Petitioning European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John DALLI and 8 others

Bulgaria: Start sterilization campaigns in Sofia and all Bulgarian municipalities immediately !

10,360
Supporters

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,    

Letter to
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John DALLI
Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova
Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Metodiev Borisov
and 6 others
Yordan Voynov, General Director of the Bulgarian National Veterinary Service
Damyan Iliev Director of the veterinary inspection
Minister of Environment and Water Nona Ivanova Karadjova
President Council of Europe
Minister of Agriculture and Food Miroslav Naydenov
Chair of the Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament European Parliament (Chair of the Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament)
I have just signed the petition started by Occupy for Animals, Ärzte für Tiere, ETN Europäischer Tier- und Naturschutz, and Million Actions for Animal Rights, addressed to the EU, the Council of Europe, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, the Bulgarian Government and the Mayor of Sofia.

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

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Start sterilization campaigns in Sofia and all Bulgarian municipalities immediately!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bulgarian citizens and local NGOs inform us again and again about serious welfare problems of stray animals in Bulgaria, in particular in the city Sofia, and in the so called 'shelters' run by the Sofia municipality.

Among the reported abuses in the city of Sofia are poisoning of stray animals and deliberate killings of animals, left without prosecution by the authorities. We also receive reports, backed by picture evidence, of animals left to starve or to die as a result of inflicted injuries during catching, or as a result of diseases left without treatment in the so called shelters, especially in the Seslavtci dog pound. All of these being clear violations of Article 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals as well as of WD 0026/2011.

In addition to the abundant animal cruelty in Bulgaria, and in particular in the city of Sofia and their so called shelters, it should also be noted that the Sofia municipality seems not interested in solving the stray animals issue once and for all. Although pointed out and suggested again and again by local NGOs and even by the European Parliament's Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, the Sofia municipality has not even taken one step towards imposing measures to prevent the further growth of the pet population by educating their citizens about the importance of spay and neuter, by providing low-cost or free sterilization of pet animals and by outlawing breeding and puppy mills. Instead, taxpayer's money is being wasted for the construction of unnecessary shelters where the animals are left to vegetate.

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, and reminded Bulgaria about the importance of, and the excellent results that can be achieve with "Catch, Neuter & Return' programs. "Building temporary shelters will not solve the problem without a primary reduction of the number of stray dogs through mass neutering. The overall strategy on the management of stray dog over-populations is highlighted in Chapter VII of the Bulgarian Animal Protection Law. It is proven to be effective and we would strongly recommend its enforcement", stated the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals

Since Bulgaria has ratified the European Council's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, the Sofia municipality (like all other municipalities in Bulgaria) has a binding obligation to take measures in this field, and Bulgaria being a member state whose MEPs have signed Declaration 0026/2011 in promoting humane treatment of animals including their population control, is therefore legally bound also by these statutes.

But - 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, which might explain their unwillingness to take appropriate, effective measures.

By intentionally not taking the necessary measures to reduce the stray animals population, the Sofia municipality (and 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

That said, we would like to know if the European Union gives money for the purpose animal welfare to Bulgaria and the exact amount; if that proves to be the case then an independent commission should be assigned to do a complete investigation as to the appropriation of these monies.

What could perhaps be happening is that money slated for animal welfare could very well be used for purposes other than it was intended, maybe even for the personal gains of those people who fail to take the right decisions regarding stray animal population control. Misappropriation of money and falsification of documents to cover up such misappropriation is nothing new and has been uncovered already in countries of the Eastern Block.

However, Bulgaria being a member state of the European Union since 2007, and a signatory of the European Council's Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals since 2004, Bulgaria MUST respect the signed treaties and conventions, and we are calling on the EU and the Council of Europe to send a strong and clear message to Bulgaria reminding them about their obligations in terms of animal welfare and stray animal population control, and to start a Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return program immediately in Sofia and all other Bulgarian municipalities.