Is Adding Dogs To The Hunting List Really A Solution To Chile's Stray Problem?
creativecommons.org/Emilian Robert Vicol
With more than 200,000 stray dogs on the streets of Santiago alone, there is no denying that Chile has a growing feral dog problem. But in this day and age, is adding stray dogs to the hunting list really the best solution that the government can come up with?
Chile’s animal rights activists are in uproar over the amendment to a hunting law that now allows license-carriers to hunt stray dogs. The decree authorizes that dogs that are more than 400 metres from any town or rural housing may be captured or killed.
Surely, instead of killing the dogs, the solution lies in stopping them from reproducing.
But sadly, instead of considering obligatory sterilization and pet-ownership education policies, the Chilean government is opting to approve dog-killing.
Humane Society International is urging the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, to repeal a new decree that authorizes the hunting of dogs.
"In Chile, owned dogs are not homebound and therefore follow their owners on journeys of more than 400 meters in both urban and rural areas,” said Alexandra Rothlisberger, HSI’s program manager for Latin America.
“With this decree any dog can be hunted or captured. Such amendments are archaic, punish the victim without solving the problem of abandoned animals, and go against the efforts made by other branches of government to educate on responsible ownership of pets.
“We urge President Piñera and the Ministry of Agriculture to join the efforts of other government entities and create opportunities to educate people about responsible pet ownership, starting with facilitating access to veterinary services with emphasis on sterilization”.
In Chile, HSI implements spay/neuter projects alongside local organization RIMA and the Regional Ministerial Secretary of Health. Together, the groups have sterilized, vaccinated and de-wormed approximately 1,200 dogs in rural areas of the Aysen region. Several of these dogs return to rural areas with their owners where they will run the risk of being hunted.