This petition is a joint action of Occupy for Animals , Ärzte für Tiere, ETN Europäischer Tier- und Naturschutz, and Million Actions for Animal Rights. The petition has been started on September 11, 2012 and Occupy for Animals has submitted this petition to the European Parliament for official registration at the same date.
For further information on this petition, please visit: http://www.occupyforanimals.org/sofia--corruption-and-shady-practices-hinder-the-management-of-stray-animals-population.html
ABOUT THIS PETITION:
During her past partial term in office between 2007 and 2011, Sofia's Mayor, Jordanka Fandakova, just did little to nothing to curb the local stray dog population. In recent months, she reiterated repeatedly her intentions to "reduce the street dog population mainly through opening extra animal shelters, and registering owned dogs".
Following an incident in March, in which a man had been attacked by stray dogs in the Malinova Dolina District and later succumbed to his injuries, mayor Fandakova came under huge pressure and critics from the citizens of Sofia. In an attempt to correct what she had failed to do over the last years - to get the stray dog population under control in Sofia - mayor Fandakova had given order to hunt and kill all stray dogs who happen to inhabit the district in which the old professor had been mauled.
Fortunately, this crazy plan could be stopped with international pressure and the help from animal rights activists and animal lovers from all around the world who had signed petitions calling on Mayor Fandakova to solve the problem in a more human and reasonable way.
Sadly, a second, fatal attack happened, bringing it to two fatal attacks in a period of just eleven weeks. "The municipality will open new shelters for animals in three months, 4,000 stray dogs will be collected for one year. Parliament should approve the euthanasia of stray dogs," said Mayor Fandakova to the media immediately after the death of the second victim. Later she confirmed plans to increase the number of dog-catcher-teams to up "at least 10". To calm and ease off the citizens and satisfy the masses, the Minister of Agriculture and Foods, ex director of "Ecoravnovesie" (municipal society responsible of the control of stray dogs in Sofia), Miroslav Naidenov, affirmed the decision to take serious measures to solve the problem of strays, such increasing of the controls and creating a stray dog registry.
The Minister also announced modifications to the national law of animal protection, considering the law in force not helpful and resolving. However, local NGOs affirm that the problem isn’t the national law but rather the absence of controls and punishments of owners who abandon their un-neutered pets daily, letting them free to copulate and thus increasing the stray population.
The modifications to Regulation 41, proposed by the Minister of Agriculture, permit to keep up to 15 dogs in only 45 square meters (3 m2 per dog). This overcrowded condition will lead to constant fights and diffusion of illness that degenerate into death. On 17 April this Regulation has been officially adopted.
On 14th May, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Mr Boyko Metodiev Borisov, to express concerns about the planned amendments to the Bulgarian Animal Welfare Law, which could legitimize a massacre of strays.
At the present, there are four dog pounds working officially (gross capacity 1000 dogs), and six dog catcher teams in Sofia. A new dog pound that will house more than a thousand animals is currently under construction. It is planned, that starting from November 2012, dog catchers can begin to collect dogs to fill up this pound, and if mayor Fandakoya's recent plans and actions might dazzle many - namely the potential voters for the next mayoral elections - and when this might look like a serious and honest intention to solve the stray dogs issue in Sofia to some, local and international NGOs can not be fooled so easily.
As a matter of fact, Bulgaria is the most corrupt country in the European Union and it should be no surprise that a document entitled "A Strategic Report on Animal Shelter Operations in Bulgaria" issued by the Bulgarian Animal Programs Foundation (BAPF) and sent to Prime Minister Bojko Borisov, revealed a bleak business with stray dogs in Sofia.
If there ever was a real and honest intention to curb the stray animals population in Sofia (or anywhere else in Bulgaria for that matter), how comes that the Sofia municipality has never even done one step towards imposing measures to prevent the further growth of the pet population? Why does the Sofia municipality solely focus on treating the effect - by supposedly neutering and releasing the unwanted animals - instead of treating the cause of the problem by introducing compulsory sterilization of pet animals and by outlawing breeding and puppy mills?
The answer is simple: no more dogs, no more related business!
By intentionally not taking the necessary measures to reduce the stray animals population, the Bulgarian government supports the prosperity of a dirty industry in which many people profit from :
- the collecting of dogs
- the construction of unnecessary shelters (including research and design)
- the housing of animals, including supposedly feeding and caring of the animals
- the incineration of the deceased animals
When Bulgaria ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals on July 20, 2004, it seemed as if Bulgaria had serious intentions to take the necessary measures to ensure that pet animals - with and without owner - would be given some kind of protection, and that the stray animals issue would be tackled seriously.
The next eight years, however, have been wasted from the point of view of animal welfarists, given that the stray animals population has not declined and that animal abuse in Bulgaria is still more than a phenomenon - it is a daily fact of life.
The construction of the new so called 'shelter' also gives reason to serious concerns. It is expected that the new shelter will just be another Seslavtci-shelter, a horrible place with no light, no food, no care, no love. A place where the animals will be left to starve to death, or left to die as a result of diseases and injuries that are not being treated.
Bulgaria's shelters are nothing less than dog-concentration-camps where the animals rarely walk out again, once they have entered one of these hell holes. Especially the puppies stand no chance at all to survive.
By signing this petition, the message that you can read under the tab 'Petition Letter' will be sent instantly to the following addressees:
The President of the European Council
EU-Commissioner, John Dalli
Chair of the Committee of Petitions at the European Parliament, Mrs Erminia Mazzoni
Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Metodiev Borisov
Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water, Nona Ivanova Karadjova
General Director of the Bulgarian National Veterinary Service, Yordan Voynov
Director of the Bulgarian Veterinary Inspection, Damyan Iliev
Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Miroslav Naydenov
Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova,