Humane Dog Population Management in Chile
Humane Society International has worked with government agencies and local organizations around the world for many years to safeguard public health and safety through street dog vaccination and sterilization programs. Over the past decade, HSI has been developing culturally sensitive approaches to manage street dogs humanely and effectively. The aim of dog population management is to improve human public health and dog welfare in countries with significant street dog populations and to change the human-dog interaction so that it is more rewarding for both dogs and humans. Our approach includes data collection and analysis and capacity building to ensure that these programs are effective and sustainable. In addition, HSI strives to develop a culture of responsible pet guardianship where free-roaming pets contribute to dog overpopulation and injuries and transmission of zoonotic diseases to people. HSI is working with government entities and local organizations across Chile to develop and implement humane street dog population management programs as an alternative to archaic forms of population control. We currently hold monthly veterinary clinics in eight coastal towns, and rotating clinics in Patagonia and Santiago.
HSI’s veterinary team provides their services to underserved communities across Chile, developing a culture of responsible guardianship and protecting animals and humans against infectious and zoonotic diseases that are still common in the country. The coastal towns HSI works in experience a tremendous influx of Chilean tourists every year during the summer holidays. Unfortunately, at the end of the season, many dogs are left behind by their owners when it’s time to return to the city. Due to collaboration between local government and organizations our team is able to provide veterinary care for these dogs. Many will never find a forever home. To prevent abandonment, there is still a tremendous need to educate the public on the social responsibilities of being a dog owner. HSI aims to deliver the necessary veterinary services to contribute towards the goal of ensuring that pets are not abandoned.
Since the commencement of our veterinary program in Chile in 2012 we have spayed/neutered 10,156 dogs, and 2,797 cats, and provided veterinary treatment and preventive health services such as vaccines to dogs and cats as needed. Chile is no stranger to natural disasters. In 2015 alone the country was stricken with an 8.3 magnitude earthquake that triggered a tsunami alert and coastal evacuation of hundreds of communities. Earlier in the year, heavy rains gave way to flash floods that affected communities in northern Chile, causing displacement of families and their animals. One month later, the Calbuco volcano erupted, covering nearby skies with ash and a grey mist that lingered for days. In addition to these disasters, forest fires raged dangerously close to towns and cities, and in national parks that are home to protected species of plants and animals. Having an HSI team on the ground has allowed us to monitor the need for emergency veterinary intervention. Due to its predisposition to natural disasters, Chilean agencies tasked with emergency response are quick to reach affected areas and effective in meeting the needs of those communities. HSI remains committed to providing our guidance and expertise in these dire situations.
- Disaster Prevention and Preparedness
- Animal Welfare