BOOKS: Los Mutts

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2010:
by Lorraine Chittock
96 pages, paperback. $18.95.
Among the pervasive myths of humane work is that most street
dogs are castoff pets, or are chiefly descended from pets. Though
most street dogs may have some pet or working dog ancestors, most
dogs worldwide have been street dogs for as long as streets have
existed. Globally, most dogs still are street dogs. Even in the
U.S. and Britain, pet dogs have outnmbered street dogs for less than
a century.

The 70-odd photos and accompanying text in Los Mutts document
the realities of street dogs’ lives in Latin America–usually finding
enough to eat, and congenial canine companionship, chiefly in
refuse heaps; befriending receptive humans; and trying to avoid
rabidicos and ordinary dog-haters armed with with traps, guns, and
Los Mutts also details the little known but well-documented
history of how the 16th century Spanish invaders brought havoc to
dogs, as well as to Native Americans. Many tribes ate dogs
sometimes, but the Conquistadores were the most voracious dog-eaters
ever to afflict the New World, and compounded the habit by
butchering Native Americans to feed their imported war dogs a diet of
human flesh. In parts of Latin America the war dog lineage persists
among some of the largest and most dangerous dump dogs discovered by
canine historians.

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