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Dogs poisoned in Mexico City park alarms residents

Romi, a 10-month-old pitbull, died of poisoning after being taken for a walk in Parque Mexico. The case would have been forgotten if almost 20 other dogs in the area had not already died that way, a growing cause for concern among residents of the elegant Condesa neighbourhood in the Mexican capital.

While regretting the loss and acknowledging that some people “don’t agree with having dogs here”, Romi’s owners worry that public spaces are becoming “a health risk” for pets and for people.

Alexander Segovia and Mayra Villar told EFE that on their last stroll through Parque Mexico, Romi played with other dogs and drank as usual from a trough for pets, but a few minutes later the pitbull began suffering convulsions.

They rushed their pet to a veterinarian, but he could do nothing to save its life. Romi soon died of cardio-respiratory arrest brought on by poisoning.

The pitbull thus joined the many dogs that have died of poisoning since September 29 after romping around Condesa, a downtown Mexico City neighbourhood whose multiple restaurants, bars and cafes, and also parks, attract many visitors.

Though nine complaints have now been filed by the owners of dogs that were poisoned, unofficial records show at least 18 such cases.

Staff members at one of the veterinary clinics that treated some of the poisoned pets confirmed that their symptoms included vomiting, excessive salivating and convulsions.

In response to the concern of local residents and park visitors, the Public Safety Secretariat of Mexico City formed an Animal Watch Brigade to track those responsible for the poisonings and in that way avoid putting children and homeless people at risk.

Alexander and Mayra permitted the body of Romi, which they had adopted just four months ago, to be taken to the laboratories of the National Autonomous University of Mexico for an autopsy.

Romi’s body and that of another poisoned pet named Daisy are now the basis of a forensic investigation that will conceivably turn up new evidence that will lead to the apprehension of the guilty party.