Our time in Valparaiso highlighted a cultural factor we have experienced in South America so far, but especially in Chile.
They are everywhere. They are all shapes and sizes, they are in varying states of scruffiness, and in our experience they are all harmless.
It appears that the “A dog is for life, not for Christmas” is not a message that has been heard around this continent, and that generally the street dogs appear to be older dogs no longer wanted by their owners.
They run round and chase things as demonstrated in Puerto Natales. They also lie down and sleep almost anywhere, it is not uncommon to have to step over them to get into a shop or just when walking along the pavement. We also witnessed them boarding the trains in Buenos Aires and the funiculars in Valparaiso.
Attempts are made to control them apparently. There are some patrols that will pick them up if they are obviously stray, but locals take to them and put collars on them to stop this and leave bowls of water etc out.
In Valparaiso itself the issue is one that UNESCO have highlighted as an issue and the authorities are making further attempts to reduce their number.
We kind of liked them and took a few pictures. We particularly liked the two sat on the steps intently listening to our “free tour” and according to Alavar they follow the tour twice a day without fail (much to his annoyance).