Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lawsuit Filed in Puerto Rico Animal Killings

This is just a sick, sick story that keeps getting worse. Thanks to the Associated Press for its investigative probe into the atrocities.

News that live animals had been thrown to their deaths from a bridge reached the public last month when Animal Control Solutions, a government contractor, was accused of inhumanely killing some 80 dogs and cats seized from three housing projects in the town of Barceloneta. A half dozen survived the fall of at least 50 feet.

The AP probe, which included visits to two sites where animals were slaughtered, found the inhumane killings were far more extensive than that one incident. The AP saw and was told about a scale and brutality far beyond even what animal welfare activists suspected, stretching over the last eight years.

A $22.5 million lawsuit against Animal Control Solutions and city officials — including those who helped round up the animals — was filed on behalf of 16 Barceloneta families whose dogs or cats were seized under rules prohibiting pets at the city projects. The animals' deaths show "a cold and depraved heart and has stirred public outrage around the whole world," the lawsuit says.

As bad as Animal Control Solutions is, one also has to fault the Puerto Rican government agencies. They apparently don't give a damn and should be held accountable. This is an international embarrassment and gives the incorrect impression of a backwards, underdeveloped, uneducated country. I just don't buy that.

Animal welfare activists have complained to government agencies for years about allegations of improper disposal of animals, but say officials didn't act. Preventive action also is almost nonexistent: Puerto Rico has at least 100,000 stray dogs and cats — and no island-wide spaying or neutering programs.

Activist Alfredo Figueroa said the animal disposal companies acted with impunity because government agencies ignored allegations of cruelty, rather than investigate the companies or address the overpopulation of strays.

"There is apathy," Figueroa said. "No one wants to take responsibility."

Photo by Oquendo.

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