Many people believe that the Trap, Neuter and Return program cannot solve the stray dog and cat problem. There are also those who consider that the only way to get rid of the homeless animal population is by killing them all. In a few words we will try to explain why the sterilization is necessary, but also why it is insufficient to solve the entire problem.

Imagine a boat at sea. There are several holes in its hull which allow the water to enter. The people sitting inside bail the water out of the boat constantly – some using buckets, others cups. Nevertheless, the water keeps on filling the boat. This example, in a quite accurate manner, represents the burning problem with the stray animals.

The leaking holes are the sources of new stray dogs, while the water inside the boat represents the already existing stray animals. And no matter how hard we try to bail the water out of the boat, we will not make progress unless we plug the leaks.

What are the main sources of new dogs on the streets and what are the ways to eliminate them?

As you will see, from the table shown below, the sterilization of stray dogs solves only a fraction of the entire problem. For the final solution of this complex matter, there is an urgent need of comprehensive measures to be taken. Without them being taken, trying to clear the water out of the boat would be futile, while there will be more and more homeless animals roaming the streets.

Source of new stray animals Practices of solving the problem
Generations of stray dogs Sterilization and returning to their previous locations
Abandoned domestic dogs Mandatory microchipping and registration for domestic dogs; imposing fines for discarding dogs
Abandoned generations of domestic dogs Sterilization of domestic dogs; Education for owners


Natural migration



Artificial migration


The return of already neutered animals to their habitat  prevents the arrival of new animals;

Many municipalities deal with the problem by catching stray dogs and simply dumping them into another municipality. The correct way to solve this problem is strict control by the State toward the municipalities.


In Sofia, the biggest sources of new stray dogs are the unwanted generations of domestic, mostly courtyard dogs and guard dogs at warehouses, car parks and construction sites. The majority of stray dogs are now neutered, and subsequently we rarely encounter homeless mothers with puppies. At the same time, the number of puppies being dumped all the time is enormous.

Why sterilize homeless and domestic dogs (as opposed to being killed, taken to a shelter or adopting the homeless ones)?

The reason is, in their place will come newly cast animals that will accommodate themselves in the places left by the slaughtered/sheltered ones. However, the newcomers will not be neutered and therefore, will give birth twice a year. The return to the capture location of sterilized stray dogs prevents natural migration as a source of new stray dogs, and the castration of domestic animals (especially those that fall into high-risk groups – courtyard and guard dogs) interrupts the vicious circle of throwing away more and more puppy litters.

What exactly is the Trap, Neuter and Return Program?

Every dog captured from the street is being castrated, dewormed internally, vaccinated against rabies, and returned to the location it was captured.

What kind of dogs cannot be returned to the street after being processed?

There are dogs that do not fit into the Trap, Neuter and Return model and cannot be returned locally because:

  • They will not survive there (former domestic dogs, discarded puppies, sick animals);
  • They are socially unacceptable (too big and “scary” for people; aggressive or noisy);
  • Their habitats are listed according the law, as areas banned to stray animals (yards of hospitals; kindergartens; schools).

Many people are upset that we do not take every stray dog they encounter into the Farm. Aside from our limited capacity, the reason is that we are only trying to shelter animals from the three groups mentioned above.

13 September 2017 | Library

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