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Not ‘like family’ after all (Part 1): Impoverished Venezuelans are abandoning their ‘pets’

People are being forced to choose their priorities, and dogs for the most part aren't one of them.

RACHELLE KRYGIER: ‘If life in Venezuela has become hard for humans, it has become even harder for many ‘pets’. With inflation soaring toward 1 million percent, dog food and veterinary care have spiraled out of reach for millions of people… The result, animal specialists say, has been an exploding population of abandoned dogs on the streets and rising numbers in underfunded shelters.

Although there are no reliable national figures on the phenomenon, officials from eight shelters in the capital, Caracas, said they had seen a roughly 50 percent rise in the number of pets left at their facilities this year. At the same time, pet adoptions have a dropped by as much as a third, they said.

“People are being forced to choose their priorities, and dogs for the most part aren’t one of them,” said Esmeralda Larrosa, owner of the Kauna Animal Foundation, a Caracas shelter. Her facility, she said, is now struggling to feed its 125 dogs – including 15 that arrived within the previous two weeks. “The rise in abandonment we are seeing is simply crazy”… Every day is incredibly sad,” said Aida Lopez Mendez, 53, one of the shelter’s owners. “We never thought the situation could get so tragic”.’ SOURCE…

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