The street animal problem is not a new problem. However, it’s only until now when governments seem to be understanding the seriousness of the issue and the need to find sustainable solutions for this problem. The situation in Colombia is not different. During the course of 2017, 239 cases of animal abuse and 64 cases of abandonment were reported.
In Bogotá, close to 90 thousand dogs are in a non-confinement situation. This means that they are dogs that do not have a roof at night (a place to sleep). Of this number, about 9 thousand are in absolute neglect.
Between 2010 and 2016 an approximate of 17.023 animals were sacrificed in Bogotá.
In 2010, 9,650 dogs and 2,367 abandoned cats were registered in the Colombian capital.
It is necessary that citizens protect pets and to encourage children to see the importance of caring for animals.
The Alma Perruna Foundation was born on July 24, 2015. That day marked the life of Carolina García.
She realized that in Bogota’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, millions of dogs and cats roam the streets, without an owner, without food, without shelter and trying to survive. Surviving is an almost impossible task.
These animals are forced to look for food in the garbage, dig in holes, drink water from the pipes and let themselves be carried away by their instinct for survival, they do what they need to do in order to survive.
How it all began
Unfortunately, it is a reality of neglect, abuse and total indifference that is not known, it motivated Garcia to start this foundation.
The first rescue was Noah. This dog was in the Paraíso neighborhood of Ciudad Bolívar.
Noah had no hair, raw skin, all his limbs where swollen, swollen on all his limbs, he couldn’t see because of the skin that fell over his face.
A really strong odor came out of his body, in his eyes you could see the pain. He looked tired, exhausted, beaten by life.
Laura Viera A: What did you feel at that moment?
Carolina García: Well, Noah was the puppy that woke up the deepest feelings in my heart. I chased him for three hours until I was able to rescue him.
While trying to rescue Noah, García found out that thousands like him roamed the streets. Naturally, that gave her chills. Just thinking about the suffering that these dogs lived every day. That gave her the determination that was lacking at some point. It became cristal clear that someone had to do something for them: “those who do not have a voice”.
Laura Viera A: How was the process of starting Fundación Alma Perruna?
Carolina García: It was not easy to start, but my dad always said “Carolina, if you want to do something, do your best or donor do it at all”. I made all the legal documents and inquiries to begin with how it had to be, “a legally constituted company” and that’s how I started.
We dream of a future where selling dogs is totally forbidden and people know that giving love to a dog or cat is the greatest satisfaction of the human heart, we dream of making a difference.
She knew the work had to be done with love.
García knew that she could have a specific amount of puppies. It was clear that we could not fill up with dogs because it wasn’t going to be useful.
Moreover, she knew that sterilizing in the most vulnerable neighborhoods of Bogotá would be the only way to contribute effectively to the situation that our dogs and cats have.
Many people look at stray animals and see them as a nuisance. But they have feelings and they have had a brutal and painful life. And this traumatic life is because of the actions of people.
Because of different reasons, it has been noted that during the second and third month after an adoption, pets are being abandoned.
So, control is needed. But this is something that does not exist. As a result, the overpopulation of stray animals affects human health. There is greater exposure to diseases such as rabies and contact with dog feces that transmit more than 10 parasitic diseases.
Something that is very important to keep on mind is that when a person acquires a pet, he seeks to satisfy one of the following:
2. relieve depression
3. reduce stress
4. increase the sense of responsibility.
A lot has changed since the foundation fist started helping.
There are five employees and up to now 151 puppies have been rescued from the street.
All rescues have been delivered for adoption. In addition to this, 1431 sterilisation have been carried out in neighborhoods such as Usme, Soacha and Ciudad Bolívar.
Today, the Foundation performs 100 sterilisation per month, but the goal is to carry out daily work throughout Colombia. The idea is that through sterilization campaigns the massive reproduction of cats and dos is diminished.
Laura Viera A: What would you like to happen in the future?
Carolina García: Ahhh … we dream of a better tomorrow, we dream of a government delivered from head to toe for massive sterilisation days every day, we dream of being the allied hand of all the entities that seek to help.
Laura Viera A: What are the objectives they have?
Carolina García: There are several. Give puppies the best quality of life by placing them in the best homes. Make rescues at least once a month in the most vulnerable localities of Bogotá and provide the best veterinary service for all rescues.
Laura Viera A: What is the importance of adopting?
Carolina García: Simple, to adopt, not only helps with the population reduction rate in the streets, but also contributes to the end of the business of animal exploitation for profit.
On December 2, the Congress of the Republic of Colombia approved Law 172 “law against animal abuse”. This law punishes and toughens sanctions for those who mistreat or torture animals in the country.
Thanks to this law people who incur “harmful acts and cruelty against the animals described in this Law” may be punished with economic penalties. Fines ranging from 50 to 60 current legal minimum monthly wages, this could be about 39 million of pesos. There will also be prison sentences ranging from 12 to 36 months and an inability up to 3 years to perform work related to animals.
In a city where there is no animal treatment equality and equality no concern for granting them a decent life, Alma Perruna Foundation is a bacon of light.
It focuses directly on the root problem, conducting monthly sterilization days to change reality in vulnerable locations in Bogotá.
We dream of leaving a mark and that everyone knows that behind a desk were millions of people struggling and working every day to see a different future.
We must all be aware that overburdened shelters take in many stray, abused, neglected and lost animals every year. When people adopt an animal, you’re making room for others. As a consequence, you are giving more animals a second chance.
It is clear that to have a pet you have to dedicate time, that you must deliver love and you must face a series of food and veterinary costs that not everyone can take on. Being honest, if a person believes that he can’t take care of his pet and offer him a good quality of life, then he should not have pets! Pets, and in this case dogs, are a great company and deserve our care, love and respect. They can’t talk but with their look and devotion they express the love they feel for people.