Search-and-rescue dogs play a vital role in rescue operations following an earthquake or other natural disaster. Their ability to find people underneath the rubble of collapsed buildings following the 2016 earthquake in Amatrice, Italy, saved countless lives.
The death of one dog — by poison — that was involved in the rescue operation in Italy left many shocked and calling for justice.
Kaos was a search-and-rescue dog
The dog, named Kaos, was a German shepherd owned by Fabiano Ettorre. The two had arrived following the Amatrice earthquake to help search the rubble for survivors.
And while 230 people were killed in the disaster, many more were saved due to the efforts of Kaos and other search-and-rescue dogs.
Kaos is poisoned and killed
Two years after his heroic work following the earthquake had taken place, Kaos was poisoned and killed in his own yard. Communities in Italy were outraged at his death, unable to grasp how someone could so willfully take the life of such a noble animal.
Unfortunately, it is common for neighbors, tired of hearing a dog’s barking, to poison their canine neighbors.
It happened during the middle of the night
Fabiano discovered the German shepherd’s lifeless body in the garden of his home after getting up in the morning. An animal trainer, Fabiano had heard Kaos barking as late at 2 a.m. the night before, so he was still alive at that point.
In a Facebook post, Fabiano expressed his sadness and anger at what had happened.
“I have no words. I can’t understand such a horrible act.”
Kaos’ death causes anger
Kaos’ poisoning angered many around the world, including many animal rights activists. Rinaldo Sidoli, spokesman for Animalisti Italiani, a Rome-based animal rights group, had this to say in an interview with The Guardian:
“They killed the hero who, together with rescuers, dug with his four paws during those dramatic hours to find survivors of that massacre. Kaos saved humans, and those same humans poisoned him.”
Sparking a debate about animal cruelty laws
In addition to his efforts to save lives during the Amatrice earthquake, Kaos had also helped find other missing people. As a result of the dog’s death, the Italian police opened an investigation. It was determined that Kaos had been poisoned by metaldehyde, used as a pesticide against garden slugs and snails.
Whether it was intentional or not, the dog’s death also led to a call for stiffer penalties for animal cruelty offenders in Italy. Giulia Grillo, Italian health minister at the time, vowed to seek legislation that would make Italy’s already tough animal cruelty laws even harsher.
In a 2014 study, it was determined that poisoning was the second most common cause of dog death in Italy. According to the study, in many cases of dog poisoning deaths, “intentionally located poisoned baits are common.”
For more of the work of this fallen hero, you can watch the video below.
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