HATO REY, PUERTO RICO (CN) - The mayor of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico,backed by aforce ofguards and employees of Animal Control Solutions, raided public housing communities and forced residents to surrender their pets or face eviction, a federal lawsuit claims.
Mayor Sol Luis Fontanes and ACS workers went door to door grabbing pets with animal-catching sticks, choking them and slamming them into a van where they were tranquilized, while their horrified owners screamed and cried, and the "pets soiled themselves out of sheer fear and trauma," the lawsuit claims.
Plaintiffs say they had to witness defendants "removing, mistreating and injecting their pets - small cats and dogs - with unknown chemicals." Some of the surviving family pets were thrown from a bridge 60 to 80 feet to their deaths, plaintiffs claim.
The raids were part of the municipality of Barceloneta's new no-pet policy, implemented the day after it took control of the public housing communities from the Puerto Rico Housing Authority.
The residents want at least $500,000, punitive damages and a declaration that defendants' conduct was illegal. Plaintiffs are represented by Pedro Vazquez and Maria Kortright Soler. See complaint.