It has been only three weeks since Morocco’s Ministry of Interior announced reforms to decrease Morocco’s stray dog population through sterilization.
Rabat – Despite Morocco’s recently-announced animal welfare reforms, local authorities allegedly authorized the slaughter of dozens of stray dogs on December 10 in Dar Bouazza, a coastal town near Casablanca.
“It was chaos,” one witness said to Morocco World News, choosing to remain anonymous.
Another resident of the neighborhood woke up to the sound of gunshots at 6:30 am on Tuesday and immediately went looking for the dogs. The resident faced off with the armed men and called for help, and a crowd soon gathered.
“When they saw the crowd they moved,” the witness said. “We followed them, trying to save the dogs we feed.”
The source went on to describe an act of what can only be described as bravery.
“The only way [to stop the killing] was to be among the dogs so they can’t shoot. The guys still pointed the guns to threaten us to move.”
When the group refused to back down, the two teams of authorized gunmen retreated. But this is not the end, the witness warned.
“As soon as we stop them, they [will] disappear and go to another neighborhood.”
The witness reported that the authorized gunmen killed between 50 and 80 dogs, “but it [could] be more.”
The dogs had been neutered and vaccinated by the community, according to the witness, but the tags on their ears did not save them from the bullets.
“We really love those dogs, and more and more people are changing their views toward strays,” the witness said. “We do our best and it’s still not enough.”
MWN contacted Dar Bouazza officials for comment on the alleged slaughter of stray dogs but got no response.
It has been only three weeks since Morocco’s Ministry of Interior signed an agreement with the agriculture and health sectors, along with the National Veterinarians Authority, to decrease Morocco’s stray dog population through sterilization.
Local and international animal welfare groups have long been calling for a large-scale TNR program (trap, neuter, return) to ethically reduce the stray dog population. The November 21 announcement sparked celebrations throughout the kingdom and abroad amongst animal welfare activists.
To some residents of Dar Bouazza, the animal welfare reforms are nothing but empty promises.
“The problem of stray dogs deserves a solution, certainly, but a functional solution,” another resident said to MWN. “Slaughtering the dogs only has the effect that other dogs will take their place.”