In a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Foods and the Mayor of Sofia, sent on April 04, the world renown Dog population management expert Nathalie Klinge shared her disappointment with the poorly handled stray dog problem. Mrs.Klinge is Dutch and has been consulting both the Ministry and Municipalities on two occasions – in 2010 and 2011.
In her letter she states that Bulgarian authorities have taken no consideration with the knowledge they have received. Mrs.Klinge quotes Minister Naydenov’s commitment to the Spay/Neuter program, his assurances to Brussels that he will be working with the non-governmental organizations and etc. – statements that are alien to the Minister these days.
Mrs.Klinge also asks the authorities how exactly it is that the NGO’s are blamed for the government’s failure. As an expert, she finds the Ministry and Municipalities have done nothing reasonable to solve the stray dog problem, but instead spent huge amounts of taxpayers’ money.
Nathalie Klinge is an advisor for FPCC – a foundation operating in North-West Romania, famous for it’s huge success in reducing stray dog numbers through CNVR – Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate & Return.
Her strongest recommendation is that Bulgaria needs a Nation-wide Spay&Neuter program, a coordinated plan for a mass and total neutering of free roaming dogs. She believes educating the public is an inseparable part of the solution and suggests neutering of yard dogs as a number one priority.
We remind you that on Monday 50 NGO’s from Bulgaria and Europe have come together to demand the resignation of Miroslav Naydenov as Minister of Agriculture and Foods. In response D-r Naydenov replied that they should apologize to the people who were bitten by dogs. His demand for apology was met by the NGO’s with a: “Blaming us for the stray dogs is absolutely ridiculous and insolent!”
Meanwhile Sofia Deputy-Mayor for Ecology Maria Boyajiiska resigned. Her resignation was not accepted by Sofia Mayor Fandukova, but it was on account of the many dog-bite incidents in the city. We respect her worthy decision, but we don’t think Mrs.Boiajiiska can be held responsible for the chaos and idleness on the stray dog problem that can be seen in any corner of the country. Minister Naydenov alone is the person who holds the political responsibility for this outrage and we continue to demand his resignation.
Stella Raycheva, Stanislava Stancheva, Robert Smith, Nadia Stancheva and Nathalie Klinge at the training seminar in October 2010
Dear Dr. Miroslav Naydenov and Mrs. Yordanka Fandukova,
I would like to share my concerns about the current development in Sofia with the stray dog situation.
To refresh your memory a short introduction:
In 2010 I wrote a report on the stray dog situation in Sofia and the ineffective and corrupt policies of Ecobalance. Therefore I was invited in October 2010 by the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Food for a seminar/training in Sofia. Me and my colleagues gave several lectures on how to solve Sofia’s stray dog problem. In September 2011 we were invited again to meet Mrs. Yordanka Fandukova to inform her how to solve Sofia’s and Bulgaria’s stray dog problem.
So far nothing concrete was done with the information we gave and now it came to an explosive situation in Bulgaria in which the NGO’s are blamed for the decades of mismanagement of Sofia Municipality and its Ecobalance.
I wrote in my report in 2010:
- The existing stray dog problem in Sofia is caused by the lack of proper Governmental support to contribute to an effective strategy in tackling the problem.
- The Ecoravnovesie Sofia Municipal Animal Control neutering activities fail because it doesn’t return the dogs to its original community.
- Ecoravnovesie doesn’t show any activities in educating children, promoting responsible dog owner ship, offering low cost neutering and publicity campaigns.
- Ecoravnovesie Sofia Municipal Animal Control has no accurate figures of the number of stray dogs, owned dogs or community dogs. The conclusion of Naidenov that the streets of Sofia should be “cleaned up” by the end of 2011 will by far not be achieved. By cleaned up, we assume he means free of roaming dogs with or without owners.
Many Bulgarian politicians have described the problems in Bulgaria and even proposed proper solutions, but so far nothing has been done. The only parties actually working on the issue are the few NGO’s.
We estimated the total dog population of Bulgaria is less than 1,000,000, but that needs to be surveyed properly. In 10 years’ time (1998-2008) Sofia Municipality wasted over 4 million Euro’s on dog population management, so money must be available.
What is taking Bulgarian local and national government so long to allocate budget for dealing with the stray dog issues? And how come NGO’s became the scapegoat for governmental failure? The NGO’s in Bulgaria will make the change. Most of them consist of highly educated and intelligent people working together with foreign advisors and with foreign veterinary teams. They visit conferences on Dog Population Management. They initiate education programs and PR campaigns to raise awareness among Bulgarians, but too often being obstructed by local authorities.
Nowadays thanks to modern media it has become so easy to reach your inhabitants. It is the Bulgarian government’s duty to protect its inhabitants from a surplus over free roaming dogs. Since these inhabitants are the source of the problem a national campaign to encourage dog owners to spay/neuter their dogs is priority number one. The people are the source of the problem, the dogs is just the symptom. Therefore the Bulgarian Government has to raise awareness among its inhabitants. Violence against dogs, killing dogs, encouraged by the mass hysteria created by local governments and mass media has a negative effect on a society. It raises violent children who will become violent adults once. Killing dogs is endless, ineffective and extremely costly.
I strongly suggest to study our power point presentations on http://www.slideshare.net/NathalieLouise once more and if we can be of any help, we are at your service.
Kind regards, Nathalie Klinge
International Consultant Dog Population Management
SEE ALSO: Former statements Bulgarian Politicians and officials
1. Mrs. Evdokia Maneva
In October 2008 Mrs. Evdokia Maneva, member of the Bulgarian Parliament at that time, gave a lecture on the Animal Welfare Conference in Brussels in which she stated:
Long-term Solutions of the Animal Protection Act
- Popularizing and educating the professional and the social sector in the field of animal protection;
- Control and regulation of some activities connected to animals – exhibitions, competitions, circuses, pet shops etc.;
- Regulation and limitation of breeding wild animals by private individuals, in places of public resort or points of sale;
- Controlling mechanisms as regards the administration of law;
- Regulation of the population of stray animals;
- Of utmost importance – the regulation regarding breeding pets.
- The weak points are connected primarily with the enforcement of the Animal Protection Act (the typical difficulties for the enforcement of many Bulgarian laws);
- In spite of the weaknesses, the Bulgarian Animal Protection Act has been given a high appraisal as one of Europe’s bests legislations in its field.
2. Dr. Miroslav Naydenov
On that same conference Dr. Miroslav Naydenov, current Minister of Agriculture and Food and at that time director of Ecobalance, stated in his lecture:
“The joint efforts of NGO, governmental institutions and the municipality would result in permanent and human solution of the problem.”
Years ago Dr. Miroslav Naydenov referred in another presentation to the following paragraphs of the Guidelines for Dog Population Management by the W.H.O.:
- “Removal and killing of dogs should never be considered as the most effective way of dealing with a problem of surplus dogs in the community: it has no effect whatsoever on the root cause of the problem.”
Guidelines for Dog Population Management, W.H.O. Geneva 1990 (page 74).
- “Any reduction in population density through mortality is rapidly compensated by better reproduction and survival. In other words when dogs are removed, the survivors’ life expectancy increases because they have better access to the resources, and there is less competition for resources.”.
Guidelines for Dog Population Management, W.H.O. Geneva 1990 (page 9).
- “In the long term, control of reproduction is by far the most effective strategy of dog population management.”
Guidelines for Dog Population Management, W.H.O. Geneva 1990 (page 72).
3. Dr. Madlen Vasileva
On the 17th and 18th of October 2011 Dr. Madlen Vasileva, chief of department Animal Health, Animal Health and Food Safety Directorate of the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Food stated:
Stray dogs – Problem background:
- after the change of political system– years of ignoring the problem
- increase of the inhabitants in the towns
- bad waste management
- increasing inflation
3. MUNICIPAL POLICY 1998 2006
- policy to handle the problem with dogs – mass killing.
- Sofia – more than 70 000 dogs are killed. Funds over 2 500 000 Euro are spent. No results.
4. RESULTS OF THE MUNICIPAL POLICY IN 1998 2006
- poor reputation of the country in the EP and EC;
- impossibility to work with NGOs;
- commitment of the country to adopt Animal Protection Act.
- Public-private partnership is necessary
- The joint efforts of NGO, governmental institutions and the municipality would result in permanent and human solution of the problem.