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Stray Animal Care (SAC) has been operational in Bulgaria for four years now and teams have been working all over the country. A Bulgarian SAC unit has been built up and works in rural areas as well as big cities like Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city. Talks with the capital, Sofia's officials were continuously being delayed. As of March 22, 2011, Stray Animal Care has been working in Sofia. Unfortunately, some areas of Bulgaria still face localised culls of the stray dogs, even though it is now illegal. We believe that our method of neutering and treating the stray dogs is humane and effective.

© FOUR PAWS | Yavor Gechev

SAC teams start their work in neighborhoods mainly inhabited by Roma communities. These tend to feature particularly high stray populations and require a sensitive approach. Previous experiences have shown, though, that once mutual trust is established, the process of catching and treating the animals may actually turn out to be less difficult than in other urban areas. Each captured dog is being neutered, vaccinated against rabies, treated against parasites and marked with blue plastic ear tag. In addition, some animals may bear microchips provided by the local Municipality.

The surgeries will be performed in the FOUR PAWS owned mobile vet clinic. The treated animals spend 24 hours after the surgery at a nearby shelter and are then to be released in their original territory. Their condition will be monitored throughout and a final medical check will be made before their release. The benefit for the dogs goes beyond living without the constant threat of being killed. Many stray animals suffer from poor health and long-term injuries, many of which can be alleviated by the SAC veterinarians. While thanking the city officials for their cooperation, Bulgarian SAC project manager Marina Ivanova also pointed out that only a national strategy will make it possible to get the stray dog population under control.