a recent poll found that about 75 percent of Bucharest residents support killing the feral dogs.

Romanian President Traian Basescu called on lawmakers to quickly pass legislation to permit mass dog euthanization.

On Tuesday, the parliament passed a set of rules, under which stray dogs can be killed if authorities are unable to place them in animal shelters or if they are unable to find an owner within 14 days after a dog is captured.

Animal activists have spoken out against the new rules, describing them as "Stone Age law." Four Paws, a Romanian group, said it plans to file a complaint with the European Commission in Brussels to prevent the legislation from going into effect.

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