July 14, 2009
On Behalf of One Dog: Fighting Cruelty in Mexico
Nayarit case prompts protests
The life of a street dog in Mexico isn’t easy. Finding safe food and water, and shelter from the heat; avoiding cars; being fast enough to dodge people who mean you harm. The last one is especially important, since animal cruelty laws in Mexico are sometimes vague, frequently not prosecuted, and carry the most minimal penalties. This must be changed.
Cruelty leads to tragedy
Last month, one dog in Nayarit wasn’t fast enough, and a group of four young men beat and killed him, also inciting their dogs to participate. They posted pictures and video of the attack online. As punishment, the teenagers were expelled from school, will participate in psychological treatment and community service, and required to pay a fine of 400 pesos ($30 US). This is simply not enough. HSI is asking government officials to address the need for strict laws against animal cruelty and ensure they are actively enforced.
Calls for action
We must stand with the local community of Nayarit, which held rallies (to which many brought their own dogs) calling for better protections for animals. Protests in other states throughout Mexico have followed. These activities confirm that the people of Mexico find this cruelty intolerable and demand a change in laws for animals and their implementation, for although there is a federal law in Mexico that addresses animal protection, there are no regulations to enforce it. States are left with no guidelines to effectively deal with animal abusers, and lack of knowledge concerning animal protection and the importance of respect for nonhuman life prevents local authorities from taking action.
Animal cruelty should be rejected in any society—for its own sake, and because of the established links between animal abuse and violence towards people. In a country experiencing high levels of violent crime, it is especially important not to dismiss acts that can be precursors to future violent crimes. The federal and state governments of Mexico cannot continue to tolerate such levels of violence, ignoring or dismissing the rampant examples of animal abuse that go unpunished across the nation.