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FOUR PAWS: Official opening of stray animal clinic in Sofia


FOUR PAWS and Sofia Municipality join forces to tackle the stray animal situation in the city and surroundings: The international animal welfare organization plans to neuter a minimum of 1.200 animals per year.

The new veterinary clinic for treatment and neutering of stray animals in Sofia is a best practice example of what can be achieved if acting jointly: Located in the residential district of Bankya, a suburb of Sofia it was successfully established by the combined efforts of Sofia Municipality and FOUR PAWS. The clinic was officially inaugurated last Friday, on the World Animal Day by the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, the Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev and founder and president of FOUR PAWS, Heli Dungler.

“This project is indeed unique, being not only the first stray animal clinic in Sofia, but also a successful model of cooperation between local authorities and the non-governmental sector. Past experience has shown that unless we combine our efforts, we will never find a sustainable and publicly acceptable solution to the stray animal issue”, Heli Dungler said in his opening speech.


The international animal welfare organization has been active in Bulgaria since 2008, aiming at the permanent and humane reduction of the number of stray dogs and cats. Since then, FOUR PAWS has neutered approx. 11.000 cats and dogs in Bulgaria. “Our work already shows results and we are confident that in a couple of years the stray animal issue will become history”.


“The stray dogs are considered as one of the hottest issues in our city. I am very grateful to team up with competent partners like FOUR PAWS”, stated Sofia’s Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. “A solution is impossible without joint efforts; we will definitely continue to rely on FOUR PAWS”

With a total size of over 200 sq.m and two floors, the well-equipped clinic in Bankya possesses a reception, a procedure room, an operating room as well accommodation premises for the animals. The main goal of the FOUR PAWS team on site will be the neutering of a minimum of 1.200 stray dogs and cats per year. Last year the clinic was given to FOUR PAWS for free use for a period of 10 years. Sofia Municipality renovated the building, and FOUR PAWS provided the medical equipment, personnel and work supplies. The clinic is also the only one in Sofia that has its own team for capturing and transportation of stray dogs and cats.


Since the unofficial opening this summer, the FOUR PAWS team (consisting of 5 vets, 2 clinic workers and 3 animal catchers) already treated more than 500 animals.  Mostly cats – their numbers have increased with the constant decline of the stray dogs.


The last stray dog census of 2011 registered 9.300 stray dogs in Sofia. Currently, FOUR PAWS and the Hall of Sofia are conducting a new census. The local experts count on a considerable reduction: between 1.000 and 2.000 dogs less than in 2011.