Save our Shelter - RSDR Renovation Campaign

For: Rudozem Street Dog Rescue
Rudozem, Smoljan, Bulgaria
Organizer: Rudozem Street Dog Rescue
of €62,564 goal.
Raised by 1169 donors
100% Complete

The Story

URGENT APPEAL - RSDR is urgently seeking your help to save our shelter and the street dogs & cats of Bulgaria. (read our story below)

Please make a donation on the above DONATE button through PAYPAL or by BANK TRANSFER on our bank account details below.

Bank Account Details

If you do not have paypal and prefer to donate by bank transfer to RSDR's Bulgarian, Dutch or UK bank please donate to:

Bank details:
Bulgarian Bank account:
Bank: DSK Bank
Account Name: Rudozem Street Dog Rescue Bank
Bank Address: 4960, 4960 Rudozem, 11 Han Asparuh Str, Bulgaria
IBAN BG55STSA93000016929092
(Can donate in any currency as it will be converted to Bulgarian Levs)

UK Bank Account
Bank: The Co-operative Bank
Account Name: RSDR Adopt
Sort Code: 089299
Account Number: 65668283
Currency in Pounds

Dutch Bank Account
If you would like to donate through a dutch bank account, you can go through Diane Beijer
Bank: ING Bank
Account Number:
Name: Diane Beijer, Amsterdam

RSDR also accept cheques and money orders to their UK Bank, so please email [email protected] for the postal address.

Please put reference as "Save our Shelter" and email [email protected] to advise you have made a donation by bank transfer and which bank you paid to.   Please be aware your bank may charge you a fee for international transfers.  

Media Release


February 3, 2017– Animal rescue centre Rudozem Street Dog Rescue (RSDR) has launched an urgent appeal for help to save it from closure after the Bulgarian authorities issued a new law this week, requiring it become a registered shelter.

The shelter in southern Bulgaria, run by British couple Tony & Diane Rowles, rescues street cats and dogs, rehabilitates them where necessary and arranges for their foster and adoption in the UK and Netherlands. On Monday they were notified that, under a new law passed with immediate effect, RSDR was no longer permitted by the Bulgarian authorities to transport animals out of country. This ruling effectively shuts down RSDR's ability to continue ensuring a long-term future for street animals.

RSDR founder Diane Rowles says “There are thousands of animals on the streets that are suffering and needing our help. RSDR has been vital to saving and adopting over 1500 animals to other countries since 2009. The future of street animals in Bulgaria and their plight is now uncertain.”

Under EU law, any registered private individual, breeder or charity registered with the EU Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) can send animals by approved transport to member states. TRACES ensures that transported animals are properly microchipped, registered and healthy. RSDR has transported its animals under the tightly regulated EU system since 2014 without issue. However, the new Bulgarian ruling states that animals rescued from the streets may no longer be transported from registered charities unless they are also a registered shelter.

Diane continues, “RSDR is a Bulgarian-registered foundation and has held a licence to care for dogs at the shelter since 2011. We can't apply for private shelter registration until the shelter is renovated up to EU standards and we have been fundraising and renovating parts of the shelter for years to bring it up to standard. Completing all the renovation work in one go will be a massive task, costing a huge amount. We just don’t have the money.”

The RSDR adoption transport, carrying over 30 adopted animals to adopters in the UK and Netherlands, scheduled to leave today (Friday, 3 February 2017) has had to be cancelled. Adopters are now waiting anxiously for news of when they will be united with their adopted RSDR cats and dogs. Street dog Jigger, rescued in 2011 and one of the shelter’s longest residents, had a place booked on the transport. His adopters have said, “We are absolutely devastated, but I'm sure I'm not alone amongst current adopters in saying we are committed to getting Jigger home.”

RSDR is now focusing on completing the remaining renovations to the shelter to bring it up to EU standards so that it can become a registered shelter. For this, it will need a large injection of cash. The shelter is entirely reliant on public donations, supported by a network of volunteers in the UK and the Netherlands. The required renovation work is estimated to be at least 25,000 euros. The Rowles are liaising with local contractors to estimate the exact cost which may be much more.

In the meantime, RSDR has set up an online fundraiser at and is using hashtags #saveourshelter #RSDR on its social media feeds - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram - with the following request: “We urgently appeal for the public to donate towards our fundraiser and share this message far and wide with family and friends.”

About RSDR:
Rudozem Street Dog Rescue (RSDR) is run by British family Diane & Tony Rowles who started the foundation in 2009 after seeing the plight and abuse of street animals. Since establishing the shelter, the Rowles have rescued thousands of cats and dogs, rehoming them to the UK and Netherlands. They also care for a number of permanent residents at the shelter, animals who cannot be rehomed owing to behavioural issues. Given that it has very limited resources and space, the shelter also supports street dogs and cats through regular feeding runs. In 2016, a documentary made by Canadian Editor Erin Parks about the shelter ‘Finding Shelter’ won third place in the Animal Film Festival Awards. The documentary is available at

RSDR Co-Ordinator, Anita Weber, email [email protected]
RSDR Media Liaison, Paula McMullan, email [email protected]
Rudozem Street Dog Rescue (RSDR), Foundation No. ‪175647065, Rudozem, Smolian, Bulgaria,
e: [email protected], w:,

A copy of the media release and photos will also be available at

Visit our Shelter Renovations page to see what Renovations have already been completed.

Photo Album - Shelter Renovations:

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 2, 2017


Posted on August 2, 2017

Update 2 August 2017

Just a quick update on the progress of shelter registration. The architect has finished the project plans and they are now at the Eco office in the municipality. They will be at this office for a few days and then will be looked at in the Mayors office before going to the office in Sofia. Once in Sofia they will get in touch with the Health & Food Agency to arrange an inspection of the shelter. After the inspection they will make a decision about registration.

In other news, we ask people to please not dump animals at the shelter and please understand why we cannot take in any more animals. The RSDR shelter has been FULL since April 2017, and we have been told by officials to not take in any more animals until we receive shelter registration. RSDR cannot do any adoption transports until we receive registration, which means no animals are leaving the shelter but more animals are being left and taken in at the shelter.

We are receiving hundreds of phone calls and emails each week all across Bulgaria to take in more dogs and cats and we have to say no to people. We cannot stress enough saying how FULL the shelter is and how overcrowded the pens are. It is not fair on the animals to bring in anymore and could be dangerous bringing in more due to the lack of room, which may cause in-house fighting and less individual attention by shelter staff.

RSDR are still trying to help the animals in the area, and we are continuing to do our feeding runs of dogs and cats in different areas, so those animals are being fed.

As we are so overcrowded, if you want to help take the pressure off funds by making a donation to our shelter during this time, please go to:

Or you might want to sign up for our sponsor program to help feed the animals at:

Please read about the shelter situation with updates at

For those needing help with animals in Bulgaria if you email me at [email protected] I will send a list of other rescues in other areas in Bulgaria, that may be able to help.

Posted on July 12, 2017


Posted on July 12, 2017

Shelter Update 12 July 2017

The last month, the architect and builder have been working diligently and have nearly finished the "project" of a detailed plan of all the work to be done at the shelter.

We have also now heard that the project will also need to be submitted to the Electric and water board also for approval. They have told us that this will then take approximately 2-3 weeks. After this, the "project" plans will then go back to the Eco and Water Department in Smolian who will forward this and all other documents and training certificates to a department in Sofia. Hopefully we may then get a date for the inspection.

In other news, the builders made a bit of a mess of the upstairs floor when building the rooms, with plaster everywhere on the floor. So we are waiting for the builders to fix this as the floor will need to be restained.

The medical storage room has however been completed upstairs.

We are holding off doing any major constructions with floors, walls and pens until we get feedback from the inspection.

We will give another update as soon as have heard more news.

Thank you to everyone for your support in fundraising and donating towards our shelter renovations. We still have a little way to go on our fundraiser, if you are able to help with supporting us, please go to:

Posted on June 13, 2017


Posted on June 13, 2017

Shelter Update 13 June 2017

We have had word from officials from not only the Smolian Office, but departments of The Eco and Water department as well as the municipality, that they require a more detailed plan and project of all the work to be done at the shelter by an architect. The builder and the architect are at the shelter currently at this moment working on a project report and detailed plan. Once this is completed it will be stamped by the municipality and then we can submit the report to the other departments that require more detailed information. Once this has then be completed and submitted, we are hoping officials will then allow the inspection to go ahead.

Due to the length of the shelter registration process all adoptions are currently on hold until we receive registration.

If people do want to be approved for an "rsdr dog or cat", they can still apply with an application form and phone interview/home check to be "approved" and can adopt later once adoptions resume. However we cannot guarantee a time limit on when adoptions will resume and how long it will take. We have been told by officials different time periods however new hurdles keep coming up once we overcome them. So we are not going to give any guarantee until we have the registration come through.

The process could be finalised in a matter of weeks or a matter or months. We just do not know what will happen and when and how long this will take. Due to this, for any new approvals, we will not accept deposits of any of the animals until adoptions resume, though people can still put their name down for that animal (but only if they are approved).

For all our current adopters we thank you for your understanding and patience for waiting for so long for your animal since February. We know how frustrating it is for you all and how long the process has taken. We completely understand if you were to cancel and will refund any adoption monies. The process is completely out of RSDR's hands and we can only continue one step at a time as and when we receive information.

We are so close to the end of the registration process, but we cannot give a time period on how long it will take fully in the end and if any more hurdles will come up.

RSDR is already a registered foundation and are licensed to keep animals at the building, however we are not a registered shelter.

During this process, RSDR will become the first "private" shelter to go through registering as a animal shelter in Bulgaria. This is why the registration is taking so long as a lot of the processes are new, with new laws. This will be a massive achievement once it has been accomplished.

Thank you to everyone for your support in fundraising and donating towards our shelter renovations. We still have a little way to go on our fundraiser, if you are able to help with supporting us, please go to: to make a donation.

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