By Marilia Brocchetto and Natalie Gallón, CNN
(CNN) Skinny and desperate, they root in the trash for even a small morsel of overlooked food. They are bedraggled; their rib cages and hip bones show through taut skin.
On the street, left to fend for themselves, they snap at each other, trying desperately to survive in the cruel world which has forsaken them.
They are the abandoned pets of crisis-hit Venezuela.
Pet owners in the country, which is facing a deep economic recession that continues to spiral out of control, cannot afford to care for their animals.
More and more, Venezuelans are struggling to even feed their own families, and with even the cheapest bag of dog food costing as much as a third of the country’s minimum wage, thanks to rampant inflation, money for pet food is simply a luxury fewer and fewer can afford.
Activists say the number of abandoned animals has increased by 50% in the past year, and many are left to fend for themselves on the streets.
According to the rescue organization “Street puppies,” many of those dogs rescued arrive at the shelter starving and emaciated. Animal activists tell CNN’s Osmary Hernandez that they too are suffering the pain of the economic crisis.