A rescue worker with one of the two dogs that fell into the huge sinkhole. A rescue worker with one of the two dogs that fell into the huge sinkhole.

Under public pressure, authorities in Puebla rescue dogs from giant sinkhole

Spay and Spike are back on solid ground

Thanks to pressure from the public and from animal rights organizations, two dogs in Puebla have been rescued from the sinkhole that appeared in Santa María Zacatepec late last month. The dogs, Spay and Spike, spent more than 72 hours trapped in the giant pit.

Authorities were initially reluctant to mount a rescue operation, given the instability of the ground around the hole and the corresponding risk to the rescuers. On Thursday, Governor Miguel Barbosa discarded the idea of a helicopter rescue despite being “moved” by the outpouring of support for the dogs.

“We have to be responsible,” he said, adding that options to rescue the dogs safely were being reviewed.

The review produced a decision in favor of a rescue effort because later that day Civil Protection personnel and firefighters set to work to rescue the canines.

The first two attempts were interrupted by rain and had to be stopped. Finally, a third attempt was successful. Spay and Spike were back on solid ground, where officials from the Institute for Animal Welfare were waiting to check their health.

Experts from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) have reported that the sinkhole is 56 meters deep at its deepest point. IPN researcher Pedro Rodríguez said the hole had three possible causes: the natural structure of the soil, human activities that contributed to the collapse, or a combination of both.

With reports from Milenio (sp)

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