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Pet owners file US$22.5 million lawsuit following Puerto Rico pet massacre

The Associated Press

Published: October 20, 2007



SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: Pet owners whose dogs and cats were thrown to their deaths from a bridge have filed a multimillion dollar (euro) lawsuit against the company that took the animals away and others they claimed were involved in the killings.


The US$22.5 million (€15.6 million) claim was filed in federal court Friday against Puerto Rico's public housing director, the municipality of Barceloneta, its mayor, the owner of a private animal control company and several others.


The 45 plaintiffs — whose pets were snatched this month when local authorities enforced a no-pet rule in the island's public housing — are seeking US$500,000 (€350,000) each.


Animal control workers seized dozens of dogs and cats from three housing projects in northwestern Puerto Rico on Oct. 8 and 10, beating, drugging, and then launching at least 50 of the animals to their deaths off a bridge, the lawsuit claims.


The lawsuit says the owners had to watch as their animals were taken, injected with "unknown chemicals" and slammed into vehicles.

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"The family pets that survived the initial brutality were thrown from a bridge," it says.


Police have confirmed the involvement of Animal Control Solutions.


A telephone message seeking comment on the lawsuit from the office of the company's owner, Julio Diaz, was not immediately returned. Diaz earlier this week said the animals were taken to his offices near San Juan, euthanized and placed in refrigerators — not hurled from the Vega Baja bridge.


Barceloneta Mayor Sol Luis Fontanes, who is also named in the suit, told The Associated Press Saturday that he had urged pet owners to file complaints with the police.


"I understand that it's fair and reasonable that they proceed to a lawsuit," Fontanes said.


He confirmed that Animal Control Solutions, the municipality of Barceloneta and the public housing administration were involved in the incident, but declined further comment.


The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

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It's really bad for dogs in Puerto Rico. My own Buddy was a rescue dog from there. He was cleaned up and shipped up to Sterling Animal Shelter in Massachusetts by the kind ladies who run this organization:




There are all kinds of petitions floating around the 'net to improve the treatment of dogs in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, I think the main concern of the government there is to save the tourist industry - so for them, killing hundreds of dogs is a lot easier way to clean up the beaches than educating people about not breeding, fixing their dogs, etc., etc..


Buddy was lucky and made it up here with just some fear, reactivity, worms, and malnutrition. Some of the others come up here with broken legs, burns, etc., etc..




Before: after a few months in Puerto Rico, getting cleaned up, treated, and brought from 28 lbs. to 36 lbs:




After two years, at his normal weight of 43 lbs. and much happier!





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Mary - that first photo is so sad, he looks so unhappy and scared. He looks like a different dog now - happy and obviously loved. Such a handsome boy.



Kelpie Girl - That is awful, what a horrible thing for all the animals and the owners too.


It reminds me of some stuff i found a while back on the web that really affected me. I think it was China (maybe wrong) where they had some problems with i think Rabies or something. I didn't read too much, the pictures were disturbing enough. They took dog's away from the owners and beat them to death, they also did this in the streets. I would imagine a lot of folk know this but at the time i was really upset seeing it as i hadn't a clue that this went on. I can see those photo's now in my head still. I can't understand how some people can be so cruel.

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