A garbage collector in Coacalco, México state, has been arrested for animal maltreatment after the horse he used to pull his cart fell dead in the street on Monday.
José Luis N. was arrested on Tuesday after neighbors reported the incident to authorities.
Coacalco Mayor Darwin Eslava Gamiño said that despite a ban on using beasts of burden for such tasks that went into effect at the end of last year, many garbage collectors have yet to comply.
He said that the municipal legal authority is reviewing the official documentation, by which some collectors appear to be protected from sanctions for continuing to use horses for their work.
“I don’t want to prohibit them from working,” he said. “The intention is to end the maltreatment of animals and make people comply with the regulation.”
Though many collectors have purchased motorcycles to do their job, the government has provided no financial incentives to that end. “We are not going to negotiate over the maltreatment of animals,” said the Coacalco mayor.
Eslava said that the México state Attorney General’s Office will be the authority to rule in the case. Although 19 garbage collectors using horses have been arrested and gone before a local judge since November, José Luis N.’s case is the first to go before the state authority.
He added that in four of the cases the arrested men handed over their horses to the municipal authorities and that the animals will soon be sent to a refuge for their protection.