Animal protection organisation Four Paws has opened an exhibition of photos of Sofia’s stray dogs and cats by Dutch photographer Marcel Fens.
Thirty-two photographs are on display in the exhibition in Sofia’s City Garden, which continues until November 30.
In the chosen photos, the organisers hope to present an alternative view and positive aspects of the animals living on the streets and to persuade as many people as possible to adopt stray animals.
Fens said that his purpose was to show the beauty of the homeless dogs and cats of Sofia.
“Whenever I see a stray animal, I see it not as a problem, but as a beautiful living being.
“Although they appear in the news only when an accident has happened and then society turns against them. This is absolutely unfair, because in reality they are not scary, on the contrary – quite often they are extremely funny,” Fens was quoted as saying in a Four Paws media statement.
Fens has been living in Bulgaria since 2008 and started to photograph dogs and cats on the streets of Sofia at the beginning of 2013.
So far he has photographed more than 1300 different animals throughout the city.
“As a proof of their character, he explained that he has never been bitten or attacked,” the media statement said.
Yavor Gechev of Four Paws said that the way that stray animals were portayed with a “satanic image” discouraged people from adopting them and keeping them in their homes.
“Most of the stray dogs and cats could be social, friendly and loving pets, like every other animal bought from a store or ordered online. With our exhibition we hope to convince more people to accept in their homes a four-legged friend from the street or from a shelter – leading not only to its rescue but to reducing the number of stray animals in the best possible way.”
Four Paws said that according to recent research, every second animal in Sofia was born not on the street, but in somebody’s house, and then thrown out as unwanted.
The organisation said that the only way to reduce permanently the number of stray dogs and cats is by neutering the animals living on the streets, stimulating the responsible keeping of pets with strict control on their owners and limiting breeding in home conditions.
(Photo: Marcel Fens)