It's a Dog's Life in Bulgaria
Botio Tachkov, 88, died Sunday, after being brutally attacked by a large pack of stray dogs in Sofia.
Before the tragedy made headlines, very few of his neighbors were aware that the quiet and pleasant elderly man had been one of the most prominent Bulgarians in the US, with a brilliant Columbia University, Wall Street and State Department career.
There couldn't be a more sad, bitter and true symbolic than the heartbreaking end of this outstanding individual, the Professor and the animal lover, who returned to the cherished homeland to quietly spent his retirement years. It brought to light once again the endless issue of a city struggling to cope with its increasing stray dog population and triggered public outrage.
The usual culprits to blame beyond the dogs became animal lovers who feed them, animal rights NGOs, which try to protect them, and, of course, first and foremost, the same old lack of funding.
For anyone with basic common sense, this is a human problem. The solution is to educate people, provide adoption shelters, neuter the homeless animals and euthanize the aggressive and the very sick.
Speaking of funding, stray dogs have an annual budget equal to the one of researchers from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Tax payers' money, however, is seemingly being wasted by corruption, inefficiency, passiveness and useless purchases for the Sofia's municipal company "Ekoravnovesie" (Eco-balance) in charge of controlling stray dogs' population in the capital.
The so-much purported vows to have a pet registry and fine pet owners never materialized. Everyone who has a dog in Sofia knows that the said registration will never be checked and no one will ever be fined for not having it, for not walking their dog on a leash and not cleaning after it.
The incompetence and laziness of the State, the City Hall and of a large number of pet owners caused the sad demise of Professor Tachkov. Because as much as we, Bulgarians, like to blame the authorities, and often rightfully so, no neutering and no euthanasia will ever solve the issue when anyone can and does dump their unwanted dog, cat and their babies on the street.
The truth of the matter is that the roaming packs of dogs are just on trait of life in Sofia. Instead of being a modern European capital, except for some of its beautiful downtown, it is a sprawling ghetto where strewn thrash, crumbling, ugly buildings, rusty tin shacks, puddles , mud, and animals, homeless and Roma rummaging the dumpsters are simply a common site.
Bulgarians were recently ranked among the most miserable ten nations in the world. Commenting on it, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, said happiness is a matter of personal choice.
Not always so, Mr. Prime Minister... Just take a look beyond your entourage, your big suburban house, the highways and the sports facilities you vow to give us. It's a dog's life out there.
"The solution is to educate people, provide adoption shelters, neuter the homeless animals and euthanize the aggressive and the very sick." Relying upon adoption and Catch-Neuter-Release approach is a nonsense Bulgarian-style proposed by so-called "50" quasi-NGOs acting on the animal protection field. >>
WSPA, RSPCA, "Stray Animal Control Practices in Europe" (2007): "Through the Environmental Protection Act (1990), the Government required that all local authorities appointed an officer dedicated to the collection of stray dogs. Furthermore this piece of legislation gave local authorities the power to enforce existing legislation (The Control of Dogs Order, 1930) that all dogs should wear a collar with a tag clearly displaying their owner’s name and address... Owners re-claiming their dogs are charged a fee... The overwhelming factors contributing to the problem at that time were the
uncontrolled reproduction and roaming of pets (Carding, 1969)... Furthermore, it was common for dogs to be unrestrained for periods of time being permitted to roam by their owners."