(DOGS/ANIMAL WELFARE) Move over Cruella de Vil! It looks like the Chilean police are the new villains in town! Authorities are threatening to evict Nelson Vergara for opening up his home to 42 Dalmatians. After watching the 1996 movie 101 Dalmatians, the ‘Dalmatian Man,’ as he’s called in Chile, was inspired to take care of as many dogs as he could. But unlike most people who just fantasize about such good intentions, he actually did it, and brought the pups home to live in his backyard.
Now because of neighbors’ complaints, municipal officials may evict the 55-year-old man by the end of the month. According to the Humane Society, there are millions of stray dogs in Chile thanks to careless guardians who rarely spay or neuter their pets. Vergara just wants to raise awareness so other Chileans can help save these strays and find a solution to the canine problem. If this was a Disney movie Vergara would be the one living happily ever after and the neglectful caretakers would be the ones being punished. How would your story end? Read on for more on Nelson Vergara and share your thoughts in the comments section below. — Global Animal
Nestor Vergara, 55, pets one of his 42 Dalmatians in the backyard of his modest home, in Padre Hurtado, a town on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile. His neighbors constantly complain about the foul smell coming from his yard, and municipal officials have threatened to evict him by the end of the month. Vergara says he only wants to set an example and raise consciousness so other Chileans can help in saving the growing number of stray dogs.
Nestor Vergara pets one of his 42 Dalmatians in the backyard of his modest home on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile. Officials threaten to evict him, but Vergara says he only wants to raise consciousness so other Chileans will help in saving the growing number of stray dogs. Photo credit: AP, Luis Hidalgo

The Associated Press, Mauricio Cuevas

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — In Chile, he’s known to many people as the “Dalmatian Man.”

Chile's 'Dalmatian Man' was inspired to rescue stray dogs by the 1996 film "101 Dalmatians."/Photo credit: hqmoviesbox.com
Chile’s ‘Dalmatian Man’ was inspired to rescue stray dogs by the 1996 film “101 Dalmatians.” Photo credit: hqmoviesbox.com

After watching the 1996 Disney movie “101 Dalmatians,” Nelson Vergara began fantasizing about rescuing and taking care of as many dogs as possible. Today, 42 Dalmatians live in the backyard of his modest home on the outskirts of the Chilean capital.

“It all started because of that film,” said Vergara, 55. “That was computer-generated. But I wanted to do the real thing.”

That has him in trouble with the authorities. Neighbors constantly complain about the foul smell coming from his yard, and municipal officials have threatened to evict him by the end of the month.

Vergara says he only wants to set an example and raise consciousness so other Chileans can help in saving the growing number of stray dogs.

Free-roaming dogs number in the millions in Chile, a situation the country’s Humane Society has called alarming. Dog owners rarely spay or neuter their pets and commonly leave them outside when they go to work. Many dogs roam the streets all day.

Some of the animals he has rescued from the street suffer from malnutrition, and the unemployed Vergara mostly feeds them through donations.

“I wanted to help – not just the Dalmatians but all dogs, because in Chile we need a solution to the canine problem,” Vergara said. “Every day you see news of abandoned dogs roaming, but no one does anything about it. If we had a shelter, we wouldn’t have these kinds of problems.”

Vergara’s love for Dalmatians goes beyond his home. He drives a white van painted in black spots.

More Associated Press: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LT_CHILE_DALMATIAN_MAN?SITE

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