News

First changes in the scenery

Posted on 27 March 2014

The cool team of Megaconsult Group Bulgaria don’t need to be urged and the dog building is starting to resemble a dog building. The kennel walls are being put up – each will have a little space inside and a little yard outside. The kennels are intended for no more than 2-3 adult dogs or a litter of babies, individual cells are also planned for the dogs who need to be alone.

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It was surprisingly difficult for the constructor to figure out where the doggy-doors should be for the yard exits. The wholes are being made – most are under the windows.

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With a mobile clinic at hand and many injured animals who need our assistance every day – we will try to find a temporary solution, at least for traumatology. A room in the building that will house our clinic when the funds are found, will host a number of injured animals whilst the reconstructions are going on.

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It is a small space, for a few foldable crates with patients in them, but this way we will be able to help injured animals who need permanent care and cannot be fostered for treatment. To avoid disappointments, please note that we will not be admitting infectiously ill or skin-diseased animals.

We have a mobile clinic!

Posted on 22 March 2014

Dear friends,
we are very happy to announce that Animal Rescue Sofia now has a mobile clinic!

It is large, it is fully equipped, it is on the move, it is just what we needed!

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As you know – it will take time and means to create our high-profile Franziska clinic. To have a well-equipped high profile dog hospital in the shelter will also take a lot of money – we are searching for it.

Meanwhile, in the three months that we haven’t been neutering (01-03.2014) it tuned out there are many, many people who count on us for the neutering of owned and homeless dogs – we even have a waiting list for “when you start operating again”.

Well, we will be “operating again” very soon! For now the mobile clinic will be parked in the yard of the Farm, so that our Neuter vets can begin working again, although in little rough conditions. And when  the Franziska is ready – the mobile clinic is going on tour to places where people don’t even know what the word “Neuter” means.

Our new mobile clinic used to live in Berlin, where it treated animals for many years. It is a Renault. It moves slowly, because the equipment is very heavy, but it came to Bulgaria on its own. The clinic is in excellent condition – very well preserved and spacious.

It is also completely autonomous! The water is held by two reservoirs – clean and dirty. There are solar panels on the roof which allow full independence, even if there is no electricity nearby.

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Welcome, darling Tierambulanz, we wish you to be strong for many years and help thousands and thousands of animals!

The reconstructions have begun!

Posted on 21 March 2014

After we met and talked to a whole load of reconstruction companies. After we saw all sorts of pumped-up prices and vague promises. After we tore our nerves with people who for some reason think there is “plenty of cash in the dog-business”, it turned out that we had the right people at hand all the time.

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We are glad to inform you that Mega Consult Group Bulgaria will take on the most important part of the reconstructions. They are people whose professionalism is known to us, we just didn’t know they also deal with our kind of needs.  We are very glad that things turned out this way – precious money will be saved, their offer is almost twice cheaper than the next in line, but they are also great friends of the animals and do good work.

Before they begin to put up the cages, a careful marking must be put out where things will be – the floor heating pipes, the corridors, walls and etc. First we will raise the walls (transparent after 1,50m) with the concrete blocks we have purchased, then we will make the floor with the angle needed for proper washing (each canal must be separately tied, so that infections don’t pass from one cage to another), finally we will place the canals and the special floor covering (no more cold concrete!). Meanwhile we have the first “portion” of metal bars and doors ready made by our fab ironman (it is much more difficult to put holes all over a building than you would think), and for the windows we are still waiting for a better offer, but they are the last to be put in anyway.

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That’s it, folks! We are on the move! First we will do one side of the building, then the other (it is separated in 2 blocks), so we can get as many dogs in as possible as soon as we can.

Again, we thank all the companies that have minimized their prices for us; we thank Kirov for giving us the special instruments we need free of charge; we thank our awesome volunteer ironman Stanimir – who has been making doors and cages after work for quite some time now; to all of you who help any which way you can.

In the days ahead we will try to tell you more about the centers we visited in the UK (Dogs Trust) earlier this year when we were planning our shelter. Well, of course, this is not Britain, but we promise you that together, we will have made the best Bulgarian shelter!

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Our dogs at Lords of the Broadcast!

Posted on 14 March 2014

Animal Rescue Sofia is not an heir to long-standing traditions in animal welfare – the organization exists from 2009, it is a local, Bulgarian organization. We are not trained in the magic of NGO work – neither with the media, nor with the institutions – we all come from different backgrounds – all of us used to do something completely different before we started helping the homeless. We have no budget or big sponsors – we fight to make it every month and can go forward only thanks to your trust. More or less – our only resource is our own motivation and strength, turned into a job well done.

What that does give us? On one hand – we are flexible enough to work in our ever-changing environment. On the other – we have to constantly “invent” ways to survive, looking for different ways to reach people, feeling our way forward in the dark.

You probably know that ARSOfia doesn’t spend anything on advertisement, PR, popularity or anything other than the wellbeing of the dogs. All our brochures, materials, all our presence online – this website, Facebook, the calendars, our appearances in the media – are a result of a voluntary effort of people who care, who want our message to go across. As well as we are doing online through – the fastest, mass way to the heads of people is surely – television.

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With a huge joy, why – with an euphoric happiness, we announce a real break-through! Two little souls, tow tiny boys that don’t even have a name yet, will be making a huge step forward for all of their homeless brethren! From this week and all the way till the end of the season, our two lads will be a permanent presence in one of the most-watched programs on Bulgarian TV – Lords of the broadcast!

The two little mice are fostered by the show – it means they are looking for adopters from the TV screen. But actually, something much more important to them is to encourage people to look for a pet not in a shop – but in a shelter. They are doing this with the help of the smiling hosts, who will tell our compatriots to adopt in every single one of their daily shows. The message is that there exist angels like these innocent babies who are locked up an waiting to be adopted – innocent souls, doomed to be lonely and unwanted only because they don’t have a breed. The effect of their appearance was immediate and the response – huge. For only 2 days on Facebook there were over 600 suggestions to name them on the show’s page, and another 150 on ours.

You can see the show uploaded every day AT THIS LINK.

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A huge, HUGE “THANK YOU” to the show’s team for this opportunity to show the world how sweet, how smart, how kind and clever our animals are!

Thanks to their commitment, an Idea will creep into the homes of people through the TV sets, a Kind Feeling and a Compassion that we know – are contagious as hell. And before you know it – the people in front of the screen will feel a need to stroke a Dog, to feel his Faithful Heart in their lives, to know the Joy of having a friend whose life they saved.

Deo volente!

P.S.  This Saturday and Sunday at our Adoption weekend at PETS&U store you can meet the three brothers of the TV-stars – our tiny 3 musketeers who dream of nothing, but loving hands, a home and a hug! See them below, and click on the image if you want to know how to adopt any of them:

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ARSofia visits the children of School 23!

Posted on 13 March 2014

Dear friends,
we’ve mentioned to you that we have an Education program, but we have never really told you what it is all about. It is something we’ve been fighting for 3 years now, and we have had some opportunities to put it in action, but still – in so long a time – it hasn’t become something we do on a regular, planned basis. Mostly because we cannot get through the “Education” Direction at our Municipality.

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There is nothing more important to our cause than to teach the kids to be different: kinder, more responsible and better informed when it comes to living with dogs. Multiple studies have already proven that to change an attitude the best age would be between 8 and 11 – before that it is too early, after it – too late to change the mindset of a person. More so – through the knowledge the children bring home the whole family’s attitude can be improved. For this reason – any respectable organization that is really seeking change works not only to save the dogs, but to educate the kids as well.

We started by creating a lesson and a booklet to go with it. Our Chairlady Nadia Stancheva is also a teacher by education and that allowed her to really understand the depths of requirements and possibilities that our education system provides for such a lesson. Such is the “Human and nature” class for children in the first years of education.

After she read all sorts of programs from all over the world and with the kind help of our friends at SOS Dogs Oradea who are already educating the children in Romania and BULGED print, Nadia created a booklet that is both unusual and much appreciated by the children. She called it “Dogs, dogs!” and it is to be used during the lesson and be left with the kids.

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CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR BOOKLET
(As you will see – it is already time to change it as it bears the details of our former Bogrov shelter. If you work in a printing company or just want to help us financially for a second print of the booklet – please send us a note at office@arsofia.com)

The aim of the lesson is both to introduce the children to responsible dog ownership and also make neutering more popular, show the kids what to do if they ever encounter an unfriendly dog outside and in general – to create a more informed and responsible attitude towards animals.

Our first lesson was held at School 119 back in 2011. We’ve also been to Pancharevo, Lozen, the Anglo-American School, in the Center etc… We really wanted to make this program permanent for the whole of Sofia Municipality, and we even got support from the Sofia mayor – Mrs.Fandakova, who as a teacher quickly understood our point and wanted it carry it out.

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Unfortunately, our education system is probably the most rigid and hard to change – it became impossible to make a schedule with the “Education” direction for the school visits, obstructions were made for a dog to visit the schools (although all papers and health guarantee are provided by us), the requirements to us as a team were impossible to fulfill. We do not have the resources to carry out such a grand endeavor without financial aid – each of us is already working at least for 3 people, we don’t see how we can add yet another career to our characteristics and do the job well. We need more people whom we will train to be trainees, but cannot afford them at this point.

For all those reasons – our education program was put on “hold”. Our lessons are carried out sporadically – when there is a school principal, a teacher or a parent who is interested and takes on the organization on the spot. And there are many – we don’t know how they hear of it – perhaps it’s the word of mouth, or it could be that it’s just the right time for it, or maybe there simply are people who like us understand how important such a lesson is, but anyway – there is great interest in it.

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Last week we were visiting the children of 23 School. Our lectors Nadya and Zevscho were greeted warmly and with a great excitement. The lessons included a total of 170 children from 3-rd and 4-th grade – a really wonderful experience.

It was a mother of one of the children – Mrs.Desislava Vitanova who organized everything on the spot with the school team – a flawless organization, our hats go off. And the kids had even raised funds amongst themselves – the dogs got 110 leva from them and another 50 leva “from Kotzeto’s dad” – we are much obliged.

Thank you dear parents, teachers and children for your enthusiasm and participation!
What you did is of great importance and meaning, you should be proud to be the first in this endeavor! And let us hope that one day all of our children, not only in Sofia will have a chance to hear such a lesson, so they can also have the strength and knowledge to change the world they will inherit.

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Currently at the Farm

Posted on 09 March 2014

It is insanely difficult to reconstruct both cheaply and with a reasonable quality – reconstruction details are dripping out of our ears, or at least it is how we feel it. The preparation agony before the work can finally begin in its whole is finally coming to an end, may the dog gods bring a good mood and less problems to our municipality – Kremikovtzi. Meanwhile our pals remain in their outside enclosures.

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Have you ever heard of sand that is not sand? Well, go ahead and buy the cheapest sand wholesale and you will know about it. This week we were replacing the sand outside. Oddly enough – once wet, the old yellow sand we had bought became mud. O, joy, o perfect holiday for the keepers and volunteers who leave the shelter decorated – many muddy medals on the front and at least 2-4 on the back of their clothes…

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Whilst waiting for permits and the final versions of the renovation plans, the boys decided to demonstrate their abilities and finish up one heavy task that doesn’t require special skills – taking down the attic in the clinic.

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The buildings, as you know, are old, we already tore down and made anew the ceilings in the huge building (it is only “the large” building for those who have not worked in it), but we never expected that the little clinic ceilings would make that much of a mess. But – as already proven scientifically – our boys are golden, and so are their hands.

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After a long battle with the mud and straw, our little clinic is now non-inhabited and quite windy!

Everything we had placed in the so-called “den” is now well arranged in the warehouse:

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And for the humans – with the help of FENSTERNORM windows and frames who gave us a window – we isolated a part of the warehouse which we now proudly call “the office”.

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This is our life currently, don’t ask “when”- we have gone wild asking that question ourselves. But – as it now seems – things will continue along the old Bulgarian saying: “take what you have calculated you need as time and money for the renovation. Now multiply the time by 3 and the costs by 2 and you will have a minimal estimate”…

Our oldest inhabitants – Rick, Dyakona, The-Walking-Dead and Lambi say we should be patient and send you their best regards:

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The magic martenitzi

Posted on 03 March 2014

3130 bulgarian leva were raised by you, dear friends, for the homeless dogs and cats of our city, by shopping at PETS&U for this year’s martenitzi! This really is a phenomenal amount – going many times over what we expected.

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And since we know how many we have brought to the shop and how much they are supposed to cost – we thank you triple for this phenomenal result. Do you know what it means to us to find a piece of paper with a donation wrapped in it that says “for Suncho and Co.”? It means everything, friends, it means that things are as they should be (on the photo you see Suncho, of course, thankful):

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This is a but mysterious, but as we hate to push our luck, we can only say officially:

the funds you have raised, along with the last money from the calendars and a part of the loan another awesome person gave us, will travel to Germany next week.

From there, they will come back to us in a totally different shape – one that is to benefit thousands of animals, not only in Sofia, but in the country as well. A helping, problem-solving form, the form we like best…

Please, stay tuned for some awesome news on our side, news that are possible only thanks to you generosity, compassion, intelligence, kindness and love for the animals!!!

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BE VERY HAPPY, DEAR, MOST WONDERFUL HUMANS!
May your road be always paved with possibilities, may you be white and red, happy and smiling! These martenitzi really are magic and the person wearing them gets an invisible luck-cloak!

Wild, wilder, Brodilovo

Posted on 02 March 2014

Yet another year in a row and again – using the “Bulgarian national traditions” as an excuse for their barbarism, the people from the Stranja region village of Brodilovo tried to hang, twist and throw their dogs in the water to “protect” their farm animals from Foot and mouth disease and other contagious illnesses throughout the year.

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This year their “festivities” were supposed to take place on March 01, but was met by the presence of police, media, activists and representatives of the local veterinary authorities.

“The police have been terrorizing the villagers for a whole week” states Ilia Iliev, mayor of Brodilovo for TOP NOVINI BURGAS. “The villagers were forced to sign declarations that they will not take part in the ritual, they were threatened and police violence took place” he claims. Mayor Iliev also told the media he is a firm supporter of the ritual as it is passed on through the generations.

“These traditions are bound to the survival of our folk. If it weren’t for these traditions, we – the Bulgarians – would never have survived” he adds.  “We will not surrender. We will continue our traditions and if we must – we will do it illegally.” mayor Iliev comments for bTV.

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It is a little known fact that this is not an old tradition at all and it should not even involve all the dogs in the village as Brodilovo people have it through the last decades.

Despite the big efforts on the side of the authorities and the friends of animals – the local barbarians were firmly set on carrying out the “tradition” and the police had to forcefully confiscate the ropes they had prepared to hang the dogs. We thank the officers who have proven that – is there is a political will – the Police can be very effective and convincing when it comes to animal cruelty.

Now these “patriots” and “keepers of our national identity” are wild with anger, claiming the police is terrorizing them and they will not give up their ways, that the dogs belong to them and they can do whatever they want to them, threatening to perform the barbarism when there are no outsiders present.

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Astonishing… do we really live in one country with these… people?

See the report of Nova Television who have filmed the “rehearsal” of the barbarism. The police claim this video is not enough evidence and no consequence will come for the people who did it.

A donation campaign at PETS&U

Posted on 28 February 2014

Dear friends of the homeless animals,
the amazing pioneers,  hosts of our Adoption weekends, the people who give us the fantastic opportunity to meet you in the city – PETS&U pet store have decided to put through a solid fund-raising campaign for the dogs and cats at the Farm!

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Donate whilst shopping!

From 01.03.2014 the store is giving you the opportunity to donate 5% of the cost of ANY pet food you purchased for the animals under the care of Animal Rescue Sofia!
Or, to put it simply – when you shop for food for your best buddy at PETS&U you are also feeding our dogs.

The campaign is valid for any and all types of food at the store – both for dogs and for cats. The only thing you need to do to make a donation is buy the food you need from their store. The people at the desk will ask if you want to donate 5% of it and the dogs at the Farm will really hope you answer “Yes! For Animal Rescue Sofia.”

At the end of each month the cool people from the store will donate everything you have raised so that we can buy the tons of food we need to fill the bellies of our shelter folk.

Why is this necessary?

Now that we have our own space under the sun – our Farm – there are many tasks ahead of us. The first and most important being to provide a steady flow of food to the hundreds of hungry throats we care for.

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You know that in the Bogrov shelter 1/3 of the food was provided by the Municipality, about 1/3 was donated through the kindness of friends in Bulgaria and abroad and another third we bought at cheap prices.

PETS&U is a huge store that sells all foods at one place. If many of us get together and decide to shop the food for our pets at the store – we could really create a working mechanism, providing food for our heroes without even having to reach in our pockets again!

We would greatly appreciate it if you join this initiative. It is new in Bulgaria, but has been tested and proven successful by many organizations like our abroad. This is a huge gesture from the people at PETS&U – for the homeless animals. You know how very hard it is to find brands and companies willing, and proud of the fact they are associated with “mutts”.

This is our chance to prove that it matters how things are done, that there is a point for a business to be socially-responsible, that there are many of us – the people who want to change our reality, the people who want to live in a European Bulgaria.

On behalf of the 200 heroes at the Farm: thank you for your support, friends!

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Pets&U is located in Lozenetz, on the side of the Hemus hotel. The store is open every day from 10a.m. to 8p.m.

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The people on staff all love and own animals, the sales-people are both veterinarians. All pets are welcome at the facility!

Find them on FACEBOOK

Martenitzi at PETS&U

Posted on 15 February 2014

Chose our charity martenitzi for the First of March! Each one of them is a full donation for the dogs and cats at the Farm.

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Our martenitzi are sold at Pets&U from Saturday, 15.02.2014. You are welcome to come and chose yours, they do more than just bring luck, health and happiness!

Pets&U

Pets&U is located in Lozenetz, on the side of the Hemus hotel. The store is open every day from 10a.m. to 8p.m.

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The people on staff all love and own animals, the sales-people are both veterinarians. All pets are welcome at the facility!

Find them on FACEBOOK

Class 3-b, STROYRENT and KIROV donate for the Farm

Posted on 27 January 2014

It will soon be a month since we managed to buy the Farm, move the animals and begin the reconstructions. The dogs are placed in temporary enclosures, the weekend walks are organized by the volunteers despite the harsh conditions, the keepers somehow manage to keep things going, everyone is mobilized. And whilst we are drowning in overhaul, plans, permits and engineering tasks (not to mention the dogs) – we can pinch ourselves – we are not dreaming! The Farm is a fact, it lives and pulsates stronger in the darkness with every nail hammered into its walls. For more information about the Farm reconstructions read this. Here we would like to introduce you to some more of our magician-compatriots who not only are helping a miracle take place, but are also planting a seed of hope that Spring is yet to come for our nation.

The kids from class 3-b at 23-rd Middle School, with the help of some awesome parents and teachers, made a project called “Hope for the homeless dogs”.

Not only did they take part in our educational program “Dogs! Dogs!” and distributed leaflets, they also put up donation boxes in their school and thus helped us renovate the Farm.

We needed to rent-out two scaffolds to change the plaster in the dog building. With what they succeeded to raise the kids rented out the one and the company that leases them STROYRENT helped out charge-free with the other!

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On the photo you can see a dad of one of the 3-b students, who also works at Stroyrent, along with two smiling activists at the Farm. The kind people on the Stroyrent team also have given us a great discount on the construction panels we used to make temporary enclosures for the dogs.

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An interesting fact about good young people: 23-rd School has released a questionary to 68 kids – on the topic of homeless animals. Only 11 have said they would not adopt a dog from a shelter and only 5 wouldn’t come to walk dogs at the Farm with us.

We greatly appreciate the support we are getting from donors and volunteers, we go forward thanks to you, friends. As in any repairs things happen slowly and painfully, only we get a little help from our friends!

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Thanks to KIROV who provide us with all the machines we need to repair the Farm, we continue to take care of the pence whilst looking for additional financing opportunities.

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The BOSCH representative for Bulgaria – KIROV have promised to provide any and all machines we might need completely free of charge! We are touched by their trust and very happy that we will be able to save money.

And last, but definitely not least – we want to thank a friend who has been there for us at the right time – Rossen Paskov. A friend in need is a friend in deed. Indeed, Rossen =)

The Penalty Code to be voted by the Parliament with no changes regarding animal cruelty

Posted on 19 January 2014

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Dear friends,
as you are aware, three offices have passed in the Ministry of Justice, since the changes in the Penalty Code began. The project was started in 2011 and only finished by the current administration, the final draft being published for discussions at the end of December last year.

We were shocked to find the animal cruelty texts changed beyond recognition. The draft intended lesser fines and penalties for animal cruelty, practically de-criminalizing animal fighting. We sent our Statement to the Ministry, shared the petition our colleagues made, asked you for your help and you provided it, friends. Finally, the amendments regarding cruelty to animals were dismissed and the PC was sent to the Parliament for voting unchanged in this part.

We thank the minister of Justice Zinaida Zlatanova for respecting the protest and professional opinion of many activists and animal welfare groups. We thank you for being so active in sending your Statements and signing the petition (which automatically generates e-mails to the persons responsible).

Hopefully, there will be no sudden changes of course and the texts of the Penalty Code regarding cruelty to animals will remain the same.