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Page last updated at 01:16 GMT, Saturday, 13 October 2007 02:16 UK

Fury at Puerto Rico pet killings

A dead dog covered with lime under a bridge in the northern town of Vega Baja
Officials covered corpses with lime to curb the stench

Dozens of cats and dogs living in housing schemes in Puerto Rico were reportedly thrown off a bridge by animal control workers.

A contractor hired by authorities in Barceloneta to enforce a no-pet policy has been blamed, said Associated Press.

Animal Control Solution was tasked to take the pets to a shelter, not hurl them off a bridge, the agency said.

Outraged Mayor Sol Luis Fontanez said he would sack the contractor. Animal Control Solution deny any wrongdoing.

"This is an irresponsible, inhumane and shameful act," the mayor was quoted as saying.

'Sedatives'

Animal Control Solution was reportedly paid $60 (29) per animal collected and another $100 (49) for each trip to a pet shelter in a suburb of Carolina.

Residents told reporters they saw the animal control workers inject the animals during raids on Monday and Wednesday.

Many were already dead when they threw them, but others were alive
Local resident

When questioned, the workers claimed the jabs were sedatives for the drive to the shelter.

But witnesses said they saw the pets and strays being thrown 50ft (15 metres) from a bridge in the neighbouring town of Vega Baja early on Tuesday.

"Many were already dead when they threw them, but others were alive," Jose Manuel Rivera, who lives next to the bridge, told AP.

City officials had to spread lime over the animal corpses to stifle the stench.

Animal Control Solution denied any of its employees threw pets off a bridge and insisted it always took animals to its local shelter to euthanise.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development said it allowed some Puerto Rican housing authorities to set pet rules but did not permit blanket bans or mass confiscation of animals.

SEE ALSO
Regions and territories: Puerto Rico
25 Jul 07 |  Country profiles


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