Aug 30, 2008

Limitations on dog ownership

This week the city of Jesus Maria announced a limit of one dog per apartment and 2 dogs per house. People are outraged.

It's easy to understand the outrage of the people, and it's also easy (for me) to understand the city's position on limiting the number of dogs per household. There is a $250 fine for those discovered to have more than the allowed number of dogs.

I know most people here love their dogs. Many depend on their dogs for company. But they also have a terrible habit of putting the dogs out when they go to work, to the store, or go visiting for the day. I understand that, too. When I lived in the US, I always put my dogs outside when I went to work. An unsupervised dog in the house can become bored and develop irritating, destructive, and disruptive habits if left alone for hours. But the difference is that I had a fenced back yard for my dogs to play in while I was working. (For the record, Celeste has a comfy crate that she spends her unsupervised time in, with chew toys and her favorite fuzzy sleeping toys.) Few people here have a yard or garden that the dog can spend time in, so they turn the dog out into the street for the day. The consequence is that dogs are often lost, hit by cars, or taken in by other people. This leads to loud and long complaints by the owner who feels that he has been wronged. It also leads to huge mobs of dogs roaming the streets, getting into fights, and causing mischief, and loads of unwanted puppies (neutering is not a common practice here in Peru.) People all over the city complain that they can't live in peace because of the noise of barking dogs in the street.

Now there are long and loud complaints about the limitations being set by the city.

I sympathize with both sides. I know it will be heart wrenching to have to choose which dog to keep and which dog or dogs to get rid of. Some people have an amazing number of dogs...8, 10, or 12 dogs in their homes. I also know that the courts are filled with disgruntled dog owners who have turned their dogs out into the street for the day and discovered that the neighbors have "stolen" them and won't give them back. However, it is not uncommon to see sick and dying dogs in the streets, and I often think that if their owners cared one iota, the poor things would be home, at least in a familiar place instead of lying alone on the sidewalk.

Most of all, I sympathize with the dogs. I suspect many people will simply solve their problem of too many dogs by turning the excess dogs into the street. I imagine there will be a dog pound in Jesus Maria's not too distant future.


Iron Needles said...

Your blog provides fascinating insights for me into another culture. I am so glad to have discovered you. It must be truly intriguing to make the adaptation.

wildtomato said...

This is heartbreaking. Poor dogs! However, like you, I can see both sides. Still, this transition period is going to be a sad one.