People often ask us whether we think that mandatory dog registration would be one of the solutions to free-roaming dogs in Chile. Our answer has always been “yes”, but it now comes with a big BUT. Let me explain! Take the Chilean driving regulations as an example. I recently began to study the transit and driving laws to renew my Chilean driving license. The laws are all explained one-by-one in a 50 page manual, and I noticed that they are very similar to the ones we have in Canada (i.e., drive on the right side of the road and never under the influence), except for a few things like “seat belts are only mandatory for people sitting in the front seat”. That gives new meaning to the phrase “shot gun”! Anyways, what is really interesting, and often frustrating, about laws and regulations in a developing country like Chile, is that we find that here “rules are really made to be broken” and nobody seems to really care that they are there in the first place. Here are a few pictures to illustrate what I am referring to:
Like in Canada, in Chile, it is against the law to park in front of a fire hydrant, but do people respect it? Can you imagine doing this in Canada?
Also, in Chile one is ONLY allowed to park pointing in one direction,but, what does the evidence show?
Additionally, according to the law one cannot park within 10 meters of a corner, but I guess one can argue which corner?
Like these, there are many more examples. J-walking is an art! You have the “diagonal”, and the “I dare you to drive me over” crossing, just to name a couple.
BUT the biggest question of them all is; wouldn´t people get into trouble and be afraid that their vehicles would be towed away? To top it all, here is a picture of a street with a NO PARKING sign right next to a local police station (green sign in the background that says “recinto de carabineros”).
To make a long story short, Chileans are known for what they call “finding the fifth leg on a cat” (looking for ways to bend the rules). I think that in today´s society, it is often not a matter of bending the rules anymore, but instead avoiding them all together.
So getting back to implementing dog registration bylaws; even though registration is one of the most widely agreed upon solutions to battling irresponsible ownership and free-roaming dogs, understanding the perceptions of the people towards the issue will continue to be one of our number one goals.