Pet Dogs Starve to Death on Streets of Venezuela as Socialist Regime Verges
The food crisis has forced Venezuelans, unable to feed even their own families, to abandon their pet pedigree dogs on the streets to starve to death.
The country, run a hard-line left-wing government, has been ravaged by a food crisis and the nation’s worst ever economic recession.
Much of the city has been hit by riots and crime as people turn to desperate measures to survive.
In recent months, a rise of emaciated dogs has been seen lining the public streets, with their ribs exposed through their skin.
Food prices have skyrocketed in the country, already beset by the world’s biggest inflation rate.
Dog food more than double than what one earns in a month.
Many family dogs have been packed into makeshift shelters or left to scavenge the streets.
A shelter in Los Teques, just outside of the capital, has recently been swamped with hundreds of scrawny dogs, dying of gruesome starvation.
Maria Arteaga, 53, who founded the volunteer-run centre, said: “The crisis has hit hard.
“People are abandoning their dogs because they can’t afford food and because they’re leaving the country.”
She said that new dogs arrive every few hours including rare pedigrees that in any other country would be sold for a high price.
Carlos Parra, who has seen her pet albino boxer, Nina, turn into a skeletal figure, said: “It’s terrible to sit and eat, see them watching me with hunger, and not be able to do anything.”
Veterinarian Angel Mancilla, who runs a local animal shelter, added: “We’re crying every day. You leave each day feeling traumatized.
“Sometimes we go to bed with empty stomachs. It’s really hard.”
Venezuelans, suffering from a third year in a row of recession, are experiencing life-threatening shortages of food and medicine.
Many workers’ salaries have been wrecked by triple-digit inflation.
A 20-kilogram bag of dog food costs $30 on the black market, nearly double its price in the United States, and out of reach for many in the country, where the minimum wage is $14 per month.
Pet shops have warned that they are struggling to stock shelves with food and medicine.
One resident, Maria Rodriguez, 33, said she came across a stray dog and her 12-year-old son begged her to keep it to accompany the family’s border collie.
Mrs Rodriguez said: “Sadly our income isn’t enough for us to eat, so how can I give food to two or three dogs?”
Katty Quintas, director of the Animal and Environment Protection Foundation, said pet owners are abandoning cats and dogs “not because they don’t want them” but “because now the problem is how to feed them.”
Zoo animals have also suffered from the food shortages, when 50 residents died from hunger in a large Caracas zoo in July.
The government has blamed the left-wing regime’s opposition, saying they were creating idea “that Venezuela is a country where even the animals are starving and that is completely not true.”
By Oli Smith
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