Animals in the majority of the villages are not what we'd class as pets. They have a job to do and if they no longer do that job then they have no use anymore. Cruelty to animals is something that is tolerated to a certain degree here and there are no laws to stop it.
Certainly some of the animals you see are well looked after and even loved to an extent. Sadly for some life isn't good. There are shelters and organisations trying to help animals in Bulgaria but without the back-up from the government and funding it must be incredibly hard.
Mostly every home here has a dog, it's there to guard it's home. Most are not fed on commercial dog food, they eat the scraps and leftovers or dry bread. They're chained sometimes without shelter and not walked at all. The odd thing is that when these dogs bark no-one looks out to see if anyone is there!
A lot of the Bulgarian people disagree with neutering/spaying their animals so there are a lot of unwanted kittens and puppies left to fend for themselves. In the last year or so we've had 7 kittens and a puppy left outside our house, most of them went to very good homes.
Our animals are mainly pets, we have 2 dogs that live in the house and another one outside who has a lovely kennel which he shares with our 2 cats! Then there's the pig, turkeys, chickens outside with their runs and houses and of course the 18 chicks that are currently housed in big boxes downstairs in my living room as it's too chilly overnight for them out in the chicken house until they're fully feathered.
I'm hoping in years to come - and it may take a long time, that with education and patience some of the cruelty to animals can be stopped. It's impossible and naive to think that it will ever be totally eradicated but things are slowly changing for the good. Our neighbours now feed their cats and dogs commercial dog food and have noticed a big change in the animals...a small step but at least it's progress!