The Argentine city that organized to help its animal protectors

Buenos Aires, May 8.- Quarantine sets limits for the exits of all people. However, stray animals have no home to confine themselves to and continue to roam the streets of cities like Argentina's Río Grande, in which local government and neighbors have teamed up to help the protectors deal with the situation.

Animals abandoned in the street are one of the main problems of the town, according to the undersecretary of Citizen Management of Río Grande, Diego Radwanitzer, one of those responsible for building a solidarity network for the pandemic that, in less than ten days, gathered more than 1,000 kilos of food and other hygiene supplies for the protectors.

Despite the fact that the population varies frequently, Radwanitzer highlights in an interview with Efe that in the last census of the city, located in the province of Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost in the country, it was calculated that there were approximately 50,000 cats and 50,000 dogs in front of 120,000 inhabitants.

That is, almost one pet per person, which generates problems when the owners are not responsible.


Despite the few infections caused by coronaviruses, the quarantine has been in force in Río Grande for a month and a half, making it difficult for the protectors to act.

For weeks there were no castrations, which will mean that there are more puppies to look for a home. Also, animals keep coming, but adoptions are slower.

The Protective Animal Guard assures that the pandemic paralyzed everything.

"Nothing can be done," regrets its president, Graciela Cornejo, who, in her ten years of working in the municipality, has found a family for more than 1,500 animals and cared for even a condor in the organization.

Currently, Animal Guard houses 87 dogs and 25 cats that are distributed among different volunteer houses, including that of Cornejo itself.

In the same situation is Lorena Silva, of the protector "I love animals RG", who had to postpone her interview with Efe to pick up five abandoned greyhound cubs in the open.

She explains that she can only go out twice a week, making it difficult for adoptions and collecting animals.

Currently, he cares for 17 dogs waiting for family at home, to which must be added others that are in transit homes.

Silva highlights the solidarity of the neighbors who, not only participated in the donation, but also, each time the protector publishes on social networks, offer help and share messages to find adopters.


On the one hand, Radwanitzer blames the previous Executive for leaving the area that deals with animal health, but also puts another part of the burden on the shoulders of his neighbors.

"It is a cultural and educational battle (for) that the neighbor and the neighbor understand that (...) one has to be responsible for their pet and walk it properly," says the official, who says that some neighbors simply open the door and the dog goes out to relieve himself unsupervised.

Bitten children, broken garbage bags and cleaning staff who are threatened by dogs, fights between animals ... The problem derived from this lack of supervision of pets is multiple.

To improve the situation, the local government works with the protectors to resume castrations in an orderly manner, says Radwanitzer.

For his part, Cornejo says that in the ten years that his protector has been working, he has seen a great evolution in his treatment of pets.

Silva shares this opinion, but stresses that at the same time it is necessary to continue reporting because harmful habits for animals persist: feeding pets with leftovers, walking without leashes, uncollected excrement ...


There is also another problem that is not stopped by a virus: abuse. Both Animal Guard and I Love Animals RG work with beings attacked by their owners or who, after suffering a mishap, were abandoned to their fate.

For example, Silva cares for a blind poodle she found on the street and a dog who was abandoned by the vet after being run over and unable to fend for herself.

Therefore, it is important not to paralyze adoptions, since if there are too many animals, you cannot take proper care of them.

Cornejo especially remembers Valiente, a dog he found one Christmas and who had been burned with hot water and had his ears cut off. After eight months recovering, he was adopted by a family with whom he continues to live "happy with life."

The president of Animal Guard is tough on the abusers she is pursuing in court, although she has not yet obtained a criminal conviction against them.

This absence of convictions leads her "regrettably" to be forced to resort to other means such as social "escraches", which makes "cowards", as she calls them, afraid of her protector, she says.

The start of the castrations and the donations of their neighbors will ease the protectors until the end of the quarantine, when the inhabitants of Río Grande will be able to go home and perhaps return with an animal that needs a new home.

José Manuel Rodríguez


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