A four-year-old boy was mauled to death by a dog in Bucharest, Romania, park earlier this month, triggering a national effort to euthanize the cities some 65,000 stray canines, the BBC reports.
The Romanian capital will hold a referendum in October to gauge public support for a plan to euthanize the city’s strays rather than continue to deal with the problem solely through overcrowded shelters and adoption.
Residents of Bucharest rallied over the weekend in support of the measure, while animal rights activists have argued for a national sterilization plan instead. “It’s not a local problem, it’s national,” the director of one animal aid group told the BBC. “Even if Bucharest is free of strays, the dogs don’t have administrative borders—they will come back.”
According to the BBC, officials said about 1,100 people were bitten by stray dogs in the first four months of 2013.