What Middle India (along with it’s trusted helper the Expat) would most like is a sanitization and quick removal of all strays (maybe to China, as one nutjob has been allowed to comment in the NYT article). A Final Solution, so to speak, with clean gleaming chambers to get rid of these black, brown and white dog-shaped spots on Shining India. However, just like with the banishing of autorackshas, a viable, long-term solution requires something very uncomfortable from Middle India – real thinking.
Linus Kendall,The Rabid Dog And The Continuation of Middle India’s Fears at Storify
For someone who neither has nor wants a dog, I spend a lot of time writing about them. But then so do many other ex-pats in San Miguel. I haven’t researched whether other Mexican towns have such a vociferous ex-pat dog-loving population, but there is always some commentary on the SMA civil list about the deplorable state of dog affairs here.
Many of the listeros are firm believers in letter-writing. Write to the pound, to the mayor. Write to animal rights groups. Start a letter writing campaign in the states to put pressure on the tourist industry and hit SMA where it hurts. Fewer believe in taking direct action, such as volunteering at the pound (Ecologia), finding homes for dogs, or providing financial support to underfunded organizations that provide services to animals. I realize the latter might be beyond the means of some people, the middle option would be difficult to achieve, but the former option – as so many ex-pats are retirees – seems possible.
Now hitting San Miguel where it hurts – reducing tourism – seems counter-productive to me. Fewer people working fewer hours could mean that pets won’t get fed as well, that pet owners won’t be able to care as well for animals.
One could also help raise money for the organizations that provide services to animals. The more money they have, the more staff could be hired, better training could be afforded to workers.
One might also start youth education programs as to how to care for pets – because providing knowledge about how best to care for an animal will enable the next generation to better care for their pets. It would also give kids an activity.
The issue that gets the most attention is the treatment of animals found loose on the streets by the animal control workers at Ecologia, the public animal pound.
Snippets from the list
An excerpt from the first posting, which triggered the cascade of comments:
This morning, about one hour ago, at the Jardin, I and others witnessed a small pack of dogs, not doing anything other than walking together. The Ecologia staff of three arrived and one man, with the wire bataan, wire lasso got the wire lasso around one of the dogs ankle. Of course this medium sized dog tried to get away as the other dogs ran off. …
This Ecologia STAFF PERSON, commenced to DRAG THIS POOR DOG, APPROXIMATELY 60 FEET, while the dog was screaming in agony and pain. Numerous Americans took photos. I was told about fifteen minutes later that people saw the dog so it appears it got away. I am CERTAIN that this dog is now injured, in pain on top of being homeless, hungry, thirsty and as usual, abandoned by PEOPLE.
Twelve hours later N reported:
This poor sweet dog is at the Ecologia Pound. His leg is not broken, but it is injured to the point where he can’t put it down.
Follow-up, a day later:
T. So good of you, but B W is going to foster him. She’ll be back from her trip on Friday. Meanwhile, A N, head of Amigos de Animales and the Amigos Vet were at the Pound and checked him out. His leg is doing much better and he can almost put it down on the ground. There appears to be no other health problems. … the Amigos Vet will give him all his shots and sterilize him, probably next week. N
Later that afternoon, posted by J (another poster challenged J to produce the photos, which he did on Flickr):
I saw the round up of dogs at the Jardin. I counted nine in the pack. All healthy dogs. Soon after two dog catchers arrived. The men used ropes, not wire as some person claimed. I have close up photos that shows a rope around the dogs leg! The dog got away not much the worse off after his near capture.
The offered solutions
Verbatim quotes from responders:
- Might this be the moment for as many as are moved to do so (an hopefully that will be many many many) to mount a campaign expressing our concern. We could make it a relentless campaign, not stopping until we get his attention. Write with passion, clarity, and all due respect. We want him to need to help but not to alienate him. I am not looking for a debate here. I am looking for action and invite others to join in bombarding the municipal president´s facebook with their views.
- I think all of this needs to be reported to the mayor. I understand he is on FACEBOOK…..a perfect place for these horrible reports.
- What I think *may* make a difference is some old fashioned community organizing – a block by block petition drive that can show the powers that be that the majority of the community of San Miguel has come awake on this issue.
- I think it would be a good idea if there were announcements made on the radio reporting animals that have been picked up so people would know.
- I would say 98% of the dogs picked up by Ecologia workers are someone’s pet….Unfortunately, not many are coming to the pound looking for their lost dog or cat. Our mission from day one is to make the animals as comfortable as can be before they are put to death, but Ecologia workers are making it very difficult for us to even accomplish this.
- I think if one is writing letters it is fine and I realize not all folks have Facebook nor want Facebook for a variety of good reasons but it is not only the most expedient way to address the issue but Licensia [Mayor] Trejo reads it regularly and as Lynn and others have pointed out responds to many of the posts.
- I strongly suggest writing letters (the old fashioned kind) and delivering them to his office. One person could take dozens at a time – so for every ‘meeting’ being held in SMA over the next several weeks, do a letter writing session – will take but a few minutes. Put each into an envelope, seal, and designate someone to take them to his office. In time, with local LETTER writing, and those urged from the U.S. he/they will get the message that they must act.
- wow this is horrendous~ Now HERE is something people can and should get behind, rather than wasting time complaining about restaurants and cab fares, this is a serious problem that all, whiners and complainers included, should get involved with. This is far more important than Starbucks or McDonalds – time to step up people and force some serious changes to benefit the animal population of this city. I would appreciate the email address or facebook URL for the Mayor and I will certainly make contact.
- The dogs could have been someone’s pet that was lost. How disgusting of them. They must be stopped. I am shocked by the dogs were then dead and put in the garbage. Who can we contact about this?
A day or two later, someone posted:
The Mexicans have addressed the street dog problem. You may not like their solution and you may want to work with (not against) local Mexican animal agencies to bring about change. To all you outraged posters, I say, haven’t we had enough of “enlightened” white people telling people of color how to solve their problems, run their governments, how to use their resources, what god to pray to, etc. Shame on you. Please reconsider your choice of Mexico and it’s “primitive” ways and re-locate to Sweden.
Vicky sounds like the kind of person to get things done:
- 4 of us will be going at 11:30 and doing what we do every other day….clean, feed, water, socialize the dogs (and any cats that might be there) at the upper pound. Someone always brings a chicken soup or canned food that we mix with the kibble. The dog that was dragged 60 feet will be there, so he will get cared for and lots of attention too, all knowing he has an injured leg and is traumatized. SO if anyone would like to know where the place is, or help a little today, you are certainly welcome. I have room in my truck for one more person, so can pick you up at Fabrica Aurora at 11:10, or at Mega at 11:40, or you can follow me in your vehicle. Thank you to all who truly care about the atrocities that are happening to these dogs and want to do something about it.
- The new Pound location (since Oct.) still has NO SIGNAGE. We have asked politely over and over again, and still nothing. I made a sign a few months ago thinking it would be taken down, but it surprising is still there. It’s not a great sign as I’m not good at something like this. It’s not big but it’s florescent green w/black lettering..CENTRO CANINO..with an arrow pointing down the dirt road. If anyone out there can help make a bigger and better sign, that would be terrific! It would have to be laminated as the rains will be here soon. We can help put it this weekend. Thank you in Advanced!
Crystal also sounds like someone to make things happen:
- I was also there yesterday to see first-hand what is not being addressed with Vikki (virginia) and I was astounded at the progress and attention to detail which was entrusted to the ten of us who were doing all the work which SHOULD be done by Ecologia. You would thing the employees would benefit from the free training provided by Vikki. Arno from Amigo de Animales was also there helping. Those of you who have plenty of time on your hands, please feel free to help us by BEING visible.
As does Amy:
- I help when I can, bringing down animal related supplies, drugs and equipment when needed for the local veterinarians and animal organizations. I have also had the great pleasure to bring back rescues from SMA, taking them to their new homes here in the US.
- Amigos deAnimales and their volunteers work so hard to do what they can, and the other countless people, many of whom are unnamed and unknown, who feed and shelter the homeless and needy animals of SMA, never asking for recognition or reimbursement.
- Over the years, I have been aware of what has been happening at the SMA “pound” and the inhumane care of the animals. I am really ashamed, actually, that I have, on purpose, not gone there, as quite frankly, and I do not mean this to be comical, I have been concerned that if I were to see the atrocities that go on there, that I would physically assault someone. And although I love Mexico and my beloved SMA, spending time in the local jail is not something that a “Dallas Diva” like myself could handle very well.
- I plan to drive down from Dallas to SMA in a few weeks, and with my arrival, I vow to make my presence known to the authorities and let them know that this situation and the inhumane treatment of the homeless animals there in SMA has made it’s way past the borders of Mexico. Now, does the community there want me to bring a film crew with me, prepared to film the daily activities and the treatment that the animals receive there? Any ideas, thoughts and suggestions are appreciated. I respect my fellow neighbors there in SMA, and I would never consider doing anything that in the long term would harm the community of SMA. But again, the animals are my priority, …