Safety lesson by stray dogs

Safety lesson by stray dogs

BUCHAREST - Agence France-Presse
Safety lesson by stray dogs

Stray dogs, filmed in several Romanian cities, will convince pedestrians to be more careful in a new campaign. AFP photo

Stray dogs crossing at crosswalks are being used by the Romanian traffic police in a new safety campaign to convince pedestrians to be more careful.

“If they can do it, then everyone can do it -- cross on pedestrian crossings!” says the short TV spot while showing several stray dogs using zebra and pelican crossings. The dogs were filmed in several Romanian cities.

“They send us an extraordinary message showing that animals can respect important safety rules”, Lucian Dinita, Romania’s traffic police chief, said.

The example of stray dogs could prove crucial in a country where 360 people died last year because of “pedestrian lack of discipline,” according to the police.

“I thought of what you often see in Bucharest: dogs crossing at crosswalks or waiting for traffic lights to turn red for cars before crossing,” said Semida Duriga, a creative director at Next Advertising agency. Duriga was the one who conceived the campaign.

“These stray dogs did not get education on traffic safety but they instinctively perceive that to do so is safer”, Duriga explained.

Some 40,000 homeless canines live in Bucharest alongside a human population of two million, according to authorities and animal rights groups. Last year, Romania’s constitutional court ruled against a bill allowing local authorities to put down stray dogs.