From Sofia News Agency
Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, promises that perpetrators of animal cruelty will soon face up to 5 years behind bars.
Several cities all across Bulgaria are organizing Saturday protest rallies against the frequent cases of animal cruelty in the country.
At the same time, a petition is continuing to collect thousands of signatures. About 230 000 people united for the cause in Facebook.
In Sofia, the rally is held in front of the building of the Parliament in the presence of citizens, NGO representatives, musical performers, actors and journalists.
In the Black Sea capital Varna, there is a march across the central park known as the Maritime Garden.
Beginning at 10 am meetings are also held in Plovdiv, Pleven, Blagoevgraqd, Haskovo, Burgas and Ruse.
The strong public outcry was triggered by Bulgaria's latest animal cruelty case where an unknown perpetrator cut off all four paws of a dog in the town of Dryanovo.
The animal rights activists believe their protests will accelerate changes in the Penal Code and harsher penalties for perpetrators of animal cruelty. They hope the civil discontent is finally a chance for Bulgarians to state their position and stop being indifferent when animals are hurt. Global statistics show that 90% of all serial killers have tortured animals as children.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, announced last week that the amendments in the Bulgarian Penal Code making cruelty against animals a criminal act are ready.
In cases of cruelty, leading to the death or permanent injuries for the animal, the punishment will now be jail time between 1 and 3 years and a fine between BGN 5 000 and BGN 15 000.
If the cruelty is a repeated act or is perpetrated before children, the penalty is up to 5 yeas behind bars and the fine increases – from BGN 10 000 to BGN 30 000.
Naydenov is convinced the majority in the Parliament will pas the new amendments.