Animal rights protestors have blockaded the gates of Mérida’s municipal animal control center.
The protestors set up camp outside of the facility and took to laying on mats and pieces of cardboard to demonstrate their commitment to settling the issue without violence.
The activists say that they are fed up with the city’s broken promises and will not move until Mayor Renán Barrera shows up personally to address their grievances.
Complaints about Mérida’s municipal animal control center are nothing new. Nearly a year ago, 50 protestors made their way to the facility to save dozens of cats and dogs from allegedly abusive practices.
The activists argue that aside from being immoral, the conditions within the municipal facility are a violation of international laws intended to protect animal welfare.
The activists are also concerned that their previous demand that the facility adopts a no-kill policy has fallen on deaf ears.
The aim of the municipal animal control center is to reduce the number of cats and dogs living on city streets. It also hosts animal adoption drives, spay and neutering campaigns, as well as initiatives to contain the spread of diseases such as rabies.
But critics of the facility argue that cramped living conditions combined with poor nutrition and general treatment are in violation of international standards and law.
Most dogs in Yucatán are not sterilized and only add to the stray animal population. Mérida’s city government and several organizations have taken up the task of sterilizing pets for free, however, when approached many owners refuse to have their pets altered.
Problems related to Mérida’s stray animal population have been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to animal rights organizations and clinics including Evolucíon Animal.
According to the state Ministry of Health (SSY), more than 50,000 dogs and cats roam the streets in Yucatán. Annually, 2,000 dogs die in the streets of Mérida, an average of five a day.