Thursday, September 9, 2010

Feed a stray, get a fine

That's right. Valparaiso has implemented a new plan this week where feeding or sheltering stray animals is cause for a 1-5 UTM fine!!! (Each UTM is around 35,000CLP or USD $70.00...and you could get up to 5x that!). My feelings are mixed.

Valparaiso's strays are iconic.

Though I do agree we have a stray animal problem.

The problem is undenyable: overpopulation of stray dogs in the city center. Every visitor I've ever hosted in Valparaiso has been amazed by the quantity of dogs running around the center of town. But they are also taken aback by the fact that the dogs are friendly and appear well-fed. Despite my personal bad luck, very few dogs are dangerous or aggressive, and while they will happily scarf down any food offered, its more from the spirit of being a dog than from lack of food- the majority are not starving, or thin at all. They don't have rabies and relatively few have noticeable diseases.

One of the very few occations where I've seen sickly strays in Valparaiso's plan.

5 Dogs mingling with humans in the Plaza Victoria

This is why I'm weary of the plan detailed here. As far as I've read the plan consists of collecting stray dogs and taking them to a kennel, where their owners can claim them and pay a fine. People feeding and sheltering stray dogs will also get a fine. One HUGE aspect which is underrepresented in what happens to the unclaimed dogs, and how this will reduce the population of stray dogs in the long run. The kennel is already known for being overpopulated, so I cant imagine they're going to shove in hundreds or thousands of additional stray dogs to happily live out the rest of their lives there. This particular article doesn't even mention the issue of sterilization

The plan also fails to include (or the mention) any sort of public education campaign about responsible pet ownership, animal adoption, animal population control (I'll let Andrea tell you about that), etc... Are these not the KEY TO CHANGED BEHAVIORS???

At the University here we learned how a large percentage of the stray dog population consisted of dogs who had owners who either let them run free all day or threw them out on the streets after the adorable puppy stage. Many who look like strays in fact still "belong to" someone, or something of the sort, and do get food and (hopefully) some love from them. Many other people provide food and leftovers for the strays that hang around their house, sometimes even taking them to the vet or assisting in emergencies.

Someone helps out a stray mother


  1. OMG this stuff breaks my heart. Literally, I could seriously cry and scream over it.

  2. Lamentablemente, es un esfuerzo mal dirigido. Se requiere un trabajo a largo plazo en la gente en lugar de un iniciativa a corto plazo dirigida exclusivamente a los animales.

  3. I mean, I think the idea is correct. The stray dog (over)population NEEDS to be stopped.

    However, I just don't think this is the write way to go about doing it.

    Unless maybe the idea behind this is that for ever 35,000 pesos they get they'll use that money to sterilize three stray dogs.

  4. Me da mucha lata esta situación.

    Inicialmente, se había tomado como medida la esterilización para las hembras (y machos creo también) lo cual me parecía adecuado para parar este problema. No se que paso, la idea parecía buena pero no se llevó a cabo en su totalidad y dejo botada a medio camino. Ahora prohíben alimentar los perros y cobijarlos. No entiendo que pretenden las autoridades con esta solución, creoque tampoco sería lo ideal dejar estos pobres animales morir de hambre para después recoger sus cadáveres por las calles.

    La culpa de este problema es el de humanos irresponsables que descuidan sus mascotas y las dejan a la buena de Dios cuando ya se aburren de ellas y ya no las quieren. Hay gente que todavía cree que los animales son "lindos juguetes" que cuando ya no los divierte, simplemente los desecha. Una mascota es una responsabilidad.

    Lo que debiera hacerse en este país, es poner más rigurosidad y ser más estricto a la hora de adquirir una mascota con papeleo, registro y pagar algo así como un ALTISIMO impuesto o un derecho a poseer una mascota. Así, el que quiera una mascota valoraría más la tenencia de perros (u otra mascota) y tendría que poner más atención y cuidado a su mascota.

  5. FAIL. That doesn't make any sense. And what good is having starving, grumpy stray dogs around? I'd rather have mine fat and well-fed (and sterilized, of course). OY. It will be interesting to see where this goes. I hope someone can talk some sense into the powers that be!

  6. Those are the puppies that we saw when my friend and I were staying at that questionable hostel! They were so pitiful, I felt terrible.

    I don't think it makes sense to fine people for feeding them because it doesn't really address the fact that they can still breed and people can still dump unwanted pets.