What About Street Dogs?

by Mary Haight on July 26, 2009

Last year there was a stunning video of a Chilean street dog who crossed onto a major highway to save the life of another dog hit by a car. Take a look below if you need a refresher. You can see the dog dodged 60 mph traffic while using his forelegs to scoot the critically wounded dog through traffic. Perhaps he or she had no teeth, or maybe the injured dog had a broken neck, but it made for quite a spectacle. The video went global.

A major search for the hero dog, dubbed “Samaritan”, was launched. Vanessa Schultz, a documentary filmmaker in Oregon, thought this would make a great story. One thing led to another, and while Samaritan was never found, Schultz found a bigger story in Chile. 

Around 250,000 dogs live on the streets, starving, beaten, poisoned as a nuisance… forgotten. Schultz’s film “The Lost Dogs” looks at the people who try to help street dogs and educate the public with no assistance from a disinterested government.

After the volcano eruption in northern Patagonia in 2008, Schultz flew home with seven dogs to try to find adopting families. To raise awareness, a teenager in Santiago has started a movement to declare today, July 26, “World Street Dog Day” 161,700 people have signed on. to his facebook page. Take a look at the trailer for “The Lost Dogs“, and read more of Jimmy Langman’s report at Tonic here.

This problem is widespread. There are millions of street dogs in Thailand, 300,000 in Moscow, Italy has seen street dog attacks against people rise, Buddhist Bhutan is suffering a public health crisis unable to afford to fix their street dogs, although Humane Society International arrived recently and is performing spay/neuter surgeries. Turkey, Greece, China, Iraq, Iran, India, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Taiwan, Peru all have serious problems. This list is by no means definitive. New reports seem to surface often.  I wonder, will anyone lead an international coordinated effort to stem the tide, or will it be each to his own?

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