Following an incident in which a man had been attacked by stray dogs, the capital-city of Sofia will take new measures to deal with the strays of the city.
During the press conference held April 5, 2012, the Minister of Agriculture, Miroslav Naydenov, together with the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, have announced their future anti-stray-policy.
While this new legislation will be the subject of further debates during their National Assembly to be held April 8, 2012, their decision to let a veterinarian judge and decide if the captured animal should be deemed aggressive or not - and consequently also be euthanized or not - without the presence of a local NGO, must be protested immediately at the strongest.
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the President of Bulgaria
the Prime Minister of Bulgaria
the Minister of Agriculture and Food
the Mayor of Sofia, Ms J Fandakova
EU-Commissioner John Dalli
the Bulgarian Members of the European Parliament
Dear Government Officials of Bulgaria,
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
we are writing to you concerning your press conference from April 5, 2012 regarding your new anti-stray-strategy to adopt for the capital-city, Sofia.
In fact, your action is due since too long. You are the ones to blame in case of incidents with strays in which citizens come to damage, and not the abandoned/homeless dogs who find themselves on your streets with no fault of their own.
Before we go any further, we would like to inform you already now, that your plan to let a veterinarian judge and decide if the captured animal should be deemed aggressive or not - and consequently also be euthanized or not - without the presence of a local NGO, is not acceptable and cannot stay like that!
Concerning your National Assembly scheduled for Sunday, April 8, 2012 during which further details of your new anti-stray-legislation shall be decided, we would like to remind you the following letter, addressed to you on January 10, 2007 by the ' European Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals', that reads:
Brussels 10 January 2007
I am writting to you on behalf of the European Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals to forward you our warmest congratulations for Bulgaria's entry into the European Union.
During the last ten years we regularly received messages of Bulgarian citizens and NGOs, who informed us about the serious welfare problems of stray animals in your country and particularly in Sofia. The Intergroup wrote to the Bulgarian authorities urging them to take action. At the time they replied that there was a thorough willingness to solve this problem. Reality has shown however, that the problems still persist and even have worsened in some cases.
Your country has ratified the European Council's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals wich makes it a binding obligation to take measures in this field. The Bulgarian Parliament has therefore initiated a procedure to introduce specific legislation that guarantees the protection and welfare of pet animals. Mrs Vania Tsvetkova MP and a group of other Parliament representatives have presented a draft proposal and we have been informed that also the Minister of Agriculture is making efforts in this direction.
Apparently, the current draft proposals for legislation present striking shortcomings. "No-Kill Solutions", i. e. preventive measures for curbing and stabilize the stray pet populations without recurring to culling are not sufficiently taken into account. These would include:
- Education programmes for pet owners to discourage amateur breeding and trade
- Low-cost sterilization campaigns of pet animals
- Ownership registration of pets with microchips
- Registration documents that are publicly available
- Licensing to control over-breeding and trade
- Control of activities related to the collection and traffic with stray animals.
We sincerely hope that the Bulgarian institutions engaged in the legislative process will vote and enact effective measures to solve the problem of stray animals without recurring to a simple "catch and kill policy", which has proven to be completely ineffective and which is moreover unacceptable on ethical grounds.
The Members of the Intergroup hope that you can influence the legislative proces by proposing the above mentioned points to be included in the new legislation.
We are looking forward to your answer.
Since then, and in addition to what is stated in the above mentioned letter, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed on date of December 13, 2007 and the European Parliament Written Declaration 0026/2011 was adopted October 13, 2011. These important documents were initiated to further consolidate a concrete and lasting protocol for the humane treatment of animals including their population control by Union Member States. Bulgaria, being a member of the European Union is legally bound by their statutes.
That said, we call on you to abide by the above mentioned EU statutes calling for spay and neuter as a humane means of controlling over-population, to pay full regard to Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty in your future actions, and we urge you to immediately review your decision concerning the determination if a dog is aggressive or not and to include your local NGOs in the decision making process.