Animal cruelty in Mexico City
Laws on animal welfare are needed in Mexico – Photo: File Photo/EL GRÁFICO

Animal cruelty in Mexico City

Mexico City
Montserrat Peralta & Carlos Carabaña
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The municipalities with more reports for animal cruelty in Mexico City are Iztapalapa, Gustavo A. Madero, Cuauhtémoc, Benito Juárez, and Coyoacán

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From 2008 to 2017, 4,078 cases involving dogs, cats, birds, and other animals have bee reported in Mexico City’s Environmental and Territorial Order Prosecutor (PAOT), according to the information obtained by EL UNIVERSAL via transparency. The municipalities with more reports are Iztapalapa, Gustavo A. Madero, Cuauhtémoc, Benito Juárez, and Coyoacán.

Samuel León, head of Continuing Education of the Bioethics University Program of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), explains that there is being a change in the capital, mainly because new generations consider animal cruelty more severe. “It is visible now, people talk about it, a denounce can be made,” he says.

Authorities have implemented mobile apps, a telephone line, and social networks to facilitate the reporting of cases.

Dogs have the most registers in the 3,349 reports before the PAOT. Mistreatment, illegal sale, and overcrowding are some of the events denounced in the files.


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The number of reports mentioning dogs increased 7,112% by passing from 16 cases in 2008 to a total of 1,154 in 2017.

“The problem of dogs in street situation is the thermometer that tells us which kind of society and irresponsible persons we have,” says Artemio Maya, founder of an animal shelter.

The telephone of the shelter rings between 10 to 15 times a day. Most of the times they are owners of dogs and cats that want to abandon their pets because they are moving or because they have a sick relative.

The visualization of violence against dogs is because they are the most common pets and the easy access to them makes us see more mistreatment, explains the doctor Claudia Edwards Patiño from the non-governmental organization Human Society International Mexico. According to her, there are two kinds of impacts that can be measured and observed in animals that have suffered mistreatment. One is the physical part, which in the worst cases can leave them hurt for life. The other is the psychological impact.

“Animals are afraid, get stressed, feel anguish; there can even be cases of animals with post-traumatic stress,” she says. They can also have changes in their behavior that lead them to depression, for which they will need treatment with a specialist.

As of cats, the PAOT has a register of 224 denounces in the same period. The figure increased tremendously to 1000% by passing from four reports in 2008 to 48 in 2017.

A lot of people think that cats are not mistreated because they are rarely seen during the day, but at night many of them have sequels of abandon and cruelty even worse than dogs, says Guadalupe Guerra, director of the association ProPerro.

Mexico is more empathetic with dogs because there is still a lot of people that think cats bring bad luck and become witches, asserts Claudia Edwards.


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Samuel León explains that in Mexico animals are not considered rights holders, but their welfare – that is, their basic needs – is protected by law. “Thus, in Mexico City [with the local Constitution], an important step was given when animals were considered sentient beings,” he highlights in an interview.

In the local Magna Carta, it was established that animals must receive a decent treatment and that every person “has an ethical duty and a legal obligation of respecting [their] life and integrity.”

It also considers animals in a different category to things, but not in the same category as people, they are sentient beings. That is, they have welfare that limits the freedom of action of human beings over them, in issues such as ownership, scientific research, entertainment, and religious manifestations.

For León, the creation of a law on animal welfare, whether federal or general, as well as its implementation in all the country is needed to standardize legislation.


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