In Argentina Dogs Count on Citizen Defenders
Imagine witnessing a police cruiser running over a dog without even stopping! This would be unfathomable here in the Happy Valley of Massachusetts but other places have lots of disposable dogs and authorities that do not care about or put funds towards animals. When man’s best friend becomes a nuisance, a societal shift needs to occur and Cintia Salazar is helping it along one dog and sometimes one complaint at a time.
Failure of leadership on animal protections at the government level has left space for extraordinary citizens like Cintia Salazar, founder of the dog rescue Refugio Zoobrevivientes near Buenos Aires, to take charge at the grassroots. On March 26, 2018, Cintia reported on Facebook about witnessing the dog get hit by the cruiser. She immediately went to the dog’s aid and took him for emergency care and then went one step further by entering a formal complaint against the police themselves. I imagine that nothing will come of it but she made some noise on behalf of the voiceless. It is acts like Cintia’s that put pressure on politicians/institutions to get on the bus and join citizens in moving toward positive change.
Argentina has a dog problem. Many Argentines love dogs but the situation has gotten out of hand as many dogs that eat and sleep with families in homes are also allowed to roam the streets, especially in less affluent areas. As for animals without families, a January 16, 2018 article in Argentine newspaper La Nacion stated that there are currently some 6 million homeless dogs and cats living on the street of Buenos Aires. According to the article these animals have either been abandoned or never had owners. Dogs living on their own tend to eke out an existence by frequenting homes and restaurants where they rely on a kind hand to give them a bite to eat. Their transient existence combined with the high cost of spaying/neutering leads to overpopulation and perilous situations such as getting struck by a car. As some citizens tire of the mess left by nomadic canines, they may harm dogs living in or passing through their neighborhoods.
A taxi driver by trade, Ms. Salazar spends much of her time in the role of Chief Everything Officer of the organization that provides emergency care, rehabilitation and shelter to injured/disabled and abandoned dogs. Currently 87 are under her care but that number is in
constant flux. Cintia offers spay and neuter clinics to the community and many times she doesn’t know if she will have enough money for rent or if there will be enough food for the dogs. To obtain funds she asks for donations, constantly holds raffles and sells candy pertaining to upcoming holidays. Cintia is a force of change, a leader who drives a taxi because she refuses to wait for the bus.
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