Van Damme Saves Life Of Chihuahua After Row Over Fake Passport

Not Van Damme's Chihuahua but a pretty cute one

Not Van Damme’s Chihuahua but a pretty cute one. Credit: nishizuka via Pexels

Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme has saved little Raya’s life by posting his pleas on social media. As it turns out, couch activism does work if you are a celebrity – or an adorable chihuahua.

The 3-month-old chihuahua is no world leader but got caught up in a legal tussle between Norway and Bulgaria and was facing euthanasia until Mr Van Damme got involved.

Little Raya was sold to some people in Norway under a fake Bulgarian passport. Raya was, basically, an undocumented immigrant-dog depleted of all rights, which meant that Norway officials refused to register the furry yet irregular traveller.

It is uncertain what is so special about this particular chihuahua that prompted such commotion amongst international leadership. Perhaps we are done with politicians and getting ready to invest in canines for governing roles. Maybe the men’s best friend can also be the “men’s best leader”. There are numerous possible explanations but the most convincing is probably that chihuahuas are cute and Van Damme hot and famous: an unbeatable combo.

Norway tried repatriating Raya, but Bulgaria wouldn’t have it. “The dog is indeed cute, but European Union rules on the transport of live animals have been broken and the law supersedes cuteness” – is probably what Bulgaria would have said. And so, as cute as Raya was, she was facing euthanasia.

However, on the horizon, there came the Martial Arts hero galloping on his social media white horse: Van Damme started an emotive social media campaign. Selfies of Van Damme hugging his very own chihuahua were just too much for the Bulgarian authorities to bear and so they caved.

Launching a petition to save Raya, Van Damme wrote:

“I beg, please, for my birthday, the food safety authority, change your decision,” Van Damme wrote over the weekend, launching a petition to save the dog.

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

Bulgaria’s food safety authority ended up accepting the dog back. Raya has gone through medical checks before being put up for adoption in Bulgaria.

But this is not the first nor the last time that a celebrity’s intervention has saved the furry life of an adorable four-pawed being. In 2018, Penka the cow was at the centre of an international campaign supported by none other than former Beetle Paul McCartney.

Penka the cow, too distracted for her own good, mistakenly crossed the border between Bulgaria and Serbia. An undocumented traveller with no papers to confirm her health, Penka found herself violating European Union animal guidelines – a lethal mistake if you are a cow.

The people protested against Penka’s death sentence and even threw in criticism to Brussels’ bureaucracy. In the end, The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency reviewed the case and confirmed that Penka’s lab tests had shown her good health.

The takeaway from Raya and Penka’s difficult journey is that furry cuteness and celebrity hotness are a powerful force and, together, they can supersede even European law.