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Jamaican Dogs

Unless you’ve traveled to other developing countries you might not know about some of the animals there. I hate to post about anything negative but there’s a harsh reality about dogs in Jamaica that probably won’t sit well with you, especially if you’re a dog-lover.

Picture of a dog in Jamaica

Picture of a dog in Jamaica

All the dogs I’m picturing in this post are pets of people in Jamaica, but the sad truth is that the mass majority of dogs there are stray and no one owns them. They are not healthy and its not a good idea to pet the ones in the street due to their poor health and whatever they might be infested with.

doggie 1

Its also not a good idea to approach the street dogs since you don’t know what their temperament will be like. Its not like a stray dog you might find at home, who’s probably used to humans and at one time had a home. There’s not much for pet population control in Jamaica and most of the dogs are born in the streets and stay there until …… I don’t even want to say it.

negril dogs

Jamaicans think its weird that us foreigners keep dogs in our homes and sometimes in our beds and on our furniture. IF a Jamaican happens to own a dog, its a yard dog and it never enters the house. It gets fed table scraps, and in rare cases it actually gets dog food. And they can be friendly and affectionate like any other pet dog. But still they probably don’t have veterinary care and it just remains a yard dog.

I have my own dog back home and she’s treated like one of the family, spoiled to death as one would expect. That’s why it breaks my heart to see all the street dogs in Jamaica, hanging around garbages and supermarkets to catch a scrap of food for the day. My first instinct is to throw it some food but they advise against it or the dog won’t stop following you. Another heart breaker is occassionally you’ll see one dead in the street, most likely hit by a car.


Like I said, I HATE to post something negative and sad but its a reality in Jamaica and it’s good to be prepared. Its hard to ignore the street dogs because we know them as good natured, loyal and affectionate animals.

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  1. those are some nice lookin jamaican dogs compared to the ones i seen last week!!! honestly as terrified as I am of animals when im here at home when i go to the island its so different. u do feel bad cuz the dogs out there are so shy and scared of you and getting hurt. all they want is a likkle food:(

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  2. Yea its really sad in my opinion. I actually just try to turn my head the other way when I see one looking for food cuz I can’t stand to see them scrounging for food.

    PS: The dogs in my post are all pets, they’re really well taken care of.

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  3. That is really sad to know that.

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  4. Hi there…nice piece. I’ve often found it difficult when travelling round other islands to see how badly the animals are treated…

    I thought you might appreciate being cheered up – especially by a good Jamaica dog story…My colleague wrote a piece about the Jamaica Dogsled team. Did you hear about that? Check it out here – Not sure if links work, but you could copy paste it into your browser!

    Best – Alexander

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  5. Alex! Thanks so much for that link, what a cute story. After reading it, it reminded me that a friend and fellow traveler told me about Sun Dogs film not long ago and I meant to watch it but it slipped my mind. I think I’ll watch it this week now!


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  6. My best friend is not a dog.

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  7. hi i was talking about these dogs to my sons father early today he is jamaaican and lives back in jamaica now..i alwasy hear dogs barking in the background…he tell me they are wild dogs and live in packs…he say they chase people on bikes and bite the tyres lol..and when he throw chicken bone out in the road they run and take it up but nothing else he said when they throw the rice they dont want it they just want the
    i think that didnt sound that bad but then he tell me one dog had half of its head rotted off and he local kids said lets throw stones at it till its dead and so they did…and he tell me on how when a dead dog is on the road the kids throw stones at the belly to make it bust open…so then i was quite upset for the dogs then…
    wish this dog probably could be sorted out

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  8. Yes unfortunately dogs just aren’t cherished in Jamaica like they are here. It’s really sad and I think that’s one of the biggest things that bothers me because I have my own dog and we treat her like a family member. Although my Rasta neighbor in Jamaica has a dog and takes care of him very well. He gets dog food and rice for meals.

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  9. I recently got back from my trip with my husband to Kingston,Jamaican. It was a beautiful trip. The only thing that bothered me was the large amount of stray dogs. I was so heart broken. I don’t know the breed of these dogs,But all i can say is these dogs were so beautiful. What also broke my heart was the ones that were hit and killed by vehicle on the roads and just left there and cars just running over them again and again. So sad… I would love to find a site,from Jamaica. So i could try to adopt a few of them.

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  10. Mardee you’re in luck! There are places in Jamaica you can adopt and bring them home. I did a blog post about a shelter I visited so please go check it out!!

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  11. Also in Mobay is a great lady who looks after strays, feeds, spays, neuters, medicates, check out Montego Bay Animal Haven. Tammy Browne has some absolutely gorgeous dogs at her place available for adoption.

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  12. Visited Montego Bay for a week on vaca. One day I spent w/ Tammy at
    Montego Bay Animal Haven. I learned so much about the real Jamaica,
    and they do treat dogs like bugs. The neglect and cruelty is so bad. SO BAD!
    It is true that Jamaicans do not allow dogs into the house. True that strays
    are all over. Cats were hanging out at our resort. Yes we did feed them. Tammy feeds
    strays that she has seen and tries to get them so she can rehome them. Now that
    we are back home, Abq. New Mexico, we are trying fly one of her rescues
    here to join our family. If you visit Jamaica, get in touch with a rescue. Maybe you can bring them much needed supplies. Leashes, toys, treats, crates ect… It is really hard and expensive for them to get things.

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  13. I agree with you that if people are able they could bring down some much needed supplies for these animal shelters.

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  14. My mother is Jamaican, so I understand how pets are treated different in Jamaica and America. It is not abuse if a dog do not stay inside a house or share a bed with me. Yard dogs stay outside to protect the house and their are fed regularly. Please accept other countries culture and traditions

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

  15. I understand yard dogs but you can’t deny the mistreatment of street dogs in Jamaica. Many Jamaicans don’t like them and don’t treat them well.

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  16. My son , dog’s friend and I just come back from Jamaica, I don’t like animals in my bed etc. but I still heart broken of what I saw while visiting half of the Island. I am searching and planing in how can I help those inocents animals in the street, yes it’s cultural I will say it’s more educational, teaching our children about been sensible to any living thing is proof of developement in any consuming country. My hope is to fund raise for a future shelter where they can get appropiate care. Think what they can do to our confortable society if a disease was to be out control.

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  17. Marie there are dog shelters in Jamaica currently. One is called The Animal House Jamaica in St Ann and the other is Montego Bay Animal Haven. Both of those shelters desperately need the help if you would like to help them out!

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  18. I am a Jamaican that just moved to the states and I’m trying to get my dog here as well . Do u know if this is possible?

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  19. Patrice, yes it is possible but I don’t know the process. Try contacting one of the animal shelters in Jamaica – they ship dogs worldwide and they know the processes. Either try The Animal House Jamaica or Montego Bay Animal Haven

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  20. I write as a Jamaican and one that loves animal. Let us look thru a different lens; When we step pass the white sands, the cultural differences comes full center. Dog in house vs yard dog; a small FEW Jamaicans might actually have their dogs in the house. But there is no difference of dogs because dog in house do get neglected. I just would like to highlight that poverty of the people is one of the biggest factor. In big cities such as Calgary, NYC etc. you won’t see stray animals but there are; well funded Animal shelter rounds them up and keep them for awhile hoping someone would adopt. I have heard where animals are euthanize as a population control.

    I remember once where the Jamaican Government had a program to round up “mad people”(sometime these so call mad ppl are just unfortunate because the real mad ppl are walking around us with some serious mental issue). I would guess there is one for animals but my thought is lack of proper funding is the real issue and then the mis-education of people in how they treat animals is the other. Here ends my 3 cents

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  21. I appreciate your comments DW, and you’re right – how can anything be done about the animals when even some people in Jamaica are lacking what they need to live a healthy life. It IS a cultural difference and I agree, there is cruelty towards animals in any city across the world. That’s just the way it is. Shelters worldwide do what they can for the animals they find but I guess they can’t save them all. I would rather see animals euthanized than suffer painful diseases and injuries though….real talk.

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  22. Well, you know I have to comment!

    First of all, let me protest about your statement “It gets fed table scraps, and in rare cases it actually gets dog food. And they can be friendly and affectionate like any other pet dog. But still they probably don’t have veterinary care and it just remains a yard dog”……
    We have eight dogs and yes they are yard dogs and never come in the house but they are also guard dogs, and excellent ones at that. They are loved and cherished just as any “pet”, very well fed (and certainly not on scraps and our traveling vet comes in every three months to check them over. They’re “job” at the end of the day is to guard us and our property, which they do very well. To have them in the house would make them too comfortable and they need to be kept alert at all times in case of intruders and being outside and aware of their surroundings, allow them to do this.
    On the subject of street dogs, Lucea has many and those many seem to congregate at the “tyre” which is situated in the middle of the road outside the police station, and travelers to and from Negril, as well as everyone else, can openly see them.
    These dogs are in a disgusting state and have to be avoided at all times. They are riddled with disease and roam in packs at night but will not attack anyone unless they are attacked first.
    So, anyone can safely walk past them without any fear whatsoever.
    In reality, the stray dogs are an eyesore and it would be a good thing if someone could set up a Dogs home or shelter to collect them all and either make them healthy for buying by dog lovers or put down due to ill health.
    Either way, something needs to be done about this huge problem in Jamaica.

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  23. Its a harsh reality that in Jamaica, Dogs & even more so Cats, are viewed as we would see rodents, pests per say. I just got back from my 2nd wk in Mobay, my sister has a house in Bogue and I spent a few dayz prior to meeting with friends at a resort. The neighbour is a nice guy, has a ‘guard’ dog who happens to love my sister so much he had to stop letting the dog visit cause others seen it as a weak dog. This dog has had 2 pups that stop at nothing to come to my sisters yard, and in her house. She cooks them food. They are sweet and it breaks our heart to know that when she returns to Canada in 4wks, they won’t get the love & attention nor cooked food like we give them. But it is their culture, there opinions as they deem ours to be just as bad. You can’t change it, you don’t have to accept it, but you can show kindness & love to the dogs when ever you r there so at somepoint in their short lives, they felt loved.

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  24. In reply to Janet:

    As mentioned a bunch of times on my blog and FB page, there ARE shelters doing this task in Jamaica but there are thousands of dogs on the island and they can’t all be treated or captured. Also, the people running these shelters – at least the Animal House (for sure) – run solely on donations from the general public so there is only so much they can do.

    Since writing this blog post years ago I have also seen plenty of dogs who get very good treatment by their owners, so I now know that. But the well treated ones still don’t outweigh the neglected and homeless ones.

    PS: I’ve seen the dogs laying on the tire in the roundabout in Lucea. It makes me giggle – like they own the place.

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  25. Twyla, your last line makes me sad. That’s exactly how I feel as well.
    I usually travel with a large bag of dog treats in my back seat in Jamaica, in case I see a dog I want to throw one at. Sadly most of them run away when I stop my vehicle, or run away when I appear to be throwing something their way because they’re used to people throwing things at them to make them go away.

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  26. I do agree that there is a large amount of strays who needs care and love in Jamaica.
    However I resent the picture which is being painted here, which makes appear as if there only
    A hand full of Jamaican who love, cherish and care for dogs. I have traveled all over the US, and true
    You will not find stays in your cities because they are rounded up and taken to the pounds. If one should step away from your and into rural America you would shocked into silence with number of strays you find as well as pets not being cared for. I Jamaica it is the other way around, Yes in Kingston ,Montego Bay and the resort towns you will find a lot of strays, but if one should step away from the towns and the white sands you will find thousands of homes with people who love and cherish there dogs. Yes homes where there meals are not made up with scraps from the table, there are large sections in our supermarkets reserved for our dog food. There are poor people here who will go hungry for a day to make sure their dogs are fed.
    It is true that most cannot afford regular visit to the vet but they do very well with internet research and information from other sources to care for their pets.
    It is also true that most Jamaicans keep their dogs out of the house yet they loved no less than if there were brought inside. E.G—We have two ratty mix and they are not taken inside but our two girls each have a house of their own which they love very much as there have the freedom of out door and their house for shelter from the rain and sun or if they just want to relax. They get their meds quite regular and plenty of love and attention, I would challenge anyone from the US or anywhere else for that matter to show me that their in house dogs is healthier or happier than our girls.
    Yes we do have dogs which we keep inside the house, mainly the ones who are raised inside from puppy stage.
    There are many side to the coin, poverty and lack of knowledge play a great part in dogs and other pets being treated badly. I have you seen lately how expensive it is to buy a puppy? So these days the people
    Who manage to get one or even find a stray puppy on the streets are doing their best to care for them
    I am sorry but your post painted a picture of an Island filled with animal haters with only a few which can be counted on one hand who actually care.
    That is not the case — Take a little drive away from the city and resort towns

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  27. Please pardon the word I might have left out here and there

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  28. Thanks for your comments Rian, and I agree with you on some points. Also, if you have ever read other posts on my blog you would see I have spent plenty of time away from resort towns. I know lots of Jamaicans who own and love their dogs and take great care of them but those numbers don’t outweigh the ones I know who hate dogs. Thank you for reading and commenting! :-)

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  29. its so upseting to hear that seeming i have dogs

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