A pack of stray dogs got into the grounds of the Sofia Zoo and killed a total of 15 animals, including deer and fawn, Bulgaria's bTV reported on January 31 2010.
The incident occurred a week ago. Apparently, the pack of strays got into the the deer enclosure via a car park near the fence. Having climbed a structure in the parking lot, the pack then jumped into the zoo grounds.
BTV said that the animals were "ruthlessly dismembered" and only the large male deer survived as they fended off the strays with their antlers.
"The dogs came in through that parking area. No one bothered to ask me if they could built this here or not. I received no warning. Unfortunately, this is how the incident must have happened," Ivan Ivanov, Sofia Zoo director told bTV.
Zoo staff who failed to prevent the attack have been punished. Reportedly, they were unarmed at the time, but in the aftermath of the attack, staff have been issued with gas pistols.
"This incident could have been easily prevented," Ivanov was quoted as saying. "Now every shift is issued three gas pistols," he said.
New animals have been ordered to replace the ones killed in the attack. They will be supplied to Sofia Zoo from various nature parks and other zoos in the country.
Vicious attacks by stray dogs in Bulgaria are not uncommon. Many Sofians, as well as Bulgarians across the country, are frequent subjects of harassment, and sometimes violent attacks.
On October 19 2009, a pack of stray dogs dismembered a six-year-old girl, Kristiana Marinova, from the Razgrad village of Topchii.
The girl was spending the weekend with her grandmother in the village of Sushevo when a pack of dogs attacked her while she was on her way to the grocery shop. The dogs attacked her savagely and repeatedly, with one canine tearing into her throat. The pack was eventually dispersed by shopkeeper Kassim Zuhtyo.
The dogs reportedly belonged to 49-year-old teacher Elena Bankova who has about a dozen dogs in her garden, which reportedly have free access to and from the yard and are often seen in the village, chasing cars and terrorising locals.
The Sofia Echo witnessed a case when a pack of stray dogs attacked an elderly woman in the park at Ritualna Zala in the Sofia borough of Hipodrouma in the beginning of January 2010; only the swift reaction of several young men who were at a nearby bench prevented the situation from escalating further.
In 2007, British woman Ann Gordon died after being attacked in the Bulgarian village of Nedyalsko.
According to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS), as of September 2009, there were more than 8500 stray dogs in Sofia alone.