About ARS

Animal Rescue Sofia is a Bulgarian organization working to solve the stray dog and cats problem in Sofia. With the help of thousands of people we created our own shelter – the Farm, where 200 souls find treatment and care 365 days in a year. We are always open for adoptions and the shelter clinic offers free spaying and neutering.

We strive to find good and responsible owners for the dogs and cats place at our care. We seek homes for them both in Bulgaria and abroad. We re-home approx. 70 dogs every month.

We do our best to respond to any signals about dogs and cats in distress but our resources are very limited at times. We take on injured and abused animals nearly every day.

We apply the catch-neuter-return method as we believe this is the only humane and legal way to curtail the stray dog population successfully.

Animal Rescue Sofia is funded only by private donations. We are not funded by the government, municipality or any foreign NGO. The majority of donations come from our supporters and friends in Bulgaria, while our foreign partners contribute mainly with adoptions and medical supplies.

We work with shelters and partners in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. Our colleagues help us immensely by finding good families for the dogs and cats we rescue from the streets of Sofia.

We are happy that every week dozens of people come to help at the shelter as volunteers. Their help is priceless as they care of walking and socializing the dogs. Thanks to the volunteers’ efforts, the dogs at the shelter feel comfortable around humans and build trust in people.

The beginning (2009)

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The start of ARSofia is a story about a few friends whom, without any experience or financial backing, decided to make an organization for the protection of animals. It sounds easy today, but it wasn’t back then in 2009. The people who helped animals were seen as crazy aunties, feeding dogs from troths by the garbage bins…

We were different – young and full of working enthusiasm, we wanted to change the world for the dogs in Sofia, in Bulgaria – a little by little, one dog at a time!

The Bogrov municipal shelter (2010-2013)

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We started our work as volunteers in the municipal pound of Seslavtzi (with a capacity of about 200 dogs). When a rumor was spread that the municipality is planning to open a new pound with a capacity of 500 animals, we were shocked. How were we to cope – to take animals to foster homes for treatment, to vaccinate, to find owners? How could we be useful to so many fogs, making time for them away from work? And then a wise person told us: “If you want to be helping the dogs, you need to be where they are. Not at home. Not at work. But at the shelter”

And so, the newly- created organization took over the management of the newly-opened municipal pound. And it became the very first place to admit hundreds of volunteers, a place where people would bring their kids in the weekends. Thanks to our volunteers and donors, everyone in Bulgaria learnt that homeless animal shelters can be different, and helping animals in need is not just possible, but also pleasant. And that changed not just the Bogrov shelter, but also the other shelters and organizations, but most of all – it changed the way the media and society saw the stray animal problem…

Our shelter – The Farm (2014 – and forever)

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After three years of work at Bogrov, our contract with the municipality expired. It was time for a big change, for another dive in the deep. With the help of thousands of donors, only in 86 days, we raised nearly half a million leva, to buy our own property which to turn into the first privet dog shelter in Sofia.

Now we are here, at our Farm, and we’re building, alongside with our donors, volunteers and dogs, the best place for the animals in need!

Adoptions

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Although we are very particular with candidates for adoption and do not give away dogs to everyone, we’ve managed to re-home about 850 dogs every year!

Our dogs wait for for their local adopters at the shelter. And whilst we fight to make adoptions more popular, we also look for homes for our animals abroad.

In order for the chosen dogs to reach our partners in Austria, Holland and Germany, we send our dog van on journeys several times a month.

The thousands of dogs we placed in homes from the streets of Sofia are a very serious percent of the total decrease of stray dog numbers in the city. And we are proud of our good work!

Spay & Neuter

Even finding new homes doesn’t matter that much to the stray dog population, as the prevention of pet abandoning and new-born strays.

In 7 years we managed to neuter 10 000 animals.

In Rescue Center

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Our doctors save the lives of cats and dogs (and sometimes rabbits, goats or even ravens) on a daily basis. Animals that were hurt in accidents, or by violent humans. Poisoned, shot, ran-over, sprayed with acid, tortured or just ill.

Our clinic cannot sustain orthopedic surgeries, but we have been able to find sponsorship for over a 100 orthopedic patients every year. We provide care for 20 ill/injured animals every day.

Education

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A better future is in the hands of our children, their children. And the start of any change has to be the change in people’s mindset and culture.

We don’t only teach kids and young people responsibility to animals, we also learn everyday ourselves.

Dreaming of „The Ranch”

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As work evolved – we began to receive other kinds of animals for treatment – abused and ill horses. There is no place in Bulgaria where such animals can spend the rest of their lives in dignity.

We dream of the making of “The Ranch” – a refuge for abused horses and farm animals. And until that happens, we will keep caring for our first horses, pigs, goats and sheep.

Our Tasks:

  • the running of a well-managed shelter for homeless dogs;
  • coordination and help for the municipal authorities in charge of homeless animals;
  • raising awareness and educating the public on responsible dog ownership and stray dogs;
  • maintaining widely spread neutering campaigns for stray and owned animals;
  • re-homing as many animals possible – both in Bulgaria and other EU countries;
  • creating the first in Bulgaria abused horse and donkey sanctuary.