Helping Dogs and People in Chile

Dogs are everywhere in the Chilean tourist town of Puerto Natales. They can recognize a visitor from blocks away, and will trail people in an impromptu pack. What’s more, the town has one of the highest rates of hydatid disease in the world. This parasitic disease is transmitted from dogs to humans causing cysts to grow on their organs. In some cases, it is fatal.

Together with the Global Alliance for Animals and People (GAAP), Latin America Regional Office, IFAW is working to improve the health and well-being of dogs and people in the city. Like many communities around the world, Puerto Natales has been struggling with its dog problems for many years, but its work with IFAW and GAAP has brought new hope. IFAW’s collaborative approach has engaged new stakeholders within the community, established shared goals, and created genuine excitement about new efforts to develop humane, relevant and long-lasting dog management solutions for their community.

Stakeholders included representatives from the local government, departments of health and agriculture, social and animal organizations, local veterinarians and dog owners. In Puerto Natales, several participants entered IFAW’s first workshop very skeptical, but the facilitated process brought people together, allowing them to have conversations and work with fellow community members in ways they’d never done before.

Through IFAW’s process, local stakeholders have explored the problems faced by people and dogs in their community, and the connection between human and animal health and well-being. Using community data as well as the results of public surveys, they have created a human plan tailored to the community’s specific needs.

Proud of the hard work, compassion and dedication demonstrated by the people of Puerto Natales, IFAW looks forward to supporting their plan in the years to come.

Our work in Puerto Natales is a part of IFAW’s Clinton Global Initiative commitment, called Humane Communities: Security, Health and Animal Welfare. As part of the CGI commitment, IFAW will regularly report on progress toward measurable outcomes for this project.