Action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme has come to the rescue of a three-month-old chihuahua, saving her from euthanasia on Monday after a legal tusslebetween Norway and Bulgaria.

The dog named Raya was sold to new owners in Norway in September but officialsthere would not register her because she had travelled on a fake Bulgarianpassport.

Norway tried to repatriate the animal but Bulgaria refused to take her backbecause of European Union rules about transport of live animals, leaving thedog facing euthanasia — until the Belgian film legend got involved.

Van Damme launched an emotive campaign on social media, posting selfies of himhugging his chihuahua, which eventually persuaded the Bulgarian Food SafetyAuthority to accept the dog back.

“I beg, please, for my birthday, the Food Safety Authority, change yourdecision,” Van Damme wrote over the weekend, launching a petition to save thedog.

“They made a mistake, the people who didn’t do the paper correctly… But theycannot kill that little chihuahua.”

The food safety authority says Raya will have medical checks when she getsback to Bulgaria and will be put up for adoption.

Yavor Gechev from the Four Paws animal rights organisation told AFP on Mondaythat Bulgaria should be congratulated for showing flexibility but called forstricter control on illegal breeders and animal traffickers.

“The export of pets from eastern to western and northern Europe is a lucrativebusiness,” he said.

The dog’s fake passport meant she would have been put down on October 20 underNorway’s legislation, said Gechev.

The misadventures of Raya resemble the story of Penka the cow, who also faceda death sentence after wandering over Bulgaria’s border with Serbia in May2018.

Penka was saved thanks to an international campaign in her defence joined byformer Beatle Paul McCartney.

Source: Yahoo News

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