Barking dogs are very much a part of life in Mexico but when your neighbor has 140, life might not be very pleasant.
State and municipal authorities in Tepoztlán, Morelos, seized 140 dogs last Friday that a woman was allegedly keeping illegally.
Residents of the Santo Domingo neighborhood had repeatedly requested the intervention of authorities on the grounds that Dora Anaya Leyva’s dogs were causing health problems. They claimed that the property was not registered as an animal shelter or refuge.
After a legal complaint alleging animal abuse was filed against Anaya last December, staff from the federal environmental agency Profepa removed 158 dogs from her property.
Anaya filed for an amparo, or injunction, after which the authorities allowed her to keep 52 of the dogs.
According to a statement issued by the government of Morelos, epidemiological monitoring of Santo Domingo that began in March identified environmental pollution and damage to the health of at least 10 residents.
So state authorities, including the Attorney General’s office, intervened once more.
The newspaper Milenio reported that the animals were placed under the care of veterinary specialists, who found that at least 20 had serious health problems.
In the aftermath, animal rights advocates have posted on social media a video recording of a distraught Anaya, who claimed that the incursion by state authorities was “violent” and that several of the dogs in her charge were receiving medical care.
A petition posted in Spanish on Change.org accused the police officers that participated in the seizure of not identifying themselves, and that at one point a gun was held to Anaya’s head. Other procedural irregularities were also charged.
The petition was published on Friday and since than has been signed by more than 8,700 supporters.
One of Anaya’s critics spoke out late last month in a guest blog on the news website Animal Político, accusing the woman of keeping dogs in a residential area for over 12 years, “trampling the health and rights of many citizens.”
The writer, who said he lived across the street from Anaya, claimed the presence of so many dogs had caused allergies and other health problems for the family, and prevented them from sleeping.
He said his central argument, however, was that Mexicans “have lost all sense of respect and civility among ourselves,” and worse, institutions have lost the ability “to enforce the law to protect us and maintain social order.”