Community Pets

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During any hour of the day, you’d walk the streets of Havana and find not only people, but animals too. From day one in Cuba, we observed many different mixtures of dogs and cats freely roaming the streets as if they were equal members of their community. And from what I witnessed over the course of our ten day trip, that’s just about what they were.

Unlike in America, there didn’t seem to be a variety in the breeds of dogs. The only noticeable breed that we saw were Dachshund and then German Shepherds which were only seen if there were police dogs around. All the other dogs roaming the streets were mutts that seem to be made up of the same two or three different breeds of dog.

The majority of the dogs in the city seemed to belong to the community, not any particular owner. There were a handful of dogs that noticeable belonged to certain families or individuals. All of the dogs I saw were very malnourished and were covered in flees. They also were pretty battered up. Some of the dogs you could tell had been abused or in fights; they had cuts and patches of fur missing from all over their bodies. They people could hardly support feeding them and their families each month, let alone a pet. I believe this is what led to the large quantity of street animals in Cuba. The lack of consistent income and the price of living gradually got harder to maintain, so people couldn’t afford to have pets and stopped feeding them and let them out on the streets to scavenge for food.

Seeing this abuse every day defiantly pulled at my heart strings because I love animals and it is hard for me to see so many of them suffering like they were. I hope in the near future Cuba’s economy improves so that the dogs and cats of Havana can go back to being pets that are loved, adored, groomed and fed by their owners.

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