Photo Feature by Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — World Animal Day was celebrated this past Sunday, October 4. In Caracas, hundreds of people rallied next to their pets to demand respect for animal rights.

The rally began at Bolivar Square to the sound of rock music. Surrounded by dogs, cats, turtles and other species, we walked merrily down to the Los Caobos Park, the only park in town that has no restrictions in terms of pets.

Though animal mistreatment is not uncommon in the city, I have always marveled at the number of people willing to help stray animals. It’s common for the owners of small stores to adopt one or more street dogs or cats and for them to feed them on a daily basis.

There are a number of non-profit organizations that also look after animals. Two years ago, the Mision Nevado (which I enthusiastically wrote about here) was founded and has been offering free medical services for animals in the capital and other states since.

At Los Caobos, father Numa invoked Saint Francis of Assisi before offering his blessing to the animals, whose representatives euphorically came together to receive the “holy water.”Nevado and Joropo, two Mucuchies dogs (the only Venezuelan breed in existence) were there, enormous and highly territorial dogs who proved as tender and playful as pups.

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