San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Concerned about Street Dogs

Dear Nica Times:

When we were in Costa Rica recently, my wife and I joined a day tour to Nicaragua.We were impressed by the friendliness of the people, and the general sense of tranquility and hopefulness.

But despite all we saw, the one thing that struck us most powerfully was the condition of the dogs roaming the town square. They were tragically skinny and sick, disoriented from illness and hunger.

One dog had such a bad case of mange that he had almost no fur left.

When I bought him food from a vendor, I had to tear it into little bits because he had no teeth to chew with.

And not only were we affected by the sight of the dogs, but also by the total indifference of the citizens to the animals’ plight. Kids ran and played, adults chatted while the dogs weaved around them and passed out.

Now, I know what you must be thinking – typical North Americans to be concerned with the dogs and not the human beings. But that isn’t so.We went to Nicaragua to help out the tourism, and I know that my wife and I gave a lot of money and food to the locals.

If you want to increase tourism by North Americans, word of mouth has got to be positive, and it won’t be as long as tourists are more stricken with the state of the dogs than the people or scenery. You have to play to the sentiments of the tourists. So consideration has to be given to this issue as a matter of commerce.

You have three choices that I can see: 1) euthanize the dogs humanely; 2) have the government send a vet to treat them and feed them, and/or; 3) have kids sell dog food by the cup to tourists.

If the kids sell dog food, they will actually have a product people will buy.

And by allowing tourists to feed the animals, you’re giving us the sense that we are doing something to help. After all, North Americans like nothing better than feeling like they’ve helped a situation while putting out very little effort.

To start things off, I’d be glad to donate some money to stock up on some dog food as a pilot project that kids can draw from.

Steven Kerzner

Toronto, Canada


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