Europe's biggest-ever animal control scam deserves international reproach
Sofia City Council recently approved 2.6 million annual funding for Ecoravnovesie, the infamous Municipal animal control unit. In the past couple of decades, Bulgarian authorities are maintaining illegal schemes based on the pet population dynamics.
Well known street dog population in the capital city of Sofia likely hides the general crisis. Thousands of grown up dogs of unknown origin are repopulating Bulgarian cities every year. These are tame, cross-breed animals, obviously born at family and business property. A noisy campaigns for their sterilization and protection have been conducted by years, but practically all of them remain unmanaged until become missing or just taken by local animal control services.
Sofia municipal officials claim they are running a "catch-neuter-release program" that reportedly involved a total of 31,370 dogs caught during the period 1 September 2006 to 31 December 2012. Roughly 80 per cent of them were simultaneously reported as neutered and released. However, the last strays wearing collars with ID tags were seen in 2008. Some dogs tailored with earmarks have appeared late 2012.
In 2007-2012, Municipal animal control services reportedly raised 7.6 million leva. Since June 2009, Sofia spent about 660,000 leva on renting private animal shelter that was subsequently ceded to a quasi non governmental organization plus unknown amount of money spent on running costs. And 1.3 million leva was spent in 2012 on building the fifth municipal shelter.
In 2011, Bulgarian Animal Programs Foundation has tried to contact Sofia Mayor Jordanka Fandykova. Several steps were proposed, including firing Deputy-Mayor Maria Bojadzhijska due to incompetence; and relocating money for widely accessible neutering schemes that involve local veterinary practitioners. Mayor Fandykova did not respond.