Stray Dogs in South America Causes Public OutragePublished March 19, 2010
My heart goes out with such deep compassion for all the unwanted, neglected stray dogs, not only in the United States, but around the world. As I read an article in our local newspaper the other day about the thousands of scruffy homeless canines living in Mosquera, Columbia, who are roaming the streets searching for handouts I was crestfallen.
The complaints from local residents about these needy canines has once again reached the ears of the town Mayor, Luis Alvaro Rincon, who apparently went ballistic after hearing all the upset these dogs has caused, and angrily, and what I consider to be heartless, spurred on by the loud complaints of a gathering crowd, said, " A street dog is a dead dog." His fists pounding in rage with his verbal volume rising, he continued, "It's an order. Round them up and kill them!"
Stray dogs in Mosquera. Credit: Chris Kraul / Los Angeles Times
According to the article, the mayor's anger is justified. Apparently this small town, a suburb of Bogota has been for a long time, the dumping ground for dog owners who no longer care about their pets, or have become so financially burdened, that they no longer can afford to house and feed them.
There may be up to a total of 30,000 stray dogs when combined with Mosquera, and its two adjoining suburbs, Madrid and Vaca.
Mayor Rincon went on to say that he was aware that his words would not be popular with animal rights advocates and environmentalists, but suggested that they come on down and put their money where their mouths are, and each rescue a dog and bring it home.
The overpopulation of stray dogs is so enormous, that when driving around the towns, one cannot miss seeing groups of starving dogs walking around foraging for food, and in fact often there appear to be more canines than people roaming the streets. And while
Mosquera is one of the fastest growing municipalities with a population of 90,000, the town does not have any Animal Control facility. There is no dog "pound" to help house these strays. With the pressing need of a new hospital, the building of roads and the purchase of uniforms and lunches for the increasing number of poor children, the town considers these items to be a priority over the homeless dog population's needs.
And as the stray dog population increases, human health issues arise into a safety crisis. With an increase of 27 percent since 2008, 89 dog bites were reported last year. The City's Health Officer said, "We had more dog bites than measles last year." Fecal dust levels have risen and are alarming to the town's residents.
Initially Mayor Rincon's "outburst" created little opposing reaction, but following the release of a video on YouTube of his speech, hundreds of angry phone calls and emails from animal rights groups were arrived at City Hall. An animal activist organizer in Bogota, Albeiro Ulloa, said, "This kind of discourse contributes to disrespect for life in Columbia. Is it that much of a leap from mass murder of animals to that of humans?
Last month a march of 300 animal rights defenders bumped heads with a similar group of Rincon's defenders, but eventually tempers cooled and an agreement was made to find a solution to the town's dog population problem. The "capture and kill" order made by the mayor was rescinded and a task force has been formed to raise private money and build a regional dog pound. This panel will additionally change laws to restrict the sale of dogs and enforce vaccination laws.
This video uploaded to YouTube by rmudoccenter was shot in Chile where the overpopulation of stray dogs is identical to the Mosquera canines which gives graphically gives viewers what the town faces.
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