BUCHAREST - Romania's constitutional court on Wednesday ruled against a bill allowing local authorities to put down stray dogs, two months after it was passed by lawmakers.
The court ruled that several articles of the bill violated the constitution, a press officer told AFP.
The bill stipulated that adult dogs living in refuges which are not claimed or adopted within 30 days can be put to sleep.
More than a hundred opposition MPs and several animal rights groups challenged the law, stressing that sterilizing dogs would be a more humane and cheaper solution.
"It's a very good decision. We hope that lawmakers will find a better, non violent way to take stray dogs off the streets," Marcela Paslaru, head of animal group Cutu-Cutu, told Mediafax news agency.
The draft law had been submitted by the ruling Liberal Democrats, who claimed that some 100,000 stray dogs live on the streets of Bucharest while 12,000 people got bitten by dogs in 2010 in the capital city alone.
But animal groups and Bucharest's prefect put the number of strays at 40,000.
Some 145,000 stray dogs were put down in Bucharest between 2001 and 2007, before a law banning euthanasia was adopted.