The 'Dalmatian Man,' as he is known among locals, is at risk of being evicted for having rescued 42 Dalmatians that he reportedly keeps in and around his modest home located on the outskirts of Chili's capital of Santiago.
Nelson Vergara was inspired by the 1996 Disney movie "101 Dalmatians," the Associated Press reported
"It all started because of that film," the 55-year-old Vergara said. "That was computer-generated. But I wanted to do the real thing."
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Vergara's passion for rescuing Dalmatians is not apparently reflected in the quality of care he is able to provide for the dogs with, according to neighbors who have repeatedly complained to local authorities about the foul smell emanating from his yard. As a result, the 'Dalmatian Man' is reportedly facing eviction by the end of the month.
Presently unemployed, Vergara says he struggles to provide care for the animals, largely depending on donations from others to pay for food for the dogs, many of which had suffered from malnutrition as strays.
Though his rescue effort is targeted to Dalmatians, Vergara says he hopes his actions will set an example to others concerned with animal welfare and bring attention to the growing number of stray dogs throughout Chili.
"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."
According to Humane Society International
, the stray dog problem in Chile is a result of irresponsible owners abandoning their generally unaltered animals to the streets, as well as others allowing their family pets to roam the streets while they're at work, giving way to a rapidly growing stray population.
If Vergara is forced out from his home at the end of the month, it is unclear what will happen to the dogs. As for the 'Dalmatian Man' himself, he might be forced to live out of his van if evicted, which the AP noted is pained all-white with black spots.
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