In Puerto Natales, Chile, we are working to provide sustainable solutions to the issue of negative interactions between dogs and people. One negative interaction can be dog aggression towards people, which makes people afraid to walk the streets, while another can be the abuse of (or lack of knowledge) dogs.
In this community, like many other communities in Latin America, canine control programs usually focus on dogs, with sterilization being in the forefront. The approach we used however, which was developed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), focuses on identifying the origin of the problem. Through community workshops, in collaboration with our IFAW partners, we walk community members through a process where they begin to realize that the source of the problem that results in having so many dogs in the streets is people.
From that point forward, they can begin focusing on human-focused solutions, such as implementation of the bylaws, education about owner responsibilities (such as sterilization and regular veterinary care) and mandatory identification of owned dogs.
Most recently, this community spent two days making significant progress on their community action plan to resolve the most pressing issues concerning street dogs. It was a big success and we are looking forward to supporting Puerto Natales into the future.