Progreso drops plan to kill stray dogs in rabies crackdown

Progreso has abandoned plans to euthanize strays as a tactic to combat rabies. Photo: Sipse
Progreso has abandoned plans to euthanize strays as a tactic to combat rabies. Photo: Sipse

Progreso, Yucatán — Two weeks into a rabies scare, the City Council has backed down from a controversial method to contain the viral disease.

Officials have abandoned plans round up stray cats and dog and euthanize them.

Through an official communiqué, municipal government officials said they are aware of animal rights. They promised to pursue alternative measures as they fight further spread of rabies. 

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Progreso, Hoctún and Mérida have each reported cases of rabies in cats and dogs after a 20-year lull of the fatal virus. 

Health officials have gone door to door in affected neighborhoods to vaccinate domestic pets.

Stray dogs and cats will still be captured, but only vaccinated and sterilized, then released back to the streets after 48 hours. While under care, they are available for adoption.

Technically, the city was entitled to take the more drastic approach. Under the state code, authorities can choose to put down stray animals under a health risk.

Stray dogs roaming in packs and roof-hopping feral cats are a common sight in some neighborhoods, but the public is advised to avoid contact with stray animals. If bitten, seek medical attention, even if the animal shows no outward signs of being rabid. 

Rabies manifest in hostile or disoriented behavior. With prompt attention, rabies is totally preventable in humans with just a few shots in the arm, but it is almost always fatal in animals. 

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