An interview for Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) with Stella Raycheva, public relations coordinator of Animal Rescue Sofia.
- Tell us more about Animal Rescue Sofia as an organization and about your team.
We met on an online dog forum five years ago. Back then we were different people, each with their own life, we were volunteers, who gave what they could for the stray dogs and the ones at the municipal shelter. As time went by, we accumulated a lot of experience and when the Sofia Municipality invited us to take care of the animal shelter in Gorni Bogrov, the biggest one in Bulgaria at that time, we agreed. It was a brave step taken without much planning, we simply thought: wherever the dogs go, we are going with them. Today we are a team of 15 people, around 15 senior volunteers and hundreds of helpers, donors, adopters and friends of the organization....
"Q: Do you approve of the policy of the Sofia Municipality on reducing the number of stray dogs? What can change for the better? Are institutions willing to cooperate with NGOs in the sphere?>>
A: The Sofia Municipality really changed over the past year and it changed for the better. We are definitely making progress.">>
-- Yep, we witnessed a drastic reduction of Sofia street dogs numbers. However, this does not mean a sustainable progress in local dog population management and all nice conclusions proclaimed by the NGOs closed to Sofia bureaucracy just are not based on a realistic assessment of the whole process. Indeed, any USA city has not a street dog population, while its animal shelters remain overcrowded for decades. For example, the City of Albuquerque along with Bernalillo County (New Mexico) euthanized about 3700 unwanted dogs per year consequently in 2009, 2010, and 2011. And we are also able to hear about annual intake numbers (16,000 on average), adoptions (9000 on average), returns to owners (3500 on average), etc. So, how does mayor Fandykova changed the situation? We heard he increased the numbers of dog catchers teams to at least eight. But we are not sure how many dogs were removed since 2009 under Fandykova's rule. True animal advocates should be also worried on what happen to most of shelter animals. And whether Sofia animal control services aka Ecoravnovesie are involved in illegal transfer of animals to research facilities, e.g. to be subjected to military chemical-weapons tests as mentioned by former Sofia Military Medical Academy chief (http://en.animalprograms.org/unknown-number-of-dogs-fall-victim-in-militarys-chemical-weapons-test.html).
Oops! The link above was not correctly provided. Please visit http://en.animalprograms.org/unknown-number-of-dogs-fall-victim-in-militarys-chemical-weapons-test.html .
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