Life goes on and despite the unbearable heat, the forest fires and the rise of the prices for electricity – the stray dog problem continues to be a priority in Bulgaria. Besides our everyday work – we are currently working on a campaign in Novi Iskar together with the municipality – as an animal welfare organization we have to monitor and work for a good legislative framework.
This is a short update on the basic matters, relating to stray dogs at the moment.
Changes to the Animal Protection Act
As you know, we were extremely worried when the far-right wing ATAKA party proposed insane changes to the Act. Knowing this is a cheap populist move we were not expecting the governing GERB party to back these changes. We were shocked to see the Ministry of Agriculture support the changes, sending a statement to the Parliamentary self-governing commission, stating the CNVR program must be dropped. What they were thinking – we have no clue. The good news is now things are being put differently.
The governing GERB party has filed the changes they will request in the Animal Protection Act. They suggest a strengthening of the CNVR program by specific measures. All in all we can say we are satisfied to the changes that will be made with a few exceptions. The most important points are:
Strong new measures:
- The making of a national strategy by the Ministry of Agriculture – a nation-wide regulation of the way the problem must be solved in local municipalities;
- Microchipping of all owned and homeless dogs;
- Raising the fine for dog abandonment to 1000BGN (500E).
- Dropping of the Dog Supervisors;
A dog supervisor was a person who engaged with the deworming and revaccination of neighborhood that have dogs already been neutered and returned. Such a program has been quite successful in Plovdiv. Unfortunately here in Sofia there often are serious conflicts between the supervisors and Municipal Ecobalance company employees.
- Creating a nation-wide register for the owned and homeless dogs.
Minister Naydenov’s last promise to the Mayor Fandakova was that the national dog registry database will start to function as of July first. Well 01-07-12 has long passed, but no database has begun functioning. It turns out the private vets are only now beginning to file their applications for an access to the registry…
Important notice! Please note that any dogs you have neutered at the Bogrov clinic are already a part of this database – we have access through our shelter account.
All suggested measures can be found HERE (Bulgarian only).
Changes to Regulation 41
We’ve already informed you that the National Food Agency blocked the approval of the text we revised. According to the executive director of the Agency, the meetings they organized with us for the Regulation 41 (how shelters look and function) were not according to the procedure.
We have now received a new invitation from the Ministry of Agriculture. The invitation has also been spread to more members than the group we had previously – it will include: Jenny Popova, head of the municipal shelter in Ruse; Margarita Peeva former manager of the Nessebar city shelter; Grigor Dimitrov, chairman of the DBTH with shelters in Dobrich, Shumen and Sofia. We believe that such an expert group will be able to produce a quality text and the risks of the creation of dog concentration camps will be minimized. Of course, we will not be easy until the changes are made official.
Work in Sofia
As you know, after the second incident when another elderly citizen was attacked by dogs, the mayor Fandakova decided to take the matters into her own hands. As a result – weekly meetings are held at her office to coordinate and plan the work on the Spay/Neuter program in Sofia. The organizations present at the meetings with the Mayor are: Animal Rescue Sofia, Four Paws Bulgaria, German Spay/Neuter Center, Bulgarian Veterinary Union, Municipal company Ecobalance, Sofia Municipal Council, Sofia administration. Mostly current problems and plans are discussed, schedules and plans are made and etc.
At our last meeting this Monday 09-07-12, Mayor Fandakova discussed the possibility of giving us land to build our own shelter with our Chairlady Nadia Stancheva. We were offered a few options and will be looking at them this week.
You probably have already heard that a new shelter will be built in Sofia, for 2 000 dogs. The place of the new facility is neighboring to the Bogrov shelter. You can find the specifics HERE (Bulgarian only) – the plans are published on the Sofia Municipality website.
We will keep you informed on all these important issues. Cross your fingers that the light we see in the tunnel is not the headlight of an approaching train.