In Venezuela, pet owners can’t afford food for their dog – or themselves – Euronews English

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The crisis in Venezuela has plunged millions of people into poverty and spurred mass migration on an unprecedented scale.

But there are also unexpected victims of the crisis — the nation’s pets.

According to Voluntarios Proteccionistas, an animal rescue non-profit, there are currently more than 3 million stray dogs roaming the streets of Venezuela.

“The crisis has forced people to leave the country and abandon their pets. Others simply abandon them because they can no longer afford to feed them,” Alicia Velasco Viso, the president of the non-profit, told Euronews.

Velasco explained that a standard bag of dog food can cost €44 while the average salary is €5 per month, making it impossible for many to keep their pet.

Levels of poverty have become so acute that some people now hunt dogs and cats in order to feed themselves.

“Pets need humanitarian aid, too,” Velasco said.

Her case highlights the efforts made by the country’s animal lovers to care for pets in spite of extreme conditions, even if she admits it is not easy.

“I take care of 17 dogs and 8 cats,” she said, ”but then I also have my family to take care of.”

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