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Venezuela is in a state of crisis. Prices for everyday necessities have skyrocketed. And that includes the things people need to feed their animals: dog food can fetch up to $50 (£38.50) for a 40lb bag. According to Reuters, average Venezuelans on minimum wage are pulling in $23 a month. The maths is pretty obvious, with wages that low, it is difficult for people to afford the daily necessities for themselves, let alone their pets. And so Venezuela is now experiencing an increase in dogs being abandoned by their owners.
Venezuelans are dropping their dogs off in streets and parks. But there are also makeshift shelters where people can leave their pets. Maria Arteaga oversees one of these shelters – Famproa in Los Teques, in the hills outside Caracas – and has seen the rise in abandoned dogs. Arteaga told Reuters: “The crisis has hit hard…people are abandoning their dogs because they can’t afford food and because they’re leaving the country.” Although Arteaga doesn’t keep an official register of the number of dogs her shelter has been taking in, she says that there has definitely been an increase, with nine poodles being deposited at her shelter in just two weeks.