Plovdiv municipality has begun a campaign to neuter stray cats and dogs after the latest estimates showed a huge rise in their numbers in recent months.
Estimates are that there are 14 000 stray cats and more than 2000 street dogs in Bulgaria’s second city, the municipality said on February 22.
In late January, Plovdiv city council approved a programme to control the number of stray animals in the city, setting a target of neutering 100 per cent of stray cats. Initially, the programme provided for neutering 80 per cent, but the target was increased following an amendment proposed by a councillor from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.
Plovdiv deputy mayor Rosalin Petkov said that the recent sharp increase in the number of stray dogs in the city was the result of other municipalities that captured them and released them outside their territories, with the dogs then making their way into Plovdiv in search of food.
“The municipality has existing regulations on castration of dogs and cats, we have an ordinance that prohibits feeding street cats. But both have increased in number over the past year,” Petkov said.
Plovdiv mayor Ivan Totev told the January city council meeting that cats are far from harmless, because of the spread of fleas and diseases, among which was cat tapeworm, more dangerous than the dog variety.
(Photo: Leah Sawyer)