This article was originally published by VICE Romania
A city councillor from the small Romanian town of Medias was recently so annoyed by the barking of his neighbor's dogs that he proposed to have the vocal cords of every dog in his town cut—if the dog barks "too loudly" between certain hours of the night, that is. As expected, Ioan Ciulea's proposal was quickly blocked by his colleagues, but he is now striking back with a new, admittedly more reasonable, plan: He wants local dog owners to keep their dogs indoors at night, instead of in their yards.
I called councillor Ciulea to find out what other treats he has in store for our four-legged friends.
VICE: Did you know it was illegal to cut off a dog's vocal cords when you submitted the first draft of your proposal?
Ioan Ciulea: I was not 100 percent sure. I knew that there was this thing called "animal rights," but I didn't know you can't do that to an animal.
Are these dogs I can hear barking in the background?
Yes. I am surrounded by my dogs. I am a dog lover. But I know how to treat my dogs. If I tell them to shut up, they shut up. But my neighbor's dogs don't shut up. If they see you on the street, they don't stop barking.
How many dogs do you have?
I am not at home now. I have this field, where I keep four dogs—that's where I am at the moment. At home, I have one dog and my brother-in-law has another. We share the same yard, but he keeps it inside at night, and it doesn't bother anyone. And if he tells his dog to shut up, the dog shuts up.
My Labrador, Cora, barks like any normal dog. But there are dogs that bark at an unnatural volume. Do you realize how loud two dogs barking in the same yard can be? Do you know what a dog banging its head on an iron fence sounds like? It sounds like a cannon ball.
How would you determine what barking at "an unnatural volume" means?
You work in the media, right? We live in an era of gadgets and other types of advanced technology, so you can come at night and record the sounds made by a dog. If the barks exceed the decibel limit, then we can decide.
What if at a certain point Cora becomes too loud? How would you feel if the law forced you to remove her vocal cords?
We are not talking about cutting off her vocal chords but about making a small incision. If my dog bothers the neighbors, I will be the first to experiment with this in Romania.
Cora is my dog. I've been taking care of her since she was a puppy. I would be the first to cut my dog's vocal cords, if it were necessary. But the problem is that it is against the law to do that, because the government had to go and invent "animal rights." So now it would be illegal for me to do that.
Had something happened on the day you proposed that dogs should have their vocal cords cut off? Something that bothered you more than usual?
I have had to live with my neighbor's dog for a year. I asked him to silence his dog in a nice way, I told him the hard way. I even called the police, but nothing.
Veterinarians say this type of surgery is painful, and it can change the behavior of the dog and make it more aggressive.
I don't think a dog could become more aggressive because of that. We have to discuss this with experts, not with the amateurs who wrote the animal rights law and the MPs who passed it and forced it on us.
About your more recent proposal, which maintains that dogs are kept indoors at night. Does that refer to a specific time frame?
Yes. I think dogs should be locked indoors between 10 PM and 7 AM on weekdays and from 10 PM to 9 AM on weekends. Several townspeople, who have traveled abroad, told me that this is possible in Europe.
What if that proposal is also rejected?
The third proposal is for the owner to buy an electric shock collar for the dog to wear. So when the dog starts barking, you shock it, and it stops. I don't know how much an electric collar costs. I don't know if someone has invented it either. But we will not give up until we solve the problem.
And what if that motion also gets rejected?
You are too curious, and I already said too much. Information costs money. I don't give information for free.