Outrage in Colombia over mayor’s plan to kill stray dogs leads to positive change


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In the Colombian city of Mosquera, an abundance of stray dogs has become a big problem for human residents, who were bitten in record numbers last year. Public outcry over the mayor’s contention that all strays should be killed has led to some positive steps, including the creation of a task force whose aims are building an animal shelter, enforcing vaccination requirements and cracking down on dog sales. Our colleague Chris Kraul has the details; here’s an excerpt:

Listening to yet another constituent complain about the thousands of neglected, scruffy mutts that prowl the streets of his town, Mosquera Mayor Luis Alvaro Rincon went ballistic. ‘A street dog,’ he ground out, ‘is a dead dog.’


His fist pumping and voice rising as applause at the community gathering grew, he said, ‘It’s an order. Round them up and kill them!’

Rincon’s exasperation last summer was in some ways understandable. This suburb of Bogota has long been a dumping ground for canines whose owners are too uninterested or financially strapped to care for them. Now there may be 30,000 stray dogs here and in two adjoining suburbs, Madrid and Vaca.

‘I know environmentalists won’t like it, but if they don’t, they should come to Mosquera and take a dog home with them,’ Rincon said.

Driving around the Porvenir Rio barrio, one gets the impression that there are more dogs than people. They seem to be everywhere: foraging for food, lounging in the shade or sauntering across streets and alleys.