Horrific cruelty to a dog in Bolivia by a military official has sparked outrage nationwide and people are demanding punishment.
Sub-lieutenant Jorge Muriel is under fire for torturing and killing a stray dog during class at the Military College of Engineering (EMI) to teach first-year students that they need to desensitized.
Muriel had asked students that morning to bring him any dog they could find on the street, he then proceeded to cut him with a knife and take his guts out.
“Apparently he wanted to demonstrate an act of courage, to be desensitized, he even painted the students’ faces with the dog’s blood. The animal was sweet, had collar and was vaccinated. He killed him,” said Susana Carpio, president of animal welfare organization Animales SOS.
Carpio added that the dog’s name was Locky and he had ran away from his home while his owner went out shopping.
“He was tortured, bound and disemboweled alive,” said Carpio. “Such cowardly acts are not part of the military training. You cannot poison young minds, is a violation of the human rights. He’s a coward.”
Bolivian law prohibits the use of animals for military training. Article 1 of the Ministerial Resolution 0217 of 30 March 2009, resolved “to prohibit any act of violence, exploitation, abuse or likely to kill or exterminate animals belonging to a wild species or traditionally living in the environment of man, in practice, education and military training of the Armed Forces.”
Muriel has been suspended for four days until the Disciplinary Board’s meeting is held.
“Unfortunately, he [Muriel] has engaged in an action that is punishable under rules issued by the Army Command. We have requested the corresponding reports, the officer was suspended and is on the Disciplinary Board to sanction him according to his behaviour. An action of this nature was not planned,” said colonel Álvaro Ríos, EMI director.
Animales SOS is demanding the board to expel Muriel from the army completely. “We demand [Muriel] to be permanently expelled from the EMI and for our part we will initiate a process for compensation for the owners of the dog because the law does not sanction the killing of animals,” said Carpio.
Animales SOS lawyer, Manfredo Rocha, said they have presented criminal charges ‘based on the Article 358 of the Penal Code which, in respect of the damage caused, indicates that the penalty shall be imprisonment between one and six years when the damage relates to destroying forests, jungles, pastures and bred animals.’