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Bulgarian Street Dogs

Bulgarian street dogs and the welfare of animals in general is a major problem throughout the country.


Poverty and lack of knowledge are the main cause for the thousands of mistreated and unwanted animals in Bulgaria.

Every year thousands of unwanted puppies are abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Frequently an extra financial burden on the owner and thrown out to become yet another one of the Bulgarian street dogs left to survive and lead a miserable existence in the daily fight for survival finding food and shelter. Bulgaria's climate poses many difficulties for these animals as the summer s are long, dry and hot and the dog is prone to disease and illness. In addition the winters are extremely cold, damp and harsh where many will struggle to find food from weeks of snow and ice, many just freeze to death.

Or simply they are used to work and a dog's sole purpose is for guard duty and they are kept tied up all day on a short leash, with little food and water- a lifestyle that slowly drives the poor creature mad.

Some people find it amusing to give them regular beatings and perform dreadful cruel acts - possibly a way of taking out their troubles on the defenceless animal. In some cases they are treated so appallingly, the animal is injured and left to starve and die alone.

A high percentage of Bulgarians, like in many other countries, do not see them as pets, more for work purposes. In some areas of the country efforts are made reduce the number of Bulgarian street dogs by culling programmes. Recently plans have been made for new centres to open which are funded by the E.U offering free services to spay and neuter stray dogs and cats. Therefore eventually prevent breeding which over time will reduce the amount of unwanted street dogs and cats. Although it is the lack of education is the foremost problem and some people just do not agree with this and consider it to be against nature!

Although many Bulgarians, like other countries around the world, love their pets and treat them with great care and love.

My experiences when I lived in a village were –

"Most houses had a guard dog, tied up all of the time, they were actually quite vicious as you passed the property and I generally think the poor dogs just go mad.

Some stories went around that if the dogs escaped there was a chance they would get shot as they would be considered as a stray. Although for a time, we did see some regular strays nicknamed Carlos and Salamcho and we would leave food outside on the road as we knew they would see it when passing our house! I think they got used to those who regularly fed them and were regulars at the local shops. Eventually their time came and we never saw them again so we presumed they were part of the culling programme.

On several occasions we were offered puppies, and the first time we did take the poor little starving sole in and now he is a happy 5 year old, family pet called Rocky and loved by us all. But, we did have to turn down a few more during our time spent there. And it wasn't easy saying "No".


More recently we found a kitten abandoned on a street nearby and my daughter just had to bring him home. The vet thought he was about 2 weeks old, we all fell in love with him and called him Freddie and did all we could, but the poor little sole was only with us a week and he died. We were all devastated!
I think the organisations that devote their time to supporting all animals in Bulgaria do a terrific job and need all the support that they can get.

Plus the root of the problem is to educate people to spay and neuter to prevent unwanted kittens and Bulgarian street dogs crisis and the suffering.

Interesting story to read about this issue is our Interview with founder of 'Animal Friends Foundation Burgas', Miglena Ivanova