The story so far …
Neil’s first introduction to the Bulgarian culture, attitude and disregard for street and owned dogs was in 2017. He spent 2 weeks as a volunteer at a shelter called ‘Helen’s House of Hope’ in Borovan and it is here he met Rob.
Neil helped to support the rescued dogs with socialisation, feeding, walking and general maintenance of the shelter. What surprised him was to see so many abandoned, chained and sick dogs roaming the streets. Neil had never seen this in the UK. Even with his experience campaigning against puppy farming and supporting various animal welfare organisations and charities over the years, he did not expect the treatment of dogs to be so poor.
In 2018 Neil and Rob began to work together to create and develop the Everydaystray NGO. The main focus of the NGO was to offer a free neutering programme, both to the public and street dogs, rehabilitate sick and injured dogs and to re-home where possible.
During the early stages Neil and Rob worked together rescuing dogs and spaying/neutering dogs.
To give you an idea of an average day for them, whilst travelling to Sevlievo Neil spotted a dog at the side of the road. After stopping the van Neil took some dog food out to feed him, as he would usually do. The dog sat upon a well-trodden path which led to a derelict building which straight away rang alarm bells. As he approached the building more dogs began to appear out of the undergrowth. Once inside, Neil was met with the sight of three separately chained dogs and six very young puppies. The conditions they were living in were horrendous – dog faeces, rubbish all over the floor and evidence of anti-social behaviour in the form of dirty syringe and empty alcohol containers. After speaking with Rob they returned together to the building.
The first dog Neil and Rob approached who we now know as ‘Lucy’ was living on a chain in a confined space. The main thing they noticed was her stench which indicated that she may have the mange along with the sadness in her eyes. Next, they found ‘Debbie’, she was living in slightly better conditions although chained but again confined to a small area. The last was ‘Dolce’, the mother of the six puppies who appeared very frightened and nervous living in the corner of the building. She was chained whilst her puppies were roaming freely in filth.
The impulse was to remove the dogs immediately but there appeared to be evidence that someone had been feeding the dogs, so they decided to pursue a legal route and speak with the local authorities. The local police officer, Luke, was extremely helpful and enabled them to find the person who was responsible for placing the dogs and feeding them in these conditions. The person in question was a local lady who thought she was helping the dogs in her own way. In their opinion this was not an acceptable lifestyle for the dogs. In the coming days, they worked with the police and the lady and eventually all dogs were removed into our care.
Again, on another average day, Neil and Rob went on a visit to a local resident now nick named ‘The Hunter’ (due to his previous occupation) to assist with neutering. ‘The Hunter’ knew that when we arrived, we would be taking and returning neutered dogs as the agreed procedure. Upon arrival to his property, set on a hill in a remote village, they was met by an old man waving his stick with about fifty dogs, all ages, sizes and breeds, at his tail. The dogs mostly interbred as ‘The Hunter’ could not afford to neuter his original 2 dogs. They learnt that he fed his dogs on bread and boiled bones. Upon being invited into his home, he revealed the contents of his freezer where they were greeted by the remains of a frozen cow’s head!
All female dogs on his property have now in 2020 have been spayed.
In 2020 Everydaystray NGO identified a site in Dragonovsti which would best site a shelter/clinic.
Later in 2020 Rob chose to leave the NGO and Neil decided to continue with the work.
Neil set up a new Everydaystray NGO team consisting of Clair, Emil, Ilyana, Leonie, Oscar and Vics, and together with support they continue to develop the shelter with a clinic and rescue dogs.
Everydaystray NGO Team believes they can do so much more in Bulgaria.
Although they still have many hurdles ahead, they have built up a good relationship with key people within the community.
But until then, their work still continues