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ANIMAL WELFARE

Bhamdoun municipality denies responsibility after poisoning of over 20 dogs

Bhamdoun municipality denies responsibility after poisoning of over 20 dogs

Two stray dogs in Aley's Ras al-Jabal neighborhood, last year, where residents say someone laid out chicken bones laced with Lannate poison. May 25, 2023. (Credit: Richard Salame/L'Orient Today)

BEIRUT — Over 20 dogs died after being poisoned by an unknown perpetrator in Bhamdoun, Aley district, south of Beirut last week, the municipality of the town said in a statement. Activists in the region and social media users had accused the municipality of being behind the crime.

Under Lebanese law, it is illegal to poison stray animals, and municipalities are responsible for managing their stray populations, including creating management plans for them.

On June 18, animal rights activist Ghina Nahfawi posted on X videos showing dogs suffering from poisoning and others, from CCTV cameras dating back to June 15, of suspects spreading poison and "checking on the dogs to see if they were killed."

According to her, the suspects used Lannate, an insecticide, and "rat poison" to kill 27 dogs that had been part of a "project" allowing their stay in the village "without disturbing anyone," after they were neutered and sterilized. 

On Wednesday, the municipality stated, "The heinous crime committed against several dogs within the town is an inhumane act condemned and denounced by the municipality, its president, members and employees." The municipality expressed surprise at what it called a "defamation campaign" it faced through social media, "falsely accusing it of responsibility" for poisoning and killing the dogs.

The municipality clarified that it is working with relevant animal welfare associations to ensure a safe environment for these dogs and to minimize any risks they may pose to citizens due to their presence in the town.

The municipality announced its intention to file a lawsuit against those "who defamed it and spread baseless accusations" and noted that "it will submit all accusations made against them on social media to the appropriate security authorities and the cybercrime bureau for verification."

The Veterinary Syndicate in Lebanon issued a statement of condemnation, stating that "these dogs had previously undergone neutering and vaccination at the clinic of Dr. Nidal Hassan, President of the Syndicate, and thus posed no harm. There is no justification for their violent and brutal killing in this manner."

Under the Lebanese penal code, poisoning animals is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from three months to two years.

The poisoning of stray dogs occurs almost yearly in Lebanon. Last year, unknown persons poisoned tens of dogs in Aley, resulting in several deaths. Residents had discovered caches of poisoned chicken bones deliberately placed where locals distribute food to the city’s stray dogs.

To date, residents don't know who laid the poison.

BEIRUT — Over 20 dogs died after being poisoned by an unknown perpetrator in Bhamdoun, Aley district, south of Beirut last week, the municipality of the town said in a statement. Activists in the region and social media users had accused the municipality of being behind the crime.Under Lebanese law, it is illegal to poison stray animals, and municipalities are responsible for managing their...