Mexico has more stray animals than any other country in Latin America, and the situation is getting worse.
That’s the warning from INEGI, the federal statistics bureau. They say that stray dogs are growing in number by 20 percent annually.
It is estimated that of the 28 million dogs in Mexico, only 30 percent have an owner.
According to the state Ministry of Health (SSY), more than 50,000 dogs and cats roam the streets in Yucatán. Annually, 2,000 dogs die in the streets of Mérida, an average of five a day. The average life span of a dog on the streets is 15 days.
Dogs run away or are abandoned and usually not sterilized. Lost pets aren’t returned home because they don’t have any type of I.D. or location device.
Stray dogs also affect public health. In Mexico City, for example, it is estimated that 1.2 million dogs live in the streets and produce about 700 tons of feces every day. That is linked to 100 diseases that directly affect the population, according to data published by UNAM.
If the pet survives, it might be rescued by a shelter, but even then adoption is unlikely. Most shelters euthanize their occupants for lack of space.
“We firmly believe that the culture in Mérida is changing and there are more and more responsible owners,” said Fernando Gutiérrez, manager of Follow My Dog, which sells pet tracking devices for 2,000 pesos, a price out of reach for many pet owners in Yucatán.
With information from La Jornada Maya