On the morning of August 30, Guillermina Galván, an acupuncturist and animal rescuer, left the animal sanctuary she built and where she lives to work.
When he returned, the sanctuary where he lived with 60 dogs, four cats and a lizard, was destroyed.
Galván, 45, said he was in his office tending to a patient when he received a message saying that machinery was destroying the sanctuary he opened earlier this year.
He thought it wasn’t true, but when he returned he saw the trailers and trucks still in place while his dogs and cats withered away. He then started a Facebook broadcast where he asked for help.
Galvan later learned that three of his dogs and a cat died in the incident.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Galván said when he remembered what happened. “I don’t know what will happen. “I don’t know if I’ve heard of anything like this happening before in any country.”
According to the authorities, the incident was caused by a land dispute. The private company that authorities said was involved in the eviction said the land belonged to it. But Galvan said he started the process of acquiring the land last November.
The incident caused outrage in Baja California, with elected leaders and activists condemning the incident.
“Regardless of this confrontation between individuals, we do not agree that the machines enter and that there is no judicial procedure and that the dogs are killed,” said the mayor of Ensenada, Armando Ayala.
The governor of Baja California, Marina del Pilar Ávila, said on social media that she was aware of the “terrible attack” against the shelter, adding that there was no punishment.
The Office of the Attorney General of Baja California announced this week that a criminal proceeding has been initiated against the person or persons responsible for the crimes of property damage to other people, animal abuse and theft.
During the processing of the scene, a machine belonging to a construction company was found inside the property, where the remains of three dogs were found, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Another truck with a gondola-type box contained debris, wood, household remains, personal items, appliances and the body of a cat inside, it was reported.
“This case, certainly, will not go unpunished,” said the Attorney General of Baja California, María Elena Andrade.
The penal code of Baja California establishes that “anyone who intentionally commits any act of cruelty or cruelty against an animal shall be sentenced to three months to two years in prison.”
Frank Ortiz, strategic litigation coordinator of Abogados Animalistas México – made up of animal rights lawyers – said they hope that this case will leave a precedent and that the penalties for the crime of animal cruelty will be tough.
“The fact in itself is horrible, imagining the suffering of animals under that machinery is very horrible,” he said.
In a post on Facebook, Ayala pointed to the company Pétreos del Pacífico as allegedly responsible for what happened. Ayala announced the closure of the company, arguing that it lacked the permits needed to operate.
In a statement, the company defended itself against the accusations. “We deny harming any animals with our machinery, during the cleaning of our property.”
In that statement, the company—which is located near the sanctuary—insisted that it owns the property where the sanctuary is located, and no one was present when the company’s personnel arrived when that happened.
The company added that it is at the disposal of the prosecutor’s office and any authority “to provide all the elements to prove our statement.”
Roberto Curiel, the company’s general director, maintained in a telephone interview that the animals were not killed. He said the workers released the animals from their home when they arrived at the site.
When asked about the animals found by the prosecution, he said he thought the cat might have been attacked by dogs, and that the carcasses of the dogs were not in the trucks when the workers left the site. for the investigation to continue.
The prosecutor’s office investigated the incident and reported in a statement that the remains of the animals were taken to a veterinary clinic for necropsies.
Galván said that before the incident, no one from the said company had contacted him. Curiel said that a letter was left at the scene.
Galván has been fond of animals since his childhood. He grew up in Santa María, California, and lived in Mexico for 13 years. With his own resources, he opened the Guillermina Sanctuary in the community of San Carlos in Ensenada to rescue dogs from the streets and find them a home.
He said he was touched by the support he received from the community after what happened. People came forward to donate dog cages and other items that were lost after the incident. “I want to take the opportunity to tell everyone ‘protect all the animals in the world’.”
Once the corresponding investigations are completed, you can rebuild your shrine. Currently, he lives in the area inside his car.
Galván said what he was looking for after this incident. “I want them to never do it again. spot”.