The city of Bogotà, Colombia, is home to an estimated 45,000 street dogs and cats. A government-sponsored organization called the Zoonosis Center of Bogotà has been given the task of carrying out the “surveillance, control and prevention of zoonoses (disease transference)” amongst the city’s homeless animals. While the Center does engage in adoption and sterilization programs, they also operate under a direct government order to kill at least 400 dogs and cats per week (an estimated 25,000 per year).
In Bogotà, pet homelessness is a significant problem, as it is in almost every other major city in the world. However, there are plenty of dedicated individuals and groups here, attempting to alleviate the animals’ suffering. Prepare to be impressed by the story of these cops who give up their free time once a week, after their working day is over, to feed and care for stray dogs!
Lieutenant Andrey Trujillo, pictured here with his adopted former street dog, started this unofficial initiative.
“We started a dog worming campaign about a year ago,” he explained to the BBC. This project was carried out in one of the most dangerous areas of Bogotà.
He believes that his beloved canine companion, Beto, is about two or three years old. He had been thinking of buying a purebred dog, before the sight of her beautiful face made him change his mind! At first, he said, Beto was “sick, malnourished, very nervous, and very shy.”
After falling in love with Beto, Trujillo was inspired to motivate his colleagues into going out once a week, to take care of other stray dogs.
The police department of Bogotà have provided them with a vehicle for this work while they purchase food and medicine for the dogs with their own money.
At the end of their working day – usually on a Thursday – three to five cops go out to different areas of Bogotà and the surrounding areas to feed and provide care to the street dogs they encounter.
Sometimes their job begins at eight in the evening, and does not end until after midnight. They are always accompanied by Beto – the dog who started it all.
This photo was taken in Cajicà, a town on the outskirts of Bogotà.
The dogs generally approach the cops very gradually, before happily accepting the food that is offered to them.
Doesn’t it just warm your heart to see how Trujillo and his colleagues go above and beyond the call of duty to help some of the most vulnerable residents of their city? While the stray dog crisis of Bogotà may, at first glance, appear to be pretty bleak, it is great to know that compassionate humans are out there, doing everything they can to help ease the animals’ plight.
All image source: BBC