facing daily the lack of policies and programs that contribute to controlling the dog population and to sensitize the population on the care of the animals.
According to a survey conducted by the SPAT of the year 2015, in the city of Tarija had 71 thousand dogs with home and other 20 thousand that were in situation of street children, orphans or vagabonds. In addition it became known that the day born around 800 dogs, aspect keeps you alert to the humane Society, because it is estimated that these data were increased in the last year.
In that context, the president of the humane Society Tarija (SPAT), Gonzalo Torres, says that the problem of animals is a social issue that involves the whole population, but that many times do not see it that way.
“While we do not devote ourselves to solve this problem for the animals or us to sit down and think of how to do this, we will continue to have people who are bitten by dogs in the street, cases of rabies, we will continue to have garbage bags and broken in the street, packs in the streets, dogs in heat, dogs run over, and even hanged,” he warned.
To observe that despite the existence of laws that regulate the possession, treatment and control of animals, the standards are not met, for “lack of voluntadde the authorities on duty”.
The Country (EP): how long have you been chairing the humane Society of the Tarija?
Gonzalo Torres (GT):I Started at the end of 2005, when the people which at that time belonged to the humane Society, I invite you to a meeting, because of a work he had done in that time. The closure of the old zoo and the opening of a center for the conservation of flora and fauna, which was planted to build in the Park City The Canyons, things that many years after it was achieved, but with many changes of course.
It is because of this work that the humane Society has invited me, and from there I became involved in the Society, the year 2006 was as vice president and in 2007 I assumed the presidency.
EP: In almost ten years of experience What are the positive aspects highlighted in its work in the SPAT?
GT: The positive thing is that you are in contact with many people, with many young people who have a lot of enthusiasm and you have the ability to reach people through lectures that you can take in colleges, polytechnics, institutes and universities in the consistent manner. Year round and that gives the possibility for you to ask questions, since those questions will see the problem from other ángulos.De those people who arrive with talks, some get to be part of our team, we are looking for to be able to help the animals. I think that is one of the positive things.
The other thing is that the SPAT, it not only takes care of dogs and cats, but also farm animal, working, animals in the wild, and is an advocate of the environment.
From that other angle, in the environment, we have been involved in the defence of the Guadalquivir river, in the areas of pollution as the landfill site of Pampa Galana, the lagoons of oxidation, the streams that are being embovedadas and the defense of Tariquía, in which we are quite involved for being a protected area.
EP: What negative aspects are crossed from the SPAT?
GT: The near-impossibility of real power to accomplish something decent for the animal population. For example, we have been planting a municipal law for a long time, that has not been approved. There was a Ordinance 2009, but it is an Ordinance in the first place was modified, cropped by people who have no idea of the animal, the less interest in the animals. They take things and put things in without knowing anything, just for being a council member. Of the negative things I could say that this is one.
On the other hand, one makes the attempt to improve the lives of the animals, and with this also improve the life of the population that lives here with the animals; however, political interests and the mediocrity of many times of those who are in charge of doing something don’t do it.
I believe that among the negative things, despite the fact that the interest that you have, the strength that you have, the constancy, the consequence in your work, in spite of this you see how to continue poisoning of dogs, the dogs are still pushing in the streets and not given a solution.
Despite the fact that we have made so many proposals and projects, everything and nothing. It has been perhaps in a speech by Rodrigo Paz, or in a speech by the “Black Mountains”, we’ve never seen anything shaped because in this town and country it all boils down to an economic benefit or political, I think that is one of the negative things that we can see.
EP: how many people are part of the humane Society Tarija?
GT: We have different types of volunteers. The assets are about 15 between men and womenis, they are the ones that in the event of an accident to the time that is, if is a holiday or not, no matter the circumstances, come to give aid to the animals. They also feed the animals in the five hostels.
Another category of volunteers, are called contingent or transitory, they come up to 20 people, they come when they can, they are in campaigns on the weekends and support them with what they can, although it is not an active presence.
There are the volunteers, honorary, which usually are the ladies that cooperate with us, in reality this cooperation is all about food that they cook para a day of shelter, or a monetary contribution. For example when we need 10 bags of cement we call for volunteers and we say what we need and it covers the requirement or funds that we need.
We have another group who are transients who come just this time of year, they are usually of the colleges, groups of boys about all of the college of San Bernardo, Felipe Palazón and de La Salle who had to do a volunteer, they are organized in tasks with social or environmental, and many of them come to us, to them we give them specific tasks. These groups vary, able to reach in a good year some 70 people, with 25 hours each per month.
There are other volunteers that come a long with specific interests, that are also about 70, such as the Scout, that make the work of obtaining food, clothing, and charitable activities that they do that once a year.
EP: does The SPAT only relies of donations from the volunteer or other contributions?
GT: it is Only volunteer work, starting from the president, until the last volunteer, we all to feed and heal the dogs and cats.
EP: what are The contributions that together can cover the expenses to feed the dogs that are in shelters?
GT: From our pockets not. That’s why we have to do certain activities. Although it is not always possible to cover, that’s why we have some debts.
We spent a month on a budget of about nine thousand bolivians, that between contributions that we receive from people that gives up to 20 pesos monthly, able to that we got about 1500 bolivianos, but the budget is nine thousand, and that deficit is what we pay from our pockets, for the most part. That’s why we do activities to be able to pay the difference of that deficit.
EP: What type of activities do they develop?
GT: we Do everything, except sell meat. We have one day a year is called a Day of Healthy Food, we will make them in July. We do a gig, where we sell something to drink, not much, and vegetarian food that is called Rock Festi; we also have a raffle for Mother’s Day, with many prizes, the cost is 10 bolivianos for which any contact estamosFacebook with SPAT. That’s the occasion to raise funds in the short term.
We have a photo contest, for the first week of June, is a photo contest of selfies that involves making a picture with your dog or cat, the call will be launched this week.
Also, is the permanent campaign of adoption that takes place, every Saturday in the Parque Bolivar at the height of the source of waters dancers, from 10 in the morning until 17 hours.
EP: do people adopt dogs? How the campaign progresses that carry forward?
GT: The people have adopted, calculation each time a little more, are becoming aware with the poor dogs. What take over?. In general, more dogs than cats, that’s because there are more population of dogs in Tarija, to the Park we took between 30 to 40 dogs and between 3 to 10 expenses.
But take little in relation to what they buy, people are opting for to buy dogs. Sadly the population is becoming racist even with animals, if you have a creole, give away or abandon and opt for a pitbull or other breed.
EP: how Many hostels have a SPAT and where are they located?
GT: Are five. We have two in the Miraflores district, one for the center of the neighborhood and the other in the lower part in front of the college de La Salle, one in the neighborhood Moto Méndez, others in the neighborhood, July 4, and one in the Panosas.
EP: how Many dogs huddle in the shelters?
GT: We have a variable number, ranging about 120 to 130 dogs, in addition there are animals that, although it is not our, we have them in our home because of the care they require. I think that the number on our houses are about 30, are dogs that for some reason are volunteers and not in hostels.
For example, now while I speak, I have: five dogs, two hit, a one-eyed and two puppies abandoned. There are other volunteers that have other numbers that are not their own but that they are there in their care by being burned, tortured, etc
EP: do you Have data of how many dogs there are in the city of Tarija?
GT: We did a survey in 2015, perhaps now is greater than the number, there were 71 thousand dogs with home and about 20 thousand that were in the streets, orphans, and vagabonds, but in addition I can show it to whoever in the city of Tarija are born to the day around 800 dogs, ie 240 thousand dogs more or less a year. And that we have discounted all the possibilities of those who have sterilized their dogs, I’ve separated the male from the female.
Of these dogs, we’ve even calculated how many can live because there is not space for both, and we have calculated that 4 percent of those 800 dogs are going to live for a year, that is to say reach adulthood. The rest will die before the year, hanged, run over, poisoned, sick by any disease slight a wound.
Though cruelty has no number, but it is giant, of which we are not only witnesses the tarijeños, but sometimes we are the executioners.
PD: If either from the National Government enacted a Law for the Defence of Animals How These standards are met in Tarija?
GT: Not complying with the law. Not met, or the Law 700, or the Law 553, or Municipal Ordinance 053/2009, does not nothing for lack of will. I think that is the fundamental reason. The politicians, the rulers, the Police and the Prosecution, they had better “a rocket to the animals, that they care about the animals.”
I think that the topic of animals and the environment will gradually go gaining more strength and the neglect of possible, here I mean the politicians, are going to be left as a shrimp that is sleeps.
EP: why states that are not complying with the law?
GT: Law 700, for the Defence of Animals Against Acts of Cruelty and Maltreatment, is an act quite intentional wrong of the side of the government, but despite this it has some things that can be exploited very well for the defence of animals, but not given.
For example: when you go with a complaint, in the event that someone has burned, hanged, run over, mistreated, veined a dog, or in the case of bestiality, the Police don’t serve and you get sent to the office of the Prosecutor, there you say that you go to Zoonosis, when are you going to Zoonoses will return and tell you that you go to the Police. Then the Law 700 happens to be something as well as a salute to the flag.
Why is a law which is ill-intentioned or doubly intentional? because at the same time seeking the welfare of the animals on the one hand, in its first final provision of soon allows all the shamans, callahuayas, healers, continue their ancestral practices to animals. In the second final provision, on lod lucky accidents with animals, if you have an accident and nothing happens, you’re exempted from the law, also expect to the wildlife of the mistreatment, so I think that is wrong.
The Law 553, which regulates the possession of dangerous dogs, for public safety, neither the mayor nor the Police say nothing. Exactly, I have sent a letter to the Police on the subject, to know when are they going to enforce the law that is in the year 2014.
In the case of the Ordinance 053/2009, van eight years of non-compliance. Although the Ordinance says that the City Government should implement a program of sterilization free, permanent and intensive, in addition to conducting a census to know how many dogs and cats we have, an important piece of information because that’s not going to say how many vaccines we need in the vaccination campaigns, but the mayor does not comply.
The Ordinance also says that the Mayor will implement an intensive programme of permanent education and public awareness to achieve public awareness respect to tenure, health and hygiene of the animals, but have never carried out this.
In that enforcement of the laws, if I have to rank from 1 to 100 I would say that goes to zero in Tarija.