BBC Investigation: Bulgarian Runs a Network for Fighting and Trading Dogs

Crime | February 15, 2019, Friday // 13:02| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: BBC Investigation: Bulgarian Runs a Network for Fighting and Trading Dogs

Bulgarian runs a network for dog fighting and trade with dog-fighters, the British public television BBC reported in an investigation broadcast last night. The BBC has footage and the man's words, shown as the organizer of the network, show that other Bulgarians participate in it, reports Dnevnik. 

The material, carried out with the help of the NGO "League against Cruel Sports" and private detectives, focuses on a Bulgarian named Ivaylo Nikolov from Ruse, shown as the organizer of the network. Nikolov was described as the owner of a pitbull kennel and animal transport company. An undercover BBC team ordered from him a pitbull from Moldova for 3000 euros. It must be delivered to the country with a passport issued by a Bulgarian veterinarian.

In the report, which is shown on television (a fragment from it is also available on the site), there are also pictures of a battle between pit bulls, in which a Bulgarian speech is clearly heard. In another record, Nikolov himself says that "there is a network" in the business.

It does not specify whether he runs the entire European network, but is said to have "documented his work" on Facebook and has traveled to 29 countries, some outside the continent - the US, Vietnam, Nepal, Pakistan and others. The BBC says, "There is evidence that he has been delivering dogs to Kerry Evans in the UK." There are also plans to travel to the Caribbean to fight dogs.

The media also notes: "The Balkans are at the center of the dog fighting business in Europe."

Bulgarian documents, tests, certificates

"We travel to Eastern Europe for a meeting with Nikolov and he agreed to sell us a dog for a fight," the authors explain. Ivailo Nikolov ("Intelligent, Friendly, Speaking English Bulgarian") recorded with a hidden camera explains that there is a network of friends in the business that breeds them and uses them and offers them for fighting.

"I have done Bulgarian papers, also blood tests and export certificates," he explains to his interlocutor. He denies trading dogs, but his social networking accounts have disappeared.

After the conversation asked to the camera how much money he earns from the business, he answers "Nothing". But when the journalist replies and tells him that he knows what he's doing and has been watching for a while, Nikolov leaves. Along the way, asked if there were injured or killed dogs in the battles, he responds negatively. Asked why he does it, he tells the journalists: "I do not know you, I do not want to talk to you."

"Full investigation"

"After such scandalous discoveries, the intervention of the police and the prosecutor's office must be immediate," Yavor Gechev of the Bulgarian office of the four-paired international animal protection organization reacted to the material with a message to the media and a request for a full investigation. "The names of all participants in this death-trading scheme, including veterinary surgeons who have issued passports for the animals sold, must be clarified and they will suffer the worst punishments provided by the law," Gechev quoted in the statement.

Organizing and engaging in animal fights, as well as raising, training or providing animals for fighting is incriminated in Bulgaria since 2011 and is punished by imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of up to BGN 10,000, recalls "Four paws ". "The changes were adopted after an investigation by Nova TV and journalist Dilyana Gaytandjieva, which revealed a scheme for conducting dog fighting around Sofia with the participation of an official from the Ministry of Interior, and then the Interior Ministry punished the policeman only with reprimand.

The organization warns: "In the last few years there have been almost no such crimes discovered, the most pervasive case being in Plovdiv, where the prosecution and the police broke a group of training dogs for fighting dogs organized by a former policeman in 2016. More than 40 animals were confiscated , who are still in the municipal shelter in Plovdiv, as there is still no final conviction, the poor disclosure of animal battles in Bulgaria is due both to the lack of practice and to the closed circle of people, many of whom are financially large opportunities that deal with this criminal activity. "

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