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FOUR PAWS: Official opening of stray animal clinic in Sofia


Sofia Municipality relies on FOUR PAWS to tackle the stray animal issue in the city


The first veterinary clinic for treatment and neutering of stray animals in Sofia is a best practice example of what can be achieved when working together. Located in the residential district of Bankya, a suburb of Sofia, it was successfully established by the joint efforts of Sofia Municipality and FOUR PAWS. The clinic of Sofia was officially inaugurated on the 4th October (World Animal Day) by the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, the Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev and founder and president of FOUR PAWS, Heli Dungler.

In his opening speech, Heli Dungler stressed the importance of a sustainable and publicly acceptable solution to the issue of stray animals; “This project is a successful model of co-operation between local authorities and the non-governmental sector. We are very happy that there are authorities that have a progressive, modern approach towards stray animals, supporting castration programs and public awareness campaigns instead of killing.”


Sofia’s Mayor Yordanko Fandakova also stated, “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.” Yordanko continued, “A solution is impossible without joint efforts, we will definitely continue to rely on FOUR PAWS.”


With a total size of over 200 sqaremeters and two floors, the well-equipped clinic in Bankya possesses a reception, a procedure room, an operating room as well as accommodation premises for the animals. Last year the clinic was given to FOUR PAWS for free use for a period of ten years. Sofia Municipality renovated the building, and FOUR PAWS provided the medical equipment, work supplies and the personnel - five vets, two clinic workers and three animal catchers.


Since the unofficial opening this summer, the team already treated more than 500 animals. The main goal on site will be the neutering of a minimum of 1200 stray dogs and cats per year.


FOUR PAWS has been aiming for the humane reduction of the number of stray dogs and cats in Bulgaria since 2008. Since then, the organisation has neutered over 10,000 stray animals in the whole country. FOUR PAWS explained, “Our work already shows results and we are confident that in a couple of years the stray animal issue will become history”.


The last stray dog census of 2011 registered 9,300 stray dogs in Sofia, most of them are already neutered. Currently, FOUR PAWS and the Hall of Sofia are conducting a new census. The local experts count on a considerable reduction: between 1000 and 2000 dogs less than in 2011.