Debate against “feral” dog attacks in Chile

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Debate against

On January 5, a pack of dogs attacked a Brazilian tourist in San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta region. The young woman suffered serious injuries, while the dogs were given anti-rabies vaccinations and some performed euthanasia procedure With prior permission from caregivers.

This is not the first such incident to happen in the region: in October 2023, a 28-year-old girl working as a tourist guide was reportedly killed after being attacked by a pack of dogs and a dog. Three year old child’s ear was cut off After the attack of these animals.

These three incidents prompted the San Pedro Municipality to present an appeal for protection against the Cerami de Salud, in which they asked Sacrifice all the stray dogs in the commune, On 12 January, the Appeals Court of Antofagasta accepted the appeal and gave Cerami 15 working days to provide all supporting information for his allegations.

Beyond the reactions generated by this particular measure, latest events have once again brought it to the fore Challenge of dog attacks A problem that affects not only the north of the country, but also the south, where dozens of attacks on native fauna, including coyotes and foxes, have been recorded.

In fact, actions like those of the San Pedro Municipality are not new. There are others in that line, like Bill that seeks to declare “feral dogs” an invasive alien species, an initiative on which action is ongoing in the Chamber. There are many opinions, different solutions and polarized positions, but the problem still remains.

An invasive alien species?

On Monday, January 22, the Agricultural Commission of the Chamber of Deputies approved and sent to the chamber The bill you are looking for Declare wild dogs as “invasive alien species” And provide for “its control by the competent authority”. The initiative was introduced by MP Harry Jurgensen (IND) in November 2018.

Jurgensen Sostinian A cnn chile Feral dogs are a “global” problem and they are causing a “global” problem. Huge damage to people, livestock and our wildlife, Their project understands feral dogs as second- or third-generation dogs that “have ceased to be domestic pets, returning to a wild state.”

“Critics believe that this could lead to indiscriminate hunting of dogs, but here we are talking about specific control of wild dogs that They are no longer pets, these dogs They are already ready to attack That is, they return to their origins as a hunter, and when a dog falls into that vortex it is very difficult for it to establish itself as a pet,” he adds.

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According to the MP, these dogs have now “become hunters, not those who hunt to eat, but the attitude and temperament of these dogs is so severe that they often kill many animals and do not even eat them; But the attitude and nature of these dogs is so serious that they often kill many animals and do not even eat them.” They fall into aggressive, complex behaviors and there is no way to bring them back.,

“They deserve respect for their lives”

For Marisabel Pavez Jurgensen, an attorney with the Animal Law and Defense Foundation, said the proposal “once again” conceals the intention to add dogs to the list of animals that can be hunted. “Wrapped up in a lot of things that seem sensible, This hunting intention is between, The only difference is that now we put a friendlier text on it,” he says.

Pavez emphasizes that the hunt itself “This is not a solution, it is a cruel, simple act and a vicious cycle Since the fact that you hunt an animal does not cut the chain of abandoned animals, do not make the study too intensive about the areas where these problems are occurring, because There is a lack of a comprehensive study here About the areas through which it passes.”

According to Pavez, the solution should include the following “Significant” state investment From study and field identification to being able to reintegrate these animals into society or give them a better life. ,Solutions like hunting are sought to avoid investment , There is always someone behind it and even if there isn’t, Animals deserve ethical treatment and respect for their lives,

“Until we have an institutional framework 100% dedicated to animal issues and we have an organization that institutionally protects animals and allows the implementation of programs that cannot be implemented with any other organization join, since then it will be very difficult There are problems ranging from basic level education to study on specific areas”, he insists.

Chilo’s case

The Chiloé Silvestre Foundation, which is dedicated to, among other things, the rehabilitation of wildlife, has experienced since 2017 increase in animal income: In the case of Pudus, he left to get about it 10 Until samples arrived in 2017, 2018 and 2019. 60 These special animals are the main source of income in 2022 dog attack (60-80%).

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“Many organizations talk about wild dogs, but in Chiloé and most parts of Chile, they are not wild; owns them It’s just that they don’t have them as they should or are not established by law,” he says. javier cabello President of the organization.

Cabello confirms that in rural areas, where most attacks on wildlife occur, dogs “are not pets, they are working animals And they are treated differently, they are treated very differently.

According to the veterinarian, dogs from northern herds, which have no relation to humans, should be considered an invasive alien species, like mink, which “are hunted, killed and no one says anything.” Despite this, Cabello emphasizes that “the discussion revolves around whether or not dogs should be killed, but it’s not, The discussion cannot be that simple., There is no magic formula that will solve the problem with a single action.,

Solutions with field knowledge

Pets in the country, especially dogs and cats, are animals that people love very much. However, according to institutions such as the Veterinary Medical College (Colmevet), the practice of allowing them to roam freely can create various difficulties for both the animals themselves and society in general: In road safety, public health, wildlife, livestock and ecosystem,

Faced with this context, Kolmewet says that Solutions should be proposed with knowledge of the area, since the problem has different forms. “The path to an effective solution must be by agreeing on norms among the various actors interested in the matter, and for you have to sit down and talk, In parallel, strengthening and implementing public policies, improving capacities in sectors and putting forward rational proposals.

“on a global scale, There are many processes that should be improved to pursue effective solutions“: Promote education in pet ownership at all levels, strengthen mandatory identification of pets through internal equipment, increase the number of surgical sterilizations and efficiently monitor available standards.” gerardo morales Supporter National Secretary of the unit.

The organization lists some examples of Solutions with long-term knowledge of the field, always understand this problem through its various forms, whether in the north, center or south of the country. According to Kolmewet, the main solution lies in the “adequate” implementation of relevant public policies. responsible pet ownership As:

  • Promote education.
  • Advance mandatory pet identification.
  • Effective fertility control with a view to reducing the birth rate of each commune.
  • Effective supervision of ordinances and other legal bodies.
  • Municipalities strengthen their local programs on responsible ownership.
  • Implement pilot programs in geographically isolated areas such as islands and archipelagos, regulate the entry of specimens and sterilize pets to reduce their impact, as well as promote ownership within the property, allowing them to live freely Prevent transmission from.
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State view

Many countries have implemented significant measures to control the number of abandoned dogs. Whereas spain seeks to reinforce this through its animal welfare legislation, which aims to prevent abandonment, in addition to promoting adoption and responsible ownership, Netherlands It has already achieved this thanks to its program of capturing, sterilizing and releasing animals, which has been combined with measures such as increasing taxes on those purchasing purebred dogs.

In Chile, one of the state agencies in charge of animal control measures, in this case dogs, is the Undersecretary of Regional Development (SABADARE), through the Responsible Pet Ownership Program (PTRAC). Efforts were made in three directions,

  1. On the regulatory side, through the creation of the Regulation of Law 21,020, popularly known as the Cholito Law.
  2. Through the implementation of competitive funds for non-profit legal entities that promote responsible tenure.
  3. Through the financing of veterinary projects to municipalities and delegations in all regions of the country.

Regarding dog attacks, Sabdere says that most attacks are committed by owned dogs, not feral ones, because “Human irresponsibility in pet ownership is the main cause of the problem,

“Academic and scientific evidence indicates that animal and livestock attacks are causing problems Due to lack of responsible ownership over 90%“, he elaborates.

Faced with this scenario, the entity agrees that a responsible analysis of the problem be carried out Must be resolved on a case by case basis “By interdisciplinarity and with the support of experts in animal behavior.”

“The solution is seen as a set of measures with a technical focus and in the context of a Public policy strategies implemented from local, regional and national levels, Thief Adequate coverage and budget, These activities – which include creation of educational materials; reinforcement of sterilization; Among other things, there is a need to increase municipal capacities systematic and continuous over time In addition to being strengthened through inter-regional articulation and higher citizen participation,” he concluded.

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