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
It has been nearly four years since Bosnia passed a law banning the killing of stray and wild dogs, but as of this year only one city is respecting it, according to the Associated Press — Sarajevo.
As a result, Sarajevo has become both a dumping ground and, relatively speaking, a safe haven, with people from around the country dropping homeless, stray and wild dogs on its streets.
The law was passed amid a sharp rise in dog killings, but it was largely ignored because the government provided few alternatives, like shelters and sterilization clinics.
In March, Sarajevo became home to a new city-funded dog shelter that also performs sterilizations.
Animal protection advocate Amela Turalic runs the shelter, and she and her team of animal lovers respond to calls to pick up strays, who have been increasingly arriving from other areas
Bosnia remains divided along ethnic lines, and different parts of the country deal with strays differently. Despite the national ban against slaughtering dogs, some local governments have passed laws contradicting it.
In Sarajevo, it took Turalic’s teams three months to get the problem of strays under control last summer with the shelter and sterilizations.
“But then we started noticing ‘new faces’ on the streets daily and people started telling us about overnight deliveries,” she said.
Not everyone in Sarajevo is happy about that, and some don’t think Sarajevo — the one place doing something about the problem — should be getting overwhelmed with needy dogs because of it.
Sounds a little like another country that once welcomed outsiders.
As Turalic sees it, those from other cities who drop off dogs on the streets of Sarajevo aren’t abandoning their own pets, just trying to give a stray a better chance of surviving.
“Let them come,” she said. “People do this with best intentions.”
(Photo: Amel Emric / Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: Amela Turalic, animal control, animals, bosnia, dogs, dropped, haven, neuter, pets, safe haven, sarajevo, shelter, spay, sterilization, stray, streets, wild
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
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
During my stay aboard a sailboat, docked at the marina at Nick’s Fish House in Baltimore, I expected to run into my old friends Ned and Kay Uhler, who used to drive down from their home everyday to feed the feral cats that call Nick’s parking lot home.
The cats, who I wrote about a few years ago, are still around — this black one tried to cross my path last night – but I’m not so sure about Ned and Kay. Somebody’s still feeding the cats though, and maybe it’s them. Perhaps I’m just not waking up early enough to catch them in the act.
Ace, when we get off the boat for walks, usually spots one or two, and seems eager to get closer and meet them, but I don’t let him. I doubt he’d get the same reception from them that Ned and Kay always did.
My story about Ned and Kay feeding the feral cats was the only one, during my newspaper career, that I wrote entirely in verse. This was well before I became a professional writer of “highway haiku,” which is much harder to write, especially for one who has been accused of being long-winded — at least on the written page.
Be that as it may, with thanks to the Baltimore Sun, in which it first appeared — and still appears, though interrupted by advertising — here, in a slightly edited, minorly rewritten version, is …
”A Feral Cat Carole”
The cats were quite hungry that cold winter day
But Edwin L. Uhler was well on his way.
Ned left Owings Mills, his wife, Kay, at the wheel
Driving 25 miles to deliver the meal.
They got to Nick’s Fish House, where Ned keeps his boat
And then something happened that’s worthy of note:
‘Twas a gaggle of cats – a feline regatta -
Appearing from nowhere upon hearing his auto.
One cat, then two cats, then three and then four
And then after that there came even more:
Black, tan and gray cats, they trotted and waddled
Some long-haired, some short, some solid, some mottled.
From the rocks on the shore, from beneath a trailer
They crept and they scurried to greet the old sailor.
Ned wore a cap – a Greek sailor’s hat
And got out of his car with a big plastic vat.
With a wood-handled spoon, they laid food on the ground
Some here and some there in big heaping mounds.
And no sooner than that did the cats start to nibble
On Kay’s special mixture of canned food and kibble.
Until he retired a few weeks ago
Ned, 80, came daily – rain, sleet or snow.
Kay joins him on weekends, and when the job’s done
They go out for breakfast and coffee, and fun.
Kay plays video slots, and Ned drinks a beer
Then they go home, all filled with good cheer.
They once sailed the bay, but those days are past
And their boat now sits empty, no sail on its mast.
Ned lost a leg about six years ago
A stroke left Kay’s right arm quite weak and quite slow.
But together, Kay said, they can meet most demands.
It’s a trade-off of sorts: “I’m his legs; he’s my hands.”
Ned ran a company that dispatched big trucks
Kay worked in the office – now how’s that for luck?
Kay liked him right off, partly based on this fact:
“He can’t be a bad guy, if he has a cat.”
They married, years passed and more pets they raised
But the last one that died had left them quite fazed.
The death of their cat had left them bereft
So the Uhlers decided they’d have no more pets.
But not long after that, at their front door one night
Two cats showed up, both of them white.
One they named Blanche, and one Crackerjack
But not long after that they were taken aback
To find Jack was a Jill — now what’s up with that?
Back at the marina, they tend even more
Though the days that they go there they’ve reduced to four.
It’s a long way to drive and they need to cut back
On the money they spend on big cat food sacks.
Between canned food and dry, they’re paying high rates:
Forty-five dollars a week, or so Kay estimates.
“Forty-five dollars!” Ned says with a hiss
“Forty-five dollars? I did not know this.”
It all got started three years ago June
When the owners pulled out of the Dead Eye Saloon.
There were two cats they fed; one left there with them
But the one left behind faced quite a dilemma.
His name was ol’ Smokey, a friendly feline
With no rightful owner and no place to dine.
That’s where things stood when ol’ Ned stepped in
Not thinking that one cat would soon become ten.
Apparently Smokey had girlfriends, you see
And one became two, and two became three,
And three became four, and four became five
And the cat population continued to thrive.
As a marina, and a restaurant at that
Nick’s had some problems with occasional rats.
Now the rats are all gone, and some boaters like that
But still others complain about the number of cats.
Some even admit that the cats drive them bats
And soil their boats with nasty cat scat.
One boat owner said they look cuddly at first
“But when you put food out you’re making it worse.”
They leave paw prints on cars, and they stink up the joint
Leaving stains on boat cushions they choose to anoint.
One would be fine; maybe two would be cuter
But much more than that and it comes time to neuter.
And though it might make the soft-hearted pout
Some think the cats’ ranks need a good thinning out.
One-legged Ned doesn’t see it that way
And you can rest quite assured that neither does Kay.
Starving the cats is not a solution.
(And don’t even mention cat execution.)
Whatever their numbers, the cats need to eat,
And Ned will keep feeding come cold or come heat.
Ned rose from his barstool after sitting a bit
He straightened his cap to secure a good fit.
He pondered a question: Why not just quit?
And he said only this: “They appreciate it.”
(“Dog’s Country: Travels with Ace” is a regular feature of ohmidog!, and is in the process of becoming its own website, focusing on dogs and travel. Feel free to keep up with our progress — on the trip, and on the website at travelswithace.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, cats, dog's country, dogscountry, feeding, feral, kay uhler, marina, ned uhler, nick's fish house, ohmidog!, pets, poem, poetry, restaurant, strays, travels with ace, wild
Baton Rouge Zoo officials think a pack of wild dogs may be responsible for the Sunday night deaths of 17 flamingos, more than a third of the zoo’s flock.
Despite having 24-hour security, the zoo didn’t discover the deaths until staff arrived for work Monday morning, Phil Frost, zoo director, told The Advocate.
Zoo officials don’t know how the dogs got into the zoo, or through an additional fence and into the flamingo enclosure, but they said canine paw prints were detected.
Besides the 17 flamingos killed, one more bird was injured in the attack and was being treated at the zoo’s hospital, said Mary Wood, the zoo’s marketing director.
The remaining 30 members of the flock who survived were back on display Monday. Zoo officials aren’t sure how they managed to survive the attack.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attacked, baton rouge, birds, dogs, enclosure, fence, feral, flamingo, flamingos, killed, news, pack, phil frost, wild, zoo
A band of wild beagles is scaring residents on part of Long Island, WABC-TV reports — even though it’s nothing new.
Dot Faszczewski, of Orient Point, was walking her dog, Trapper, when she encountered two or three of them.
“I could hear them coming towards me, it was a ferocious kind of barking,” she said. “I quickly grabbed my dog and came running into the house, just as we got in the dogs jumped at the door. I thought it was just some wolves coming at me.”
The report noted the beagles have been a problem for many years — the result of dogs being abandoned by hunters for failing to meet “rabbit-catching quotas.”
Area shelters have been trying to round up the beagles, socialize and rehabilitate them and find them adoptive homes. Reports of the beagles being aggressive don’t surprise shelter officials.
“Certainly if they’re out in a pack and their starving and their freezing they’re going to become aggressive,” said Pam Green of the Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton. She said her shelter takes in about 40 beagles a year.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, adopt, animals, beagles, calverton, dogs, feral, hunters, kent animal shelter, long island, orient point, packs, pets, rehabilitate, rescue, shelter, socialize, wild
On the streets of Moscow, the evolution of dog is playing out in reverse.
So contends Andrei Poyarkov, a biologist and wolf specialist who has dedicated himself to studying the city’s vast population of strays — the 30,000-plus dogs that, while learning such new urban skills as using the subways, are in reality moving back to something closer to a wolf-like state.
His efforts were recounted in an enlightening piece in yesterdays Financial Times.
Poyarkov began studying the strays in 1979, starting with those living near his apartment and the ones he encountered on his way to work. He made recordings of the sounds that the strays made, and began to study their social organization. He photographed them and mapped where each dog lived.
Poyarkov, who works at the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, says Moscow’s strays are somewhere between house pets and wolves, in the early stages of the shift from the domesticated back towards the wild. It’s a process that he believes can’t be reversed, at least not in individual dogs. The strays are resistant to domestication, and many can’t stand being confined indoors.
Most of Moscow’s strays rarely wag their tails, are wary of humans and show no signs of affection towards them. A few remain comfortable with people, but more have moved on to a second stage, where they will approach people only to get food.
A third group interact mainly with other strays and get their food from garbage bins.
The last of Poyarkov’s groups are the wild dogs. “There are dogs living in the city that are not socialized to people. They know people, but view them as dangerous. Their range is extremely broad, and they are predators. They catch mice, rats and the occasional cat. They live in the city, but as a rule near industrial complexes, or in wooded parks. They are nocturnal and walk about when there are fewer people on the streets.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andrei poyarkov, animals, behavior, city, dog, dogs, domestication, evolution, feral, moscow, pets, research, reverse, russia, stray, strays, street, study, subway, urban, wild, wolf, wolves