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Tijuana’s municipal health department has begun a citywide operation to hunt down, capture, and kill dogs found running loose on the streets in an effort to stem an outbreak of illnesses caused by the tick-borne bacterium Rickettsia.

“If you have a dog, guard it carefully and make sure it doesn’t go into the street because after Monday, May 18, the Municipal Health Department will implement an intense operation to capture street dogs as part of the preventive measures being taken against Rickettsia in the city,” warned the Tijuana daily Frontera.

In Mexicali, where the outbreak began, 1600 dogs have already been captured and put to death, according to the Baja California secretary of health.

By late April, 9 of 14 people infected with a mysterious disease had died in three of Mexicali’s poorest neighborhoods. Health authorities now say they believe the illnesses may have been caused by Rickettsia, but only nine cases have been confirmed by blood tests.

On May 12, health officials announced the first confirmed case in Tijuana — a boy who lives in the Francisco Villa neighborhood. According to various news reports, the child was infected by a tick bite but is recovering from his illness.

Normally, owners have 72 hours to claim their pets in the city’s dog pound, but Tijuana health officials are recommending that dogs captured in the street be immediately euthanized. Officials have also ordered the fumigation of public schools. Health authorities recommend that anyone experiencing headache, high fever, and general malaise should go immediately to one of the six special centers set up across the city for evaluation.

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thestoryteller May 18, 2009 @ 10:56 a.m.

The sad thing is, I've heard that euthanasia is not done as humanely as it's done here--by tranqing first. I've heard they electrocute them anally, or worse.


David Dodd May 18, 2009 @ 2:21 p.m.

There are not enough resources in Tijuana to accomplish this task. It's a ridiculous notion to think that Tijuana is suddenly going to employ thousands of dog-catchers to round up the thousands of stray dogs in this city. It won't happen on any grand scale.

Also note that doxycycline, available here over-the-counter, is quite effective in eliminating Rickettsia-related infections.

Also note that animals in Tijuana that are euthanized are done so by a quick lethal injection.


thestoryteller May 18, 2009 @ 3:24 p.m.

My friend has been volunteering with the Baja Animal Sanctuary for years and has spoken of electrocutions.


David Dodd May 18, 2009 @ 3:30 p.m.

Your friend is pulling your leg. I live a block away from a vet here, and I've had two sick strays put down. Both were injected.


David Dodd May 18, 2009 @ 4:09 p.m.

It proves that your statement about "what you've heard" is incorrect. Pentobarbital is relatively inexpensive, and is obviously much easier and faster to administer than whatever anal probe you are referring to. What little amount of animal control exists in Tijuana often administers the drug on-site, when necessary to put down an animal.


thestoryteller May 18, 2009 @ 8:39 p.m.

The Humane Society of the United States, May 1, 2007. www.hsus.org

"Electrocution is still the main form of euthanasia in Mexico's shelters, even though The American Veterinary Medical Association considers this method inhumane and ineffective. There are currently movements within Mexico to educate municipalities on the use of Sodium Pentobarbital as a means of euthanasia. Doug Fakkema of AIPA of The Summerlee Foundation expounded upon the benefits of ousting electrocution in favor of s.p., which is inexpensive and not patented. He is now involved in a program in Monterrey to distribute s.p. throughout Mexico."


David Dodd May 18, 2009 @ 9:03 p.m.

  1. Your link is over two years old. The information from the link is probably oder than that.

  2. Tijuana, and Baja California in general does not euthanize animals using electrocution. Since I do not live in remote areas of Mexico, I have no empirical evidence to argue against the article, but apparently you have an agenda and I do not. However, I highly recommend that rather than link HSUS articles, you should make a call to Baja officials and obtain proper information before reaching an incorrect conclusion. I don't know what happens in Irapuato, but I certainly know what happens here.

  3. Note that your quote supports my statements, that Pentobarbital is inexpensive (cheaper even than electrocution). Baja is a relatively rich region, it can and does afford the use of that drug in euthanizing animals. I really don't care whether or not you believe me, many people wish to believe crap about Mexico that isn't true.


thestoryteller May 18, 2009 @ 10:27 p.m.

I would have said we were both right, but you are so consistently rude and obnoxious, why bother? You think you know better than everyone. Now you know better than The Humane Society of The United States. If I worked for The Reader, I'd block your comments and toss you out. Why let you drag this website down with your constant B.S.?


magicsfive May 18, 2009 @ 10:34 p.m.

come on you guys....you are both trying to provide useful information about a sensitive subject. mindy why are you so angry? refried is not (the way i see it) trying to be an ahole, just trying to give some facts, just the same as you are....let's not let the fighting start all over again...what point does it serve? and really, why would you want to toss him, or any one of us out? i just dont get the animosity. i really don't. my 2 cents, that's all.


David Dodd May 18, 2009 @ 10:57 p.m.

"I would have said we were both right, but you are so consistently rude and obnoxious, why bother?"

Mindy, I get that you don't like me, and you don't have to. I haven't been rude to you, nor obnoxious. I'm simply stating my opinion based on seventeen years of empirical observations living here. If you think that you know more about Tijuana than I do, so be it. I would never make comments concerning where you live unless I was sure of them.

"You think you know better than everyone. Now you know better than The Humane Society of The United States."

I do know better than the HSUS concerning Northern Baja.

"If I worked for The Reader, I'd block your comments and toss you out. Why let you drag this website down with your constant B.S.?"

Mindy, this comment pretty much proves that you're a jerk. If I worked for the Reader, I wouldn't block your comments at all. You have the right to say whatever you feel, even if it's incorrect. You made a statement concerning the treatment of animals in an article related to Tijuana. I corrected your misconception. If it bothers you to read my correction, then feel free to not comment on matters related to Baja, and I won't have to correct you.


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