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Dog rescue begins in Chichen Itza archeological zone

Government cooperates with private groups to control the population, treat ailing animals

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A stray dogs at Chichen Itza makes a friend. Photo: Cultur

Stray dogs roaming Chichen Itza will be cared for under a program that began Monday.

Mauricio Diaz Montalvo of Cultur and representatives of four non-governmental organizations, accompanied by INAH, announced the Operacion Rescate de Perritos de Chichen Itza (Chichen Itza Dog Rescue Operation) at the famous archaeological zone.

“It is a matter of sustainability that we attend as requested by the governor, Mauricio Vila Dosal, and we thank civil society for their effort and contribution, so that together we can find the best solution to this issue,” Diaz Montalvo said Monday.

After an extensive tour of the area to locate the stray dogs, the pro-animal groups agreed to carry out a “Comprehensive Rescue Plan” that defines, step by step and with precise timing, what should be done to achieve the best results for people, for the area and for the animals themselves.

The animal-shelter group Adopta, represented by Natalia Uprimng; Azalia May Ceballos, from Cinco Patas; Lourdes Duran, from Perpopolis; and Planned Pethood‘s director Antonio Rios were present for the initial search of the grounds, along with archaeologist Juan Octavio Juárez Rodríguez, an expert in Chichen Itza’s landscape.

The rescue plan involves capturing the dogs, diagnosing any illnesses and treating them accordingly. Some will be offered for adoption.

Some dogs will be allowed to stay, but they must be friendly and wear collars. They will also be sterilized.

Dogs had been fairly absent from the site for about 15 years until about six months ago. Compassionate merchants and tourists fed them, encouraging the perro population to grow. The stray-dog situation is under control at the moment, but authorities are guarding against overpopulation.

The strays prey on iguanas and other small animals, sometimes racing up the steps of the Castillo de Chichén to catch them. But they have not caused any damage at the site, INAH said.

During the tour, the first dog they found was Hookah, a friendly INAH staff mascot. “This dog can stay here without any problem,” one of the officials said.

Then they ran into a puppy they called Bisquit, who had a benign, treatable tumor on his neck. Three other smaller pups by the Sacred Cenote fled when authorities tried to leave them food.

While similar stray-dog situations also occur in virtually all of Yucatan’s archeological sites, the operation at Chichen Itza is the first of its kind.

“We are going to work where INAH allows us,” said the director general of Cultur.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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