Dog spinning or “trichane na kuche” is a ritual celebrated in Brodilovo, a rural Bulgarian village, and is supposed to prevent rabies and keep away the bad spirits of springtime.
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During this ritual, a rope is wrapped around a dog and the animal is suspended above a body of water, such as a river. The dog is turned repeatedly until the rope is twisted as far as it will coil. Then the coil is released so the dog spins wildly as the rope unwinds and the animal falls into the water.
Nothing is supposed to happen to the dogs used in the ritual, but photos from previous dog spinning days show the faces of terrified animals as they hang helplessly above a river or stream with a crowd of people cheering from the shore. In the past dogs have drowned because they are so disoriented when they drop into the water.
The practice was stopped in 2005 when the media outside of Bulgaria found out about the ritual and reported it to the world. Animal welfare organizations were outraged by its cruelty and the pressure they put on Bulgaria put an end to the practice.
But the mayor of Brodilovo, a rural Bulgarian village, had renewed the ancient ritual in 2011. He said, “Nobody is killing or hurting the dogs. They are brought by their owners who love them in order to take part in this folklore ritual, which is meant to cleanse the local community of evil and to generate fertility. The dogs are spun for about 15-20 seconds, and then they fall in the water, which amounts to bathing them.”
Mayor Petko Arnaudov told the Sofia News Agency that “society and the international community has misinterpreted the ritual.”
The mayor said his village restored the tradition because they were looking for hope in the “extreme” bad economy. A recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease has brought the farming town to the brink of despair.
In 2012, due to MASSIVE protests and besieged by animal rights activists, the villagers of Brodilovo had agreed to water down their controversial dog spinning. Days before the special date, the Bulgarian "Animal Rescue Sofia" NGO announced it would organize a visit to Brodilovo, to make sure the "dog spinning" does not take place on 6th of March.
But, to the surprise of everybody, the villagers could not wait until 6th of March, and on 25th of February - under the critical eyes of animal rights activists from Sofia and Burgas - the people of Brodilovo opted for a softer version of the ritual and just threw the dog into the icy water without spinning him/her on a rope. Unfortunately, the video showing the "softened version" is no longer available on youtube.
March 2, 2013 - we have now re-opened this petition that sends instand emails to the Mayor just for the event that the villagers of Brodilovo come to the idea to revive the old version again.