Rudozem Street Dog Rescue (RSDR) is a non-profit foundation that rescues Street Dogs in Bulgaria and finds loving homes for them.
In August 2007, the Rowles family - Diane and Tony Rowles and their 4 children, 4 dogs and 2 cats decided to make the move to Bulgaria to have a more peaceful life from the busy lifestyle in the UK. The Rowles bought a family property in the outskirts of Rudozem.
After living in Bulgaria for a few months, the family saw the plight of the street dogs and started feeding them and patting them. They were shocked by the locals reactions and abuse towards the street dogs, and saw dogs spat on, kicked or had stones thrown at them. They continued to feed the dogs on the streets when they could out of their own money.
In September 2007, their youngest son Luke, befriended a street dog named Ranger, and the dog started following him. Ranger became the families first rescue dog when a man was trying to shoot him. You can read about Rangers story on this link. In following months other street dogs went home to the Rowles family.
With the continuing number of street dogs needing to be fed on the streets, it was getting harder not to do something, so in March 2009, Rudozem Street Dog Rescue (RSDR) was formed, and officially became a registered foundation.
Adoptions to other countries were then organised to help find homes for the dogs rescued.
Renovations for Shelter / Clinic
Since early 2009 RSDR has been trying to raise enough funds to purchase land to build a dog shelter / clinic. As of 22 December 2010, RSDR reached their target goal and signed contracts to purchase a plot of land with an existing building.
We now need to raise funds to renovate the existing building to convert into a dog shelter/clinic to help the many street dogs in Rudozem.
As soon as the shelter is renovated, one of our main aims, is to start a spay / neuter scheme for the many dogs in the Rudozem area. The current vet does not know the procedure for spaying female dogs, and only knows how to neuter male dogs. Once the shelter is up and running, we will enlist the help of volunteer vets that can come to Rudozem to help with the spay / neuter scheme. This will then help us with reducing the population of the many puppies born into a life of misery on the streets.
Pens in the family home.
The shelter/clinic will also be used for dogs whose lives are in imminent danger through sickness or injury.
Help us to Help them
Once the building has been made structurally sound, volunteers will be welcome to come and help with renovations or with the shelter/clinic at such time as it is up and running. If you would like to help RSDR in raising enough money to renovate our shelter/clinic please give a small donation on the donate page. If you are interested in adopting or fostering one of our dogs, please view our current dogs available on the website and contact our Adoption Team.
How it started
Since 2009, we had been trying to raise enough money for a dog shelter to save the many dogs in the Rudozem area. We also had been trying to find a plot of land that would be suitable but not had much success.
In October 2010, we came across a plot of land with an existing building that is a 20 min drive from Rudozem which would be perfect for a dog shelter / clinic. The asking price at the time, was 38,000 euros for the land and building. A lot of the plots of land we had looked at previously had no building, no electricity, no water, no road access, and were asking for prices between 25,000 euros to 40,000 euros for the land only! The 38,000 euros was a bargain price! One that we could not afford to let go, we knew we had to appeal for help to fundraise so we would not lose this opportunity, so we made an appeal to raise funds for the shelter.
Previously we had been working from our own family home and had up to 60 dogs and 6 cats. We had numerous complaints from locals about the noise from the dogs and there was the constant worry that we could be asked to get rid of the dogs as we were in a residential house and would then be forced to send the dogs to a dog isolator. We would never allow this to happen as they are places of torture. We had not caused any problems that have highlighted our plight to any authorities who could make problems for us, so they were happy to leave us alone at that stage.
Contracts Signed - the land / building now belongs to Rudozem Street Dog Rescue
By December 2010, we had some wonderful donations, enough to cover purchase of the land and existing building, aswell as towards any legal fees. RSDR raised a total figure of 42,150.55 euros towards the purchase of the land/building which will became the shelter for RSDR. Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who helped to make this happen. The contracts for the land/building were signed on the 22 December 2010, through the registered foundations name (Rudozem Street Dog Rescue).
Appeal for donations towards Renovations
RSDR have a lot of work and renovations to carry out on the building. Work will have to be done in stages as and when funds are available and in order of priority.
There has been a lot of opposition from officials, the municipality and locals. Many people can’t understand why anyone would bother trying to help the street dogs as they regard them as vermin. Municipalities are allocated money to deal with the problem of street dogs but this rarely gets spent on dogs. There is a lot of corruption and illegal shootings still go on.
2011 was a very difficult and stressful year for us. We had intended to renovate the building we bought as a shelter before moving dogs there. However we had many urgent cases and nowhere for them so we built temporary pens and moved there with the dogs. We had numerous visits from police, the municipality and other officials trying to close the shelter. We had to wait months before the prosecutor decided if he could make any charges against us.
Eventually we were granted a certificate which meant we could legally keep dogs there. In May 2011, we were finally able to start using the shelter.
In 2011, after a shelter license was granted in May, RSDR slowly renovated and built inside and outside pens for the RSDR shelter, as well as constructed exercise yards for the Shelter. Security cameras were also implemented.
Photo: Pens inside and Exercise Yards being constructed
In 2012, we had an emergency appeal for donations for the replacement of a dangerous roof. In the early winter of 2012 in February, it was a frightening time, with the near collapse and bowing of the shelters wooden roof. It was one of the coldest and heaviest snowfalls that winter with an extreme cold front across the whole of Europe. All 150 dogs & cats were are risk of injury or death. There was holes in the roof, the roof was leaking, and the roof was bowing and creaking so low, it was quite dangerous. It was also a horrible ordeal trying to scrape snow off the roof that had turned into ice during the night. The municipality would not send any emergency support and the only JCB was being used by emergency services in other areas. The neighbouring buildings roof had already collapsed and the RSDR shelter roof was creaking dangerously. Eventually RSDR managed to find a local builder that helped brace supports during this time and found someone that had a JCB to help remove the snow that had piled up.
After this frightening winter our main aim was to urgently replace the roof before the next winter came in December 2012. With worldwide support with individual donations, entering competitions, applying for grants, and a team effort of fundraising, enough funds were raised and completion of the new roof became final in December 2012.
Photo: Photo of roof of shelter that needed to be replaced. Right: Photo of roof nearly collapsing in February 2012.
Earlier this year (February 2013) we were advised by a Rudozem municipality representative that if the shelter was not up to EU standard soon, RSDR would close, and our Founder would be charged. (radio interview with founder Diane Rowles).
It is now July 2013, and no action has been taken against RSDR by the municipality, however we still need to be vigilant in fundraising towards renovations and make sure each of our target goals have been met. We know that the overall goal of renovation of the "whole shelter" will be long term and could take years, however the builder has said he will work with us in stages as and when we raise the funds and work can be done.
We hope that by seeing progress of the renovations on the shelter will help appease the municipality and hold off any action.
It has taken to July for us to get quotations, due to sorting out paperwork and guidelines with the municipality, and checking if an architects plans were required. We have now received quotations and have target goals set.
RSDR have also had 2 family emergencies with son Luke Rowles earlier this year in May. Luke suffered a fit and a small heart attack. He was taken to hospital in May and tests were done. (please read May 2013 newsletter). We believe the cause might have been linked to the powders they used at the dentist. Luke is now okay and working back at the shelter.
It was only a few months later then Tony Rowles (Lukes dad) was also taken to hospital. After tests at the Rudozem hospital the doctors said that Tony had Pneumo Fibrosis and Angina. For the angina he had to have 4 stints put into his heart and had undergone 2 surgeries in September 2013. (Please read August 2013 and September 2013 newsletters for more information) Tony is now doing a lot better, but is under strict orders by the doctors to rest and not do too much for the next 6 months.
On the 15 April 2014, we had an inspection from the Municipality. We have been advised that we need to erect sound proof fencing sheets around the perimeter of the shelter and have been given a 6 month deadline to have this done by. The fence panels are the kind that you see next to some motorways. In the past we have been refused permission by the municipality to replace the fence but the ECO guy came with the officials from Smolian and said that he would help us get it approved.
We don't have quotations yet for the fencing as we have to find out who can supply it and also get the planning permission for it. Once we do have a quotation, we will have to fundraise for that and will set up a fundraising widget. (Shelter Fundraising page)
In the meantime could you urgently donate to our Vaccinations Appeal on our donate page, as we urgently need funds for outstanding Vet bills.
PLEASE DONATE - We appeal for your help in making a donation towards our Shelter Renovations. Please view our Shelter Renovations page to see currently what Target Goals we are currently fundraising for.
To view photo progress of our shelter please go to our shelter photo album
RSDR GOALS & SHELTER SPECIFICATIONS
Renovation for shelter requirements will include the following:
Diane Rowles - RSDR Founder
"Although we never intended to be rescuing street dogs when we moved to Bulgaria, we couldn't ignore their plight. Now that we have started, it is a lifetime commitment. There are times when it is heartbreaking but we could never leave what we have started otherwise there would be no one to care about and fight for these dogs". Diane Rowles
Kerry Rowles and her partner Kosta Chakurov ran the Veliko Turnovo branch for RSDR and had over 28 dogs and 6 cats. Both Kerry & Kosta accomplished a lot at this branch, by finding a reliable vet to do spaying of females, and blood testing requirements for UK entry.
However due to problems with threats and harrasment from gypsies and police threats to destroy the dogs, aswell as one dog being shot, RSDR did an emergency evacuation of dogs, cats and humans back to Rudozem. You can read more about this on our Website blog and on the June & July 2011 newsletter for the latest updates.
We have now closed the VT branch, and Kerry & Kosta and all the dogs and cats are now safely back in Rudozem.
Liam Rowles - RSDR Bulgaria
Luke Rowles - RSDR Bulgaria
Anita Weber is the RSDR Co-Ordinator, and deals with all administration, Adoption Co-ordinating, PR/Fundraising and internal processes of RSDR with Founder Diane.
Anita has IT skills, and helps manage the website & facebook fanpage, database, co-ordinates with the adoption teams, helps co-ordinate any media & promotions, online shop, fundraising and answers any adoption email enquiries.
Anita represents Diane & Tony when they are not available.
Anita has done her own sponsored event for the RSDR and is a a great help online with her organisational skills. Anita has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training with the National Dog Training Federation in Australia.
If you have any questions about RSDR, you can contact Anita at email@example.com
RSDR Adopt is a non-profit unincorporated association based in Britain acting on instructions of the Rudozem Street Dog Rescue founders in Bulgaria.
RSDR adopt exists solely to provide administration and banking facilities in Britain on behalf of Rudozem Street Dog Rescue in Bulgaria.
Since 2009, the Netherlands Adoption team has been finding our dogs homes.
The NL team consists of many persons with a variety of skills that help with all aspects of arranging adoptions, from Management experience, administration, PR, Advertising, dog training & behaviour advise, translations and having a general love for all animals. We can't thank the Dutch team enough for what they do for our dogs.
The Team Members in the Netherlands team consist from Left to Right.
If you would like to ask the adoption team any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the dutch website at: http://www.rsdrnederland.nl/
A UK team has been established in the United Kingdom.
As of the 1st January 2012, new DEFRA laws changed UK entry requirements for persons travelling with pets, Dogs or Cats require the initial single rabies vaccination (12 weeks or older), then 21 days after the vaccination, can travel to the United Kingdom.
The UK team will help with a range of jobs from arranging adoptions, advertising, home checks, emergency fosterer and meet and greet of dogs at the collection point, aswell as help with any fundraising.
The UK Team are looking for other volunteers in the UK, that can help with home checking of our dogs and being a part of the UK Team. If you are intersted in being a part of the team, please email email@example.com or fill out a UK Volunteer Application form - press here
Please help RSDR, with our special animals by putting your name down as a Emergency Foster Carer in the UK. If you can help, please fill out our RSDR Foster Care Form with your details.
If you are interested in adopting one of our lovely dogs in the UK, please fill out a questionnaire on the Adoption Page of our website.
Emma helps co-ordinate the Causes page for RSDR on facebook. Emma has had a passion for dogs all her life and has had mainly Belgian Shepherds and Border Collies for pets,
"I came across the RSDR in January 2009 and have become heavily involved in the back ground work of the RSDR (recruiting and promoting) for the website and the group and cause page (on facebook)."
Emma is in the United Kingdom and is a wonderful help with promoting RSDR
All persons on this page have the authority to act on behalf of Rudozem Street Dog Rescue. However any persons not mentioned on this page or on our fundraising page, whom approach you with an Authorisation letter that is older then 12 months old, please be aware they do not have the authority to act on behalf of RSDR. All authorisation letters expire each year on the 31 December and are renewed the following January. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns.
Persons selling items on their own website/ebay store or facebook page and donating profits to RSDR also have permission to fundraise for RSDR. These persons are available at: http://www.streetdogrescue.com/forsaleonothersites.htm