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Dear friends,
thank you for being with us at the Council of Ministers today! It was great to see so many dogs adopted from Animal Rescue Sofia, so many real animal lovers gather together and in a working day! There were about 300 people at the protest, representatives of animal welfare NGO’s from all over the country.
It was a long and complicated day, but – we did it. The unprecedented union of all animal welfare groups proved to be fruitful. We sincerely salute all our colleagues for standing up shoulder to shoulder despite our many quarrels in the past and protecting our common cause.

Photos by Manya Andreeva

This is what happened:

The protest began with a small march that was made to look like a funeral. It arrived at the Council of Ministers and after a little while a large group of people formed – everyone was signing the declaration and three representatives were appointed to represent us in a meeting with the Prime Minister Borisov who agreed to see us and receive the declaration.

What the representatives didn’t expect was that the Prime Minister had called up the Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Naydenov, the Mayor of Sofia Fandakova and the deputy-mayor Boyajiiska. In such a session our colleagues handed in the Declaration and stated our demands once again:

–          Not to allow changes to the Animal Protection Act;

–          To have the dogs neutered, not euthanized;

–          To drop the illegal texts in the new Regulation 41;

–          To make a National Strategy for dealing with the stray dog problem;

–          To have Minister Naydenov resign.

After a long discussion in the Prime Minister’s office he made the following commitments:

–          To create an Animal Police for control of violence and abandoning of animals;

–          To make the dog registry database as soon as possible;

–          To postpone changes to the Animal Protection Act, and make sure when they are made they are not prepared in secret, but discussed in public;

–          To continue to support CNVR in Bulgaria.

After the representatives told everyone outside what they have achieved the protest settled down and was over. Then there was a meeting with Minister Naydenov himself. There was some confusion and only representatives of Animal Rescue Sofia, Vier Pfoten Bulgaria and The German Spay/Neuter Centre were present. The Minister was open to a dialogue and we more or less confirmed the arrangements made with the Prime Minister.

We disagreed when Minister Naydenov stated that the “dog supervisors” be removed from the law. Instead we suggested that a successful model be adopted from Plovdiv municipality where a registry for stray cats and their supervisors has been running for a while.

Having in mind that Regulation 41 is to be worked on again the Minister called NGO’s to send their statements and recommendations in due order  throughout the following week.

At the end of the meeting the minister said that this is the last chance to have the problem solved in a humane and intelligent way because the public discontent with the matter is very high. We know that quite well. It is time to mobilize all resources and strength and work – to prevent the abandonment of animals and stop the propagation of unwanted animals.

During the next few weeks we will know whether the officials are really planning to work on solving the problem – as usual, we remain ready to work.  We are very tired of promises, but this time they come from our Prime Minister – we don’t believe his subordinates will dare neglect his direct order that “all dogs should be neutered, only aggressive dogs should be euthanized”.

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