Mexican authorities have identified a fifth possible victim in what they say is a string of fatal dog attacks at a hilltop park in Mexico City.
Gangs of dogs had been blamed for the deaths of four people at Cerro de Estrella national park in connection with attacks authorities say occured on Saturday, and on Dec. 29.
On Wednesday, the city’s attorney general’s office said it is also investigating a case involving a 15-year-old girl whose body was found at the park on Dec. 16, mutilated and bitten.
Police have rounded up 25 dogs at the park, including seven puppies, and promised sweeps at other large green spaces in the city, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But animal welfare activists say authorities have been too quick to blame the street dogs, more than a million of which roam the city, rarely attacking humans.
Some families of victims have told Mexican news outlets they believe their loved ones might have been attacked by humans.
Atty. Gen. Rodolfo Rios said Tuesday that the four most recent victims were killed by bites. In both cases, the bites the victims sustained were determined to have occured both before and after their deaths. Investigators found dog hair on the victims’ clothing, he said.
Rios said additional tests are being conducted, and that there were no plans to exterminate the dogs that have been swept up and are now in the Iztapalapa pound.
“The dogs will not be sacrificed,” Rios said. “They will be treated well.”
On Dec. 29, the bodies of Shunashi Elizabeth Mendoza Caamal, 26, and an infant believed to be her child were found in the Cerro de Estrella area. On Jan. 5, the bodies of Alejandra Ruiz Garcia, 15, and Samuel Suriel Martinez, 16, were found in the park in a “semi-devoured” state, officials said.
But some animal activists say investigators have been too quick to blame dogs, and should be looking for human suspects.
Antemio Maya, president of an association that protects street dogs, said authorities ”are making a huge error. They’re generating a climate of hate against dogs.”
(Photo: Mexico City Attorney General’s office)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, Antemio Maya, attacks, bites, Cerro de Estrella, deaths, dogs, euthanasia, feral, fifth, five, Iztapalapa, mauling, mexico city, park, pets, shelter, strays, street dogs, victims, wild
“Experts have established that due to the gravity of the wounds, at least 10 dogs were involved in each attack,” Mexico City prosecutors said in a statement.
Authorities have begun rounding up dogs living in the park to conduct tests aimed at determining if they were involved in the attacks.
In one case, the Associated Press reports, a teenage girl called her sister with her cellphone to plead for help as the attack took place.
“Several dogs are attacking us, help me!” the girl screamed before the call was disconnected.
Despite that, some animal activists are questioning whether the deaths should all be blamed solely on wild dogs, and Diana Ruiz, who received the phone call, still doesn’t believe dogs were responsible for her sister’s death.
“What kind of dog can tear the skin from your whole arm and leave just bone and if it was an attack dog why didn’t it attack her neck?” Ruiz told Milenio Television. “What’s most shocking is that one of her breasts was mutilated.”
“There needs to be a thorough investigation,” she added.
The attacks occured in the Cerro de la Estrella, a hilltop park surrounded by the city’s Iztapalapa district.
The first two bodies — a 26-year-old woman and a 1-year-old child — were found there Dec. 29, authorities in Mexico’s capital said.
The woman, Shunashi Mendoza, was missing her left arm, and prosecutors said that both she and the boy had bled to death and been partially eaten.
On Friday, visitors to the park found the bodies of Alejandra Ruiz, 15, and her boyfriend Samuel Martinez, 16. Both had bled to death.
“It’s not the behavior of street dogs to kill humans,” said Maya, adding that blaming street dogs for the deaths could make life difficult for the thousands of homeless dogs in the city.
“A lot of people get tired of their dogs and they simply throw them on the streets,” he said. “This is going to create a terrible hate for street dogs and that’s going to lead to even more abuse.”
It’s estimated that, in the city of 9 million people, the number of dogs range from 1.2 million to 3 million.
Mexico City Public Safety Secretary Jesus Rodriguez told Milenio Television that the four victims were not dumped in the area as some had suggested. He said all the bodies had bite wounds, and that the bites were inflicted both while they were alive and after they had died. He warned against visiting the park.
According to Maya, the trapped dogs included beagles, Maltese and poodles and most were probably abandoned pets or their offspring.
Experts will test the dogs’ hair for traces of human blood and also test their stomach contents. Authorities haven’t said what they plan to do with the dogs.
Previous attacks by feral dogs have occured in Mexico City’s famed Chapultepec Park, but none fatal. After one attack there, authorities rounded up dogs, spayed and neutered them, and then either returned them to the park or found them homes.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, Alejandra Ruiz, animals, Antemio Maya, bitten, blood, Cerro de la Estrella, child, contents, deaths, dogs, feral, homeless, Iztapalapa, killed, mauled, mexico, mexico city, park, pets, roundup, Samuel Martinez, Shunashi Mendoza, stomach, street, Street Dog Protection Association, street dogs, teenagers, tests, wild
Alley Cat Allies is leading a campaign against Loews Orlando resorts, calling on the hotel to stop the inhumane trapping of feral cats at their properties.
More than 31,000 people have signed a petition, and 68 people protested in front of Loews resorts on April 14, 2012 after the hotel abruptly changed its policy regarding the stray cats living on and around the property.
The hotel had agreed and endorsed a program in which 23 feral cats were trapped, neutered and returned to be managed as a colony.
But now the cats are being removed — trapped and taken to animal shelters where, given they are feral, they are not likely to be adopted, and very likely to be euthanized.
Regular feedings were halted, and Loews threatened to fire any employees who fed the cats. After allowing the cats to co-exist with guests, the hotel hired an exterminator to remove them.
Resort officials said the cats were a public health threat.
“The hotel chain says they are the most pet friendly hotel around and that they love having animals on site, and yet they continue to trap the feral cats and remove them,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies.
“There’s still time for Loews to do the right thing,” she added.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agreement, alley cat allies, animals, cats, change, colony, euthanasia, feral, feral cats, health, hotel, inhumane, loews, neuter, orlando, petition, pets, policy, protest, released, resort, shelters, strays, trap, trapping
“Absolutely not, no I did not,” Nico Dauphine said after taking the stand in her own defense Wednesday in Superior Court, WJLA reported.
Dauphine is a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo.
Prosecutors have presented evidence of her disdain for free-roaming cats, as well as a surveillance tape that they said showed her walking up to a planter where food was kept, reaching into her purse, then reaching into the cat food and leaving.
Dauphine argued in court that she was trying to get rid of the food because it attracted rats: “I went over to the planter, took out the food, put it in a plastic bag and threw it out,” she said.
Prosecutors have entered as evidence a number of quotes and articles in which Dauphine describes cats as an invasive species that should be euthanized. One online lecture by Dauphine is entitled “Apocalypse Meow – Free Ranging Cats and the Destruction of American Wildlife.”
Both sides presented closing arguments in the animal cruelty trial Wednesday and Judge Truman Morrison is scheduled to give his verdict Monday afternoon.
Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization, says attempts to poison free-roaming cats — not uncommon across the country — often pose a threat to pets and wildlife..
“There are no ‘safe poisons’ and there is no ‘safe way’ to poison,” said Dr. Frank McMillan, director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society.
Says Laura Nirenberg, Best Friends’ legislative analyst for cat initiatives.”The sad truth is that not only is poisoning an indiscriminate and inhumane method of controlling animal populations, it is unnecessary, especially when growing evidence from communities across the country shows that trap-neuter-return, commonly known as TNR, is the most efficient and cost-effective method.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, antifreeze, best friends, birds, cats, dc, feeding, feral, feral cats, free roaming, health, migratory bird center, national zoo, neuter, nico dauphine, poison, poisoning, prey, rat poison, return, safety, smithsonian, tnr, trap, trial, washington, wildlife
A rapidly climbing euthanasia rate at the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh prompted volunteers to take their concerns to a local television station.
No one disputes the figures: In January, the Wake County shelter euthanized 131 dogs, or about 18 percent of those brought in. By August, that number had climbed to 327 euthanized dogs, or nearly 42 percent of the intake, according to WRAL.
The Wake County shelter is one of the more progressive government-run shelters in the state, and it was working toward establishing a “no kill” policy.
But a rising number of surrendered and abandoned animals, and some bouts with diseases and sickness have forced an increased in euthanizations.
Wake County’s euthanasia rate last year was 28 percent — far better than most North Carolina counties. Orange County (Chapel Hill) had a 33 percent rate; Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) reported a 50 percent rate; and in Cumberland County a whopping 73 percent of the dogs that entered the county shelter last year were euthanized.
Cumberland County, you’ll recall — and if you don’t we’ll help you — is where a private wildlife control company has been hired to round up stray dogs around Fayetteville.
Mims Wildlife Damage Control, working with animal control staff, have hunted down 80 or more stray or feral dogs.
“As of Monday 80 packs of dogs have been removed, 57 of those were field euthanized, 27 were taken to the Cumberland County animal shelter,” said Jon Soles, with Cumberland County public information.
If you’re wondering about that math, yes it does add up to 84.
If you’re wondering what “field euthanized” is, it means shot and killed.
Of those allowed to live, four have been adopted out, and eight are in foster care.
Meanwhile, back in Raleigh, the volunteers say they came forward in an attempt to slow Wake County’s rising rate of euthanasia.
“We really want to come together as a group to figure out ways that we can stop this needless killing of animals,” one of the volunteers, Julie Powers, told the TV station’s investigative team.
Volunteers said they also worry that ongoing issues with the heating and air conditioning units might contribute to sick animals.
Andre Pierce, Wake County’s environmental health and safety director, says the shelter is committed to finding better ways to save the dogs.
“No one wants to euthanize animals,” he said. “We would much rather them go to a permanent home – a forever home – and go out the front door rather than go out the back door.”
Posted by jwoestendiek September 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cumberland county, dogs, euthanasia, euthanasia rate, fayetteville, feral, intake, investigation, kill, killed, mecklenburg county, north carolina, numbers, pets, raleigh, rates, rising, shelters, stray, volunteers, wake county, wral
There’s good news and bad news.
The good: The protesting has begun. A group of citizens marched earlier this week to show their concerns about the county hiring a private contractor to hunt down, and trap, if possible, stray or feral dogs.
The bad: Of the 55 dogs removed so far from the streets by the contractor, working with Cumberland County’s department of animal control, 22 were captured. Thirty-three, despite the county’s assurance that it would only be used as a last resort, have been shot and killed.
“We are concerned about the shootings in our neighborhoods, of these feral dogs,” said Amy Frey, among the group of animal rights activists that gathered in downtown Fayetteville Tuesday afternoon.
”We can’t confirm information whether the dogs are being shot lethally on-sight or if they are being put down,” she told ABC 11 News.
“It’s incredibly inhumane to be shooting animals on sight,” activist Melissa Katzenbeger said. “Pets do get out of their yards once in a while, and they are not trapping these animals and assessing them for behavior.”
Cumberland County animal control officials say up to 150 stray or feral dogs are roaming neighborhoods, and that those dogs have killed at least 15 pets.
In an e-mail statement, animal control director John Lauby reiterated that the goal is to trap the dogs. ”If the dogs cannot be trapped and are in a safe area, then off-shelter euthanasia is used.”
The activists say they are not opposed to euthanizing dangerous dogs but want to make sure that animal control doesn’t kill someone’s pet or friendly strays that could be adopted.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activists, animal control, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, assessment, contractor, dogs, euthanasia, fayetteville, feral, hunt, march, north carolina, pets, protest, round up, shooting, stray, trapping
I’m over-stating, and over-generalizing, but it’s interesting to me — and indicative of our collective schizophrenia when it comes to dogs — to compare what’s going on in the two cities when it comes to strays.
Fayetteville is making plans to round them up. The city council is considering contracting with a private outfit out of Texas that will send four “hunters” to track them down, shoot them with tranquilizer darts and turn them over to the county animal control office, where, most likely, they will be euthanized.
St. Louis is having an art exhibit.
Stray Rescue of St. Louis, an organization that rescues and adopts out dogs that have been abandoned, abused or found wandering the streets (all, amazingly, without the aid of tranquilizer guns), is holding it’s second installment of “Urban Wanderers,” a fundraising exhibition in which area artists paint, photograph and sculpt images of dogs in its care.
In conjunction with the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, the exhibit opened July 15 and runs through August 28.
The focus of this year’s exhibit is the bully breeds, and the misconceptions surrounding them.
“Urban Wanderers will showcase pit bulls’ many positive characteristics, such as gentleness, loyalty, attentiveness, and athleticism, and attempt to dispel the false perception that the pit bull is born aggressive and dangerous. The pit bull is proof that dogs thrust into dog fighting and other deplorable conditions are victims of human callousness and cruelty.”
The artworks include the painting above, by Michelle Streiff, of Pietra, a dog who was found abandoned in the backyard of a vacant house at the age of six months.
Despite being on her own, living as a stray, in the wild, she’s “outgoing, playful, friendly, loving and just an all around wonderful girl,” according to the staff of Stray Rescue’s shelter, where she’s available for adoption.
(You can find and bid on all the featured artwork — including some by the dogs themselves — via this page.)
The art displayed in the exhibition, at Saint Louis University Museum of Art, can be bid on until August 28. All proceeds will benefit Stray Rescue of St. Louis, funding its efforts to pull dogs off the streets, socialize them and find them new homes.
Stray Rescue of St. Louis was founded by Randy Grim, a former flight attendant-turned groomer-turned full time dog rescuer. He has written two books, Miracle Dog and “Don’t dump the Dog,” and is the subject of another, “The Man Who Talks to Dogs.”
“Feral dogs are the untouchables; they are the ones who ”belong” to no one,” he writes. “They are the hold-outs, the animals under-funded pounds can’t catch and overburdened humane shelters can’t deal with. They colonize whatever neighborhoods afford them the best shelter, the most food and the least amount of contact with human beings. They exist, like genetic castaways, in the evolutionary no-man’s-land between domesticity and wildness. They are completely, utterly, alone.”
For more of his take on feral dogs — the extent of the problem, how to capture them, and rehabilitate them, and how to address the problem without nooses, guns, violence and euthanasia — you can look at this web page he put together.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, adoption, animal control, animals, art, art exhibit, bully breeds, darts, dogs, euthanasia, fayetteville north carolina, feral, guns, hunters, pets, pit bulls, randy grim, rescue, shelter, shooting, st. louis, stray, stray rescue of st louis, tranquilizer, urban wanderers, wild
Professional dog hunters from Texas (where else?) may be called in to help “solve” Fayetteville, N.C.’s stray dog problem.
A Fort Worth, Texas-based outfit called the “Dangerous Animal Task Force,” or DATF, for short, offered its services to the city in a letter last week to Mayor Tony Chavonne, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
The Observer reported earlier this month that up to 150 “wild dogs” are roaming city neighborhoods, ”killing pets and threatening residents,” and that the county’s Animal Services Department had limited resources to capture the feral canines.
(There is no city animal control office, which may help explain why there’s a problem in the first place.)
DATF (no, that’s not them in the photo — just a generic posse) has proposed sending four representatives to the city who would spend two weeks hunting the dogs with tranquilizer darts.
The darts would include GPS chips that — assuming the darts stay intact — would allow the hunters to find animals who kept running after being shot. The animals would then be taken to the county animal shelter.
I’m sure you can guess what would happen there — although that part of it isn’t being talked about much.
City Manager Dale Iman briefed the City Council this week about the “task force,” saying, ”I think we have a good chance of making an impact.” The two-week “deployment” — to use DATF’s terminology — would cost $29,000, with the city and county splitting the cost.
According to the group’s letter, its mission is to assist law enforcement and other local authorities in emergency situations, natural disasters and other events in which dangerous animals are involved.
The company’s website — it does not appear to be a non-profit organization, though it does seek donations – is a pretty bare bones affair, peppered with photos of violent animals and Homeland Security and FEMA logos. It offers no information in the way of actual cases it has handled.
Nobody asked me, but my advice to Fayetteville would be to think hard about calling in hired guns. Their shoot- first-ask-questions-later approach could easily lead to some pets being bagged along with the so-called feral dogs — and while the professional hunters will only be tranquilizing them, some missing and wandering pets could be swept up, and subjected to step two.
Rather than a gun-toting dog posse, wouldn’t it make more sense to seek help from a group like Best Friends Animal Society or the Humane Society of the United States, who could evaluate the animals as individuals, rather than as trophies?
There was a time in America when bounties were placed on dogs. Calling in gunmen is a little too reminiscent of that for me.
I’m not disputing that many or even most of the dogs to be hunted are dangerous — but does a generation or two living back in the wild make them hopeless cases?
If Michael Vick’s dogs, after what they went through, could be rehabilitated and become family pets, don’t these deserve a chance? And why isn’t anyone speaking up for them?
Posted by jwoestendiek July 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, bounty hunters, city council, dangerous animals, dangerous animals task force, darts, datf, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, exterminating, fayetteville, feral, help, hunters, hunting dogs, north carolina, pets, posse, problem, professional, shooting, shooting dogs, shooting strays, strays, texas, tranquilizer darts, wild
An Arizona scientist trying to induce menopause in mice — the female of that species up to then had been missing out on that experience — has discovered a pill to sterilize dogs, one she says could eventually bring an end to surgical spaying.
Dr. Loretta Mayer was looking for a way to artificially induce menopause in mice so they could be used to study human diseases when she and another scientist developed a drug that they realized also could be used to sterilize female dogs, the Arizona Republic reports.
If approved by the FDA — a prospect that could take years — Chemspay, as it has been dubbed, could revolutionize veterinary medicine and go along way in reducing canine overpopulation in Arizona and nationwide, Mayer says.
ChemSpay can be administered by either a pill or injection.
Mayer hopes to eventually introduce the drug in Arizona and recently persuaded the state legislature to alter state law to allow animal shelters to use non-surgical means for sterilizing cats and dogs.
Mayer, 62, spent more than 20 years working in business before returning to school to pursue a master’s and doctorate in biology at Northern Arizona University. In 2000, she began her postdoctorate work at the University of Arizona, working under Dr. Patricia Hoyer, an ovarian toxicologist who was studying diseases common in aging women.
Mice, unlike women, never lose their reproductive capabilities. So Hoyer and Mayer developed a drug they dubbed “mouseopause” that induced menopause in female lab mice by eliminating eggs in the ovaries without surgery. The development allowed lab mice to be used as models for studying diseases associated with menopause.
In 2002, Mayer started a biotechnology company called SenesTech, studying how the drug could be used on other animals. She has tested it on animals in Indonesia, India, New Zealand and Australia and on the Navajo Reservation, at the request of the director of the tribal animal shelter.
“He said to me, ‘If you could do for a dog what you do for a mouse, I wouldn’t have to kill 400 animals a month,’ ” Mayer said.
Mayer and SenesTech administered the contraceptive to reservation dogs from 2004 to 2008.The trials proved that Chemspay reduced the number of eggs in the tested dogs significantly.
Last year, SenesTech became involved in a project that combines rabies vaccinations with fertility control for the feral-dog population in parts of India. Mayer will return to India this December to resume her work with the group.
Although Chemspay is about six to nine years away from being approved by the FDA, Mayer said she hopes to begin FDA-approved trials in about three years at the Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff.
Mayer is not the first scientist to develop sterilizing drugs for animals. Neutersol, a sterilizing injection for male dogs, was approved by the FDA and tested in trials at the Arizona Humane Society a few years ago. It was taken off the market in 2005 because of a manufacturing disagreement and is now being marketed under another name. It is not currently available in the U.S.
(Photo: Martha Ellis / Arizona Republic)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: biotech, birth control, chemical, chemspay, contraceptive, dog, dogs, female, feral, loretta mayer, menopause, mice, navajo, non-surgical, overpopulation, reservation, science, sensetech, spay, sterilant, sterilize, strays, surgery, university of arizona
Dr. John Lauby, director of the Animal Services Department, said his animal control officers have shot and killed nine feral dogs in the last two weeks.
“It’s a distasteful thing,” said Lauby, a retired veterinarian. “They are a large problem.”
According to an article in the Fayetteville Observer — and we have to point out that it’s written by Andrew Barksdale — the large number of feral dogs may be a result of more dogs being abandoned by their owners. Dogs can turn become unfriendly to people after being abandoned, Lauby said.
Fayetteville City Councilman Jim Arp has asked that the county animal control office — there is no similar office in the city — help solve the problem. Arp said the feral dogs put children at risk, and some residents say the wild dogs are killing their cats.
Lauby said his department had thinned the packs of dogs over the winter, but new litters in the spring compounded the recent surge. The problem, he said, is compounded by people leaving food out for the dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animal control, animals, cats, dog, dogs, fayeteville, feral, hunting, killing, neighborhoods, north carolina, pets, shooting, stray, street dogs, streets, wild