Dog spinning (Bulgarian: тричане на куче(та), trichane na kuche(ta)) is a ritual that was traditionally practised on the first day of Lent in the village of Brodilovo in southeastern Bulgaria. It is related to similar rituals used on this day at other villages, in which the dogs were whipped or beaten. The ritual is thought to have pagan origins and was performed in order to prevent rabies.
In dog spinning, a dog is suspended above water on a rope. The dog is turned repeatedly in a given direction to wind the rope, or is inserted into a loop of rope that has been twisted already. The dog is then released so that it spins rapidly in the opposite direction as the rope unwinds.
Historically the ritual was performed in many other parts of Bulgaria as well and although the exact practice varied regionally, e.g. whipping or beating the dogs instead of spinning them, it was performed on the same date and with the same goal. Reports of this type of ritual can be found as early as 1869.
Animal welfare concerns
The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported protests at the Bulgarian Embassy in Stockholm about the cruelty of this tradition. These occurred as Bulgaria prepared to join the European Union in 2005.
A reference in English is in a press release issued by the UK Green Party, issued on July 29, 2005. It includes a statement from Green Party MEP Dr Caroline Lucas, vice-president of the RSPCA and the European Parliament's cross-party Animal Welfare Intergroup. Dr Lucas criticised it as being cruel to dogs, saying "Dog-spinning is a barbaric practice and must not be allowed to continue into the 21st century."
The "Sofia Echo" reported the practice in March 2011.
The practice of the ritual was banned by the mayor of Tsarevo in 2006 after complaints by Bulgarian animal welfare organizations. There have been reports of the practice continuing sporadically, and animal welfare organisations have tried to ensure this does not happen.
- St. Clair, Stanislas Graham Bower; Brophy, Charles A. (1869). A residence in Bulgaria. London: J. Murray. p. 39.
- Ameleva, Iveta (2006-02-23). "Кмет забрани жесток обичай с кучета". Darik News (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- Ovander, Petter (2005-03-08). "Barbarer!". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- Bozhkov, Bozhidar (2006-02-24). "Забраниха жестокия ритуал с кучета в Странджа". Сега (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- Сигнал във връзка с "тричане на куче", 15.03.2005 (in Bulgarian)
- Smith, Graham (2012-02-29). "Exposed: The cruel dog-spinning ritual to 'ward off rabies' that is STILL being practised Bulgaria". Mail Online. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- "Протести срещу тричането в интернет". Burgasnews. 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2015-01-29.