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Panama – Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

Panama, a country located in Central America, is known for its rich biodiversity and natural beauty. The country’s diverse flora and fauna make it a popular destination for tourists and animal enthusiasts. However, with the increase in human activities and tourism, there have been concerns raised about animal welfare in the country. This article aims to explore the prevailing attitude towards animals and pets in Panama, the laws regarding pet ownership, major animal charities, pet supply stores, and cultural taboos associated with different types of animals.

Prevailing Attitude towards Animals and Pets in Panama

Panama has a relatively positive attitude towards animals and pets, with many households owning pets. Dogs and cats are the most common pets in the country, with many families considering them as part of their family. In addition, many Panamanians are aware of the importance of wildlife conservation and the need to protect the environment.

However, like in many other countries, there are issues of animal cruelty and neglect. Some people keep pets without providing them with proper care, leading to health issues and sometimes death. Stray animals are also common in the streets, especially in urban areas. These issues have prompted the government and animal welfare organizations to take action to improve animal welfare in the country.

Pet Ownership in Panama

In Panama, there are laws that govern pet ownership, and failure to adhere to these laws can result in penalties. The country’s animal protection law, known as Law 70, outlines the requirements for pet ownership. According to the law, pets should be registered with the local municipality, and owners should ensure they are well-cared for and provided with proper shelter, food, and veterinary care.

The law also prohibits animal cruelty, including neglect, abandonment, and mistreatment. It also sets out penalties for those who break the law, including fines, imprisonment, and community service. However, there have been concerns raised about the enforcement of these laws, with some people getting away with animal cruelty.

Major Animal Charities in Panama

Several animal charities operate in Panama, working to improve animal welfare in the country. These organizations provide a range of services, including rescue and rehabilitation, education, and advocacy. Here are some of the major animal charities in Panama:


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1. Panamá Animal League

Panamá Animal League is a non-profit organization that works to improve the welfare of animals in Panama. The organization runs a shelter that provides care and rehabilitation for abandoned and abused animals. It also offers educational programs to raise awareness about animal welfare and the importance of spaying and neutering pets.

2. Fundación Adopta

Fundación Adopta is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce the number of stray animals in Panama through adoption and spaying and neutering programs. The organization also provides medical care for animals and runs a shelter where animals can receive temporary care until they are adopted.

3. FANLYC

FANLYC is a non-profit organization that works to protect animals in Panama. The organization provides veterinary care for animals in need and runs adoption and educational programs. It also advocates for animal welfare and works with the government to improve animal protection laws.

Pet Supply Stores in Panama

There are several pet supply stores in Panama that cater to the needs of pet owners. These stores offer a wide range of products such as food, toys, bedding, and grooming supplies for pets. Some of the commonly available pet supply stores in Panama are:

  • Petland: This is a chain of pet stores in Panama that offers a variety of pet products such as food, toys, accessories, and grooming supplies. They also have an online store where customers can purchase products and have them delivered to their homes.

  • PetCo Panama: This is another chain of pet stores that offers a wide range of products for pets such as food, toys, and grooming supplies. They also offer veterinary services and have an online store for customers to purchase products.

  • PetSmart Panama: This is a popular pet store that offers products such as food, toys, and grooming supplies for pets. They also offer training classes for dogs and have an online store for customers to purchase products.

  • Mascotas Express: This is an online pet store that offers a wide range of pet products such as food, toys, accessories, and grooming supplies. They offer free delivery for orders over a certain amount.

  • PetBox Panama: This is an online pet store that offers a subscription service for pet owners. Customers can choose from a variety of plans that offer a monthly delivery of pet products such as food, toys, and grooming supplies.

Cultural Sensitivities to Animals in Panama

In Panama, there are no cultural taboos or sensitivities associated with different types of animals. However, it is important to note that hunting certain species of animals is illegal in Panama, such as jaguars and pumas. Additionally, some indigenous communities in Panama have traditional practices that involve the use of animals, such as the Embera people who use live animals in their healing rituals. It is important to respect these practices and understand their cultural significance.


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