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Animal cruelty in Bulgaria remains unsanctioned

Bulgaria urgently needs political measures to stop violence against animals

At Eastertime, a sadist aimed his rifle at a pregnant cat named Mila and fired a bullet at the animal. It’s a miracle the cat survived. People walked past the wounded animal for one whole week and no one even brought food or water to the poor cat.

Unfortunately, Mila is not the only animal, which has been subject to cruelty. Several days earlier, a kitten named Sleepy, which lived in agony on the street for at least ten days after it was shot, was rescued. Just like Mila, Sleepy was looking for its rescuer for days.

We are witnessing little or no animal welfare in this country – noted lawyer Valentina Kamenarska. – It is high time for the state authorities to intervene and adopt a comprehensive package of political measures aimed to stop cruelty to animals. If such an incident typical of third-world countries happens in another European country, it would trigger a huge scandal and lead to a serious investigation, media publications and will be condemned by the public, while in our country people continue to have fun shooting at animals.”

In Valentina Kamenarska’s view, the only thing that could make the state address the problem is a wave of public discontent.

“There is not a single control authority that adheres to the established policy. Although there is an article in Bulgaria’s Criminal Code, which reads that all acts of animal cruelty are considered a crime, these acts of atrocity were removed from the classifier of the emergency number 112, contrary to all laws. If something is considered a crime, the police authorities must come to the crime scene, collect evidence and investigate the case.”

So far, the battle to stop abuse against animals is fought mainly by citizens and representatives of non-governmental organizations. According to them, if people come across an abused animal, they should take it to a vet clinic and report the accident to the Prosecutor’s Office.

This is not likely to lead to any positive outcome, because the weapons used to shoot at animals are not subject to forensic firearm examination – said lawyer Kamenarova – Moreover, the Prosecutor’s Office is usually located far from the crime scene, because the acts of animal cruelty often happen in smaller towns and villages. However, the police can find the perpetrators quickly if they want. No matter what people do, their efforts will go in vain, if the institutions are not functioning.”

The state authorities can make people think differently in one day, if they wish, contends Valentina Kamenarska, referring to the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when people were made to wear face masks, regardless of whether they liked it or not.

Compiled by: Diana Tsankova (based on interview by Luybomira Konstantinova from Hristo Botev channel of the BNR)

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: private library

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