Thursday, August 22, 2013

For the dogs (#6)

A row of public dog houses in Parque Forestal, with the Santiago Museo de Bellas Artes behind.

Chile has a lot of stray dogs roaming the streets. Unlike the US and many European countries, there does not seem to be a government program to pick up and adopt/euthanize dogs found on the street in most Latin American countries. That can be a problem as dogs sometimes form packs or attack unsuspecting people. But with a few notable exceptions (!), I haven't found the street dogs in Chile to be very aggressive, even to cyclists. In other Latin American countries I sometimes planned my bike route to avoid neighborhood dogs who had chased and tried to bite me in the past.

But in Chile that hasn't been much of a problem. Maybe that's due in part to dog houses like these, to the cardboard mats put down on the sidewalk for them on cold winter nights, and to bowls of water and even food given to them by store owners. They might not have a home or an owner, but the street dogs in Chile don't have it so bad. And they don't have to fear the dog catcher, either.

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