Monday, May 9, 2016

Pit-bulls in Peril - PART 1

This is the story of 54 pit-bull dogs that were caught up in a life-threatening situation.  However,  thanks to many kind volunteers, they now have the opportunity to experience the joy of living.

This ordeal began in mid-March of 2016 when someone made an anonymous report to animal welfare activists in Tijuana stating that a semi-truck (18 wheeler) had pulled into a remote part of the Arroyo Alamar, delivering about 50 Pitbull dogs to an irregular property located at: AVENIDA DEL VERGEL #128 COLONIA ALAMAR, TIJUANA. Other anonymous claims stated that the dogs spent the entire day under the direct sun (no shade). Some even claim that one night one of the dogs was barking repeatedly and after a gunshot was heard, the barking ceased. Everything is anonymous because local residents are continuously threatened not to say anything about what they see or hear.

Arroyo Alamar is a community commonly known to be an “invasion” or “irregular”. The reason is that this part of Tijuana was originally a 3 mile long trench for runoff during the rainy seasons. The area floods and homes are washed away. During dry spells, however, poor families clear spots of land and build homes or shacks to live in. Local Tijuana government has intended to move these families to other areas by giving them land, but the story repeats itself and as of this day many families and other people continue to reside at Arroyo Alamar. This area is notorious for delinquency and is considered by some as “no-man’s land”.

On March 21st, 2016 animal control was advised about this case and on March 22nd, 2016 they made a visit, accompanied by animal rights activists and two municipal police canine units. The police offered support in establishing a dialogue with the person in charge of the animals (NOT THE ACTUAL OWNER).
The person in charge of the animals indicated that the owner was “Caucasian and resided in Los Angeles”. He never gave the owner’s name nor did he provide any additional information about him. He did state that they had those dogs as clandestine breeders and that they were not used for fighting. Upon inspecting the animals we immediately noticed that they had serious wounds and no individual water or food, and absolutely no shade.
The chief officer at the CERRO COLORADO delegation of the 10th district transported this individual to the local judge as a courtesy to Animal Control (this man was not under arrest). After hearing their story and seeing the preliminary reports, both the judge and the police chief officer sided with the men determining that there was “no animal mistreatment,” that the animals “were not suffering abuse” and even made sarcastic comments insinuating that animal control couldn’t even handle that amount of animals if they were confiscated. He scheduled an open hearing in order to establish a dialogue with the actual owner of the dogs.
The hearing took place on March 24th, 2016 with media reporters present, where Attorney Raymundo Contreras [Legal representative of the alleged owner] handed over 54 vaccination charts (without vaccine stickers) that all had the date “March 23, 2016” written on the inside, expressing that those animals had no previous veterinary attention prior to that date.  A local veterinarian [Dr. Portugal] sent a formal letter in which he established that he was medically in charge of these animals and explained that the idea for a Pitbull breeder had already been in place for 7 years. This report was handed over to those present at the hearing (it contained several dubious accrediting seals). The rightful “owner” was nowhere to be seen, nor did the attorney provide any name or true address.

The judge determined that the owner would be given 40 days to improve the conditions of the dogs and that he was to comply with the requirements established by law in order to run a legal breeder. This included taking immediate measures to improve the dogs’ quality of life, such as: individual water bowls, food and appropriate shade, and even placing them on longer chains immediately.
On April 1st, 2016 Animal Control, accompanied by HSTJ Veterinarian, Dr. Angel Gonzales, as well as some law enforcement and other animal rights and animal activist organization members. These visited the premises to witness the conditions of the animals. They all arrived early in the morning and could plainly see that the dogs were still in the same conditions --and in direct violation of the judge’s orders. HSTJ's veterinarian, along with other vets present that day, assessed the dog’s overall health. Out of the 54 dogs found, 17 are females and 37 are males. None were pregnant. None were sterilized. They immediately appeared to be people-friendly, but they were ill. 29 had terrible skin infections, and 32 had eye and ear infections, 18 had terribly infected skin conditions, among many other health problems caused by poor living conditions. 

Authorities determined that the dogs must be secured temporarily at the Animal Control facility for the remainder of the duration of the 40-day grace period granted by the judge.


What will happen to these dogs?

*** UPDATE***
FOR PICTURES AND THE LATEST ON THESE DOGS,
PLEASE SEE THE POST: "Pit-bulls in Peril - PART 2"