Shocking video footage from the scene shows a dog that appears to have been burned alive.
Rabat – Shepherds and farmers allegedly culled up to 30 stray dogs in Hay Karima, a neighborhood in Rabat’s twin city Sale, on January 5. The shepherds say that they feared for the safety of their flocks after the dogs had killed some of their sheep.
Mejdouline Fares was one of eight concerned citizens who rushed to the scene. Some members of the group were volunteers with La Tribu des Quat’pattes, an animal shelter in Rabat.
The shepherds told the group that a pack of stray dogs had killed 15 of their sheep. The shepherds said that they had called municipal authorities to exterminate the dogs, but the authorities allegedly told the shepherds to pay for the bullets.
“They are poor, they can’t afford that,” a witness and member of La Tribu des Quat’pattes told Morocco World News. “So they took the initiative to kill [the dogs] themselves.”
“The bigger problem is that they didn’t only kill them, they tortured them,” said the witness, asking to remain anonymous. “We found dogs with large stones on their heads, others had [stab wounds].”
“We found a pregnant dog that was completely burned,” she continued. “We think she was burned alive because of the expression on her face. We found puppies buried alive.”
The source said that the group found more than ten bodies of dogs at the scene, which is an empty lot and unofficial dumping ground. The farmers and shepherds said that they had killed 30 dogs in total.
Sale police are conducting an investigation into the incident.
Volunteers with La Tribu des Quat’pattes are still struggling to catch the only dog left alive to give him medical treatment.
“People should understand this is not normal behavior,” the witness said. “If you do it to the dogs, you can do it to a girl, a boy, a small kid who has no one to defend him. You can do it to a woman, a handicapped person.”
Video footage from the scene is extremely graphic and may not be suitable for all viewers.
No legal protection for dogs in Morocco
The witness expressed that it is difficult to ask people to care about animal welfare when their own livelihoods are at stake.
“For them, the sheep are money. I completely understand, but they have to understand we cannot do this kind of thing in this country,” she said, referring to the brutal slaughter. “We cannot accept this kind of behavior.”
She said that although the police are involved and know who committed the acts, it is unlikely that any of them will be prosecuted.
“In view of the law, even if I make a complaint, the law can not punish them for crimes against dogs,” she explained. “If it had been cows or farm animals, the law has something to protect them. But for dogs, there is no law.”
“The services of the city are [killing dogs],” the witness continued. “So how can we say to this shepherd, you have no right to kill the dogs?”
“We have to encourage people to be more human—not to love dogs but to realize that these actions are against religion, against humanity. There’s no way to accept them.”
Animal welfare associations in Morocco are supporting the ongoing police investigation into the incident.
If you would like to join the fight for animal rights in Morocco, check out some of these organizations: