Animal abuse is wrong, no matter where in the world it takes place. A woman accused of poisoning a 5-month-old puppy in Iquitos, Peru, was recently convicted in the dog’s death.
After seven months of procedures, the 3rd Counsel Magistrates Court ordered Sandra Milagros Padilla Alvis to pay fines of 2,000 Peruvian Nuevo Soles, which will cost her one-fourth of her income for nearly seven months.
Padilla poisoned and killed the puppy named Arthas, owned by Alfredo Martín Díaz García. The court sentenced her for offenses against morality under an animal abuse and cruelty code.
The verdict in the impoverished part of South America sets a legal precedent in Peru. It came with the help of the nonprofit organization Amazon CARES, which has been in Peru since 2004.
Amazon CARES stands for Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education, and Safety. It is the only animal welfare organization for domestic animals in the Amazon region.
“Amazon CARES, in partnership with the Iquitos Bar Association, had been working with legislative officials to enforce and strengthen animal cruelty laws,” says the group’s founder and executive director, Molly Mednikow. “This case, of a [woman] intentionally poisoning and killing her neighbor’s puppy, is the first case we have brought to trial.”
On Feb. 18, Padilla threatened to end the life of Arthas. The next day the woman stayed true to her word, poisoning and killing the little dog.
From its beginning, Amazon CARES has focused on community education about the rights of animals. Many local municipalities have used mass poisonings of stray animals as a method for population control. Thanks to Amazon CARES, this environmentally hazardous approach has been abandoned. The group undertook a campaign of educating, lobbying, and forming partnerships that promised a more humane approach to overpopulation through aimal birth control.
When Mednikow got involved in the group, she recalls a local circus paying people for healthy dogs — to feed to lions. Her group promptly chased the circus out of town.
For all their good work, however, cruelty toward animals remains.
After losing the puppy Diaz said it was time for justice. His speaking up is a sign of progress for Amazon CARES, which advocates people to stand up against such abuse.
“Maybe Amazon CARES has played a hand in reducing it, but the culture of Peru, like many Third World nations, is that street animals are pests, spreading disease and causing a public nuisance,” Mednikow says.
Amazon CARES has a no-kill shelter and adoption program, although its main focus is on trap-neuter-return programs and education efforts. Learn more and get involved by visiting www.amazoncares.com. One victory at a time.
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