In most Latin American communities, there are no public services to assist dog owners with basic training so that they can enjoy a healthy relationship that includes walking on a leash, and other basic commands that allows for dogs to become more integrated in their owners’ lives. As a result, contained dogs bark, dig, destroy property, fight and are seldom taken out on a leash for exercise.
Many frustrated owners eventually turn the dog loose to end the nuisance behaviours, and the dog becomes another owned dog in the street. Alternatively, they are tied up in a corner of the yard, and forgotten. Unlike some other regions of the world, the majority of dogs in the streets of Latin American cities are owned. The GAAP believes that sterilizing dogs from the street without the owner’s consent is unethical and unsustainable. We prefer to educate owners through public service classes, workshops, campaigns, and school visits.
Then we provide sterilizations at sliding scale costs according to the owner’s income so that everyone has equal access to veterinary services. This is a sustainable pathway to overcome the problem of free-ranging dogs in Latin American communities. Although Chile is considered by many to be on the road to becoming developed, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs released reports in 2013 stating that when the numbers are analyzed appropriately using the Inequality Human Development Index, Chile no longer appears to be close to development and in fact falls far behind many other countries of the region. The issue of free-roaming dogs in Chile is serious and requires sustainable action. At the GAAP, we believe education is the key.