Problems relating to stray animals, animal abuse and the mismanagement of kennels are common and widespread in several Member States.
The European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals of 13 November 1987 remains, to date, the only multilateral agreement on the matter. However, the Convention does not grant any sanctioning powers, nor has it been signed or ratified by all Member States.
Despite being one of the Convention's signatory countries, Italy has proven incapable of dealing with the problem of stray dogs and the related management of kennels efficiently. In Puglia, Campania and Sicily the stray dog issue is posing a real threat to public health and safety.
In the light of Article 13 TFEU and of the European Parliament's resolution of July 2012 (2012/2670 (RSP), will the Commission adopt strategies with a view to safeguarding and protecting stray animals, in addition to ensuring that kennels are better managed?
Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) states that:
‘In formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage’.
The obligation of the Union and the Member States deriving from this article is therefore limited to certain Union policies. The Commission does not see any interaction between the treatment and population management of stray animals and one of the Union's policies listed in Article 13 TFEU.
Therefore, the welfare of stray animals as well as the management of kennels is not governed by EU rules and these matters remain under the sole competence of the Member States.