LA PAZ – More than 300,000 abandoned dogs live on the streets of Bolivia, a country of 10 million inhabitants, officials said.
The expert in animal-transmitted infections at the Bolivian Health Ministry, Grover Paredes, said in a statement to state news agency ABI that there are 300,000 stray dogs in the country and urged that the “indiscriminate sale” of animals be controlled to put an end to that situation.
The official issued his statement on the eve of “Day of the Dog,” which is held every Aug. 16 in Bolivia in honor of St. Roch, their patron saint.
According to Paredes, in Bolivia there are also another 2.5 million canines that have owners.
The official finds the situation of dogs exposed to the elements without shelter “worrying,” because they go hungry, suffer through the bad weather and contract illnesses like rabies.
“The municipalities have to impose regulations so those people (street vendors) stop selling dogs,” he said.
The packs of dogs that wander the streets and feed on whatever they find in the garbage are a typical sight in Bolivian cities like La Paz, though the dogs are not usually aggressive toward people.
In Bolivia it is also a common practice for domestic dogs to spend the day on the street and return home to their owners at night to eat and sleep.