Dog shelter, Dolni Bogrov
New measures against the stray dogs problem in Bulgaria’s cities, towns and villages are to be announced following the intervention of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naidenov said on April 6 2012.
According to television station bTV, the law would be changed to allow municipalities to build temporary accommodation for dogs, a step that would be 10 times cheaper than building permanent shelters, Naidenov said. Specifications for shelters would be cut back to make constructing them cheaper.
Naidenov said that he was already preparing for protests from animal advocates who would not agree with the new measures.
The stray dogs issue returned to the fore after a recent attack in which a man in his 80s, Botyo Tachkov, was savaged by a large pack of street dogs in a Sofia residential district.
In a separate report, bTV said that 100 per cent of the dogs that had bitten people in 2011 had been returned to the streets.
Dr Emil Petkov of the Seslavtsi dog shelter said that a decision was to be taken next week whether to put down the dogs that attacked the elderly man in Sofia. Earlier reports quoted authorities as saying that such a decision already had been taken.
Referring to previous incidents, Petkov said that many of the dogs that had been proven to be aggressive had been adopted by NGOs.
The current version of the law allows the return of aggressive dogs to the streets through adoption by so-called supervisors.
Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova said on April 5 that the municipality would immediately begin work on temporary facilities. She said that the temporary facilities would be similar to the current accommodation for animals under quarantine.
She said that there should be clearer criteria for declaring a dog to be aggressive.
"We cannot wait for the dog to bite someone to have proof that it is aggressive," Fandukova said.
She said that an example was the case of the attack on Tachkov, with some now questioning whether the dogs involved were aggressive.
Aggressive dogs had no place on the street, "and our obligation is to accelerate the construction of shelters and rounding up of these dogs and having the aggressive ones euthanised," Fandukova said.
Naidenov said that on April 8, veterinary services will begin checking whether municipalities have come up with programmes to address the population of stray animals. Those who had not done so would be penalised, he said.
On April 5, Fandukova said that she had ordered a large-scale check-up of the registration of domestic animals.
She said that the goal of halving the number of Sofia’s street dogs by 2014 and reducing it by 95 per cent by 2016 was realistic.
Based on the most recent count, it is estimated that there are about 10 000 stray dogs in Sofia.