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Animal rights activists storm Mérida shelter, rescue 40 dogs and 2 cats

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Saving them from death row, 50 protestors in Mérida made their way into a municipal facility to save dozens of cats and dogs sheltered there.

Animal rights activists claim that the poor conditions in which animals are kept are in violation of international standards. The 40 dogs and two cats would have been killed if not claimed after 72 hours, they said.

Activists also made an appeal to Mérida Mayor Renán Barrera to ensure that all municipal animal control facilities be revamped and operated under a no-kill policy. 

The stated goal of the Municipal Animal Control Center is to reduce the number of cats and dogs living on Mérida streets. The center also hosts animal adoption programs and initiatives designed to contain the spread of rabies.

Raúl Argaez, a well-known local activist, claimed that the cramped living conditions make things worse.

“If the dogs and cats are not sick when they arrive at the center, they certainly will be soon, as they are practically stacked on top of each other,” Argaez said.

According to researcher Antonio Ortega, faculty of veterinary medicine at the UADY, the growing population of street dogs in Yucatán has become a serious public health concern. Dogs are capable of communicating over 65 different diseases to humans, including rabies, leptospirosis and salmonellosis.

Evolución Animal, a nonprofit organization in Mérida, stresses the importance of spaying and neutering campaigns.

“Spayed and neutered dogs are less likely to roam the streets in search of a mate, therefore reducing the chance of a lost or injured pet. As a civilized society, we have the responsibility to do our best to ensure that unwanted births do not occur,” the shelter organization states.

Problems related to Mérida’s stray animal population are on the rise, as many owners have abandoned their pets fearing reports of their ability to spread COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization, cats and dogs who have been in contact with persons infected with COVID-19 have in fact tested positive for the virus. However, there is no evidence that animals such as dogs and cats are capable of transmitting COVID-19 to human beings. 

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