Anaya and three of her 140 dogs. Anaya and three of her 140 dogs.

Neighbors object that 140 dogs is too many

Authorities seize dogs amid complaints of health problems, insomnia

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 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.”

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), Animal Político (sp)

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  • Woman’s a ding-a-ling.

    • David Nichols

      Or maybe she just cares more for the pobre perros de Calle than the gente corriente who ignore the plight of those homeless dogs…
      Should she have a ranchito to take them too? Sure she should–maybe you will start a GoFundMe account for this purpose…
      Quick to criticize, slow to help…sadly this is a description of the human condition…

      • Sorry, David, but 140 dogs in a private home is firmly in ding-a-ling territory. Problems have solutions, and her solution is ridiculous.

      • Patricia Hogan

        There are always two sides to every story. She does care for street dogs. It’s easy to criticize but there is not much being done in Tepoztlan by the government to help with the street dog problems –it has fallen almost 100% to private resources. Are 20 of her dogs ill? Probably, but not because of her; that’s how they were found and I have no doubt about the care she gives them. Should she be else where? Yes. Are people really having health issues (besides lack of sleep)? Not really credible ones. Has she been difficult as a neighbor? Yes. Should everyone who can adopt a dog? Yes. Should The News have been a little less judgmental? Yes.

  • Peter Maiz

    The lady lies and one can easily see the environmental and health pollution she was causing.

  • GOPerson

    She is a hoarder and as such, let never have enough dogs.