'Hero dog' who helped rescue Italian quake survivors is found dead. His owner says he was poisoned.
Rescue and emergency personnel search for victims in Amatrice, Italy, which was rocked by a powerful earthquake on Aug. 24, 2016. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images) July 30 at 2:34 PM Email the author
When a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit the central Italian town of Amatrice two years ago, Fabiano Ettore and his German shepherd, Kaos, were among the first to join in the rescue efforts. Kaos, who was just over a year old at the time, worked for days with other dogs and people to find survivors of the quake, which killed 241 and destroyed most of the town, the New York Times reported.
Months after the Amatrice earthquake in August 2016, Kaos helped with rescue effor ts after an earthquake in the town of Norcia, and he took part in other missing-person searches, the Associated Press reported.
On Saturday, Kaos, hailed as a âhero dogâ by Italians, was found dead. Ettore, who found the dog's body in the garden of his home in SantâEusanio Forconese, said in a Facebook post that Kaos has been poisoned.
âI have no words,â he wrote. âI canât understand such a horrible act.â
Ettore, who is an animal trainer, added that he was sure Kaos had been alive the previous night because he had heard him barking as late as 2 a.m. It was not immediately clear how Kaos was poisoned or whether it was intentional, but police have opened an investigation, the Guardian reported. Animal rights activists have condemned the incident, describing Kaos's alleged killer as a âdangerous criminal.â
âThey killed the hero who, together with rescuers, dug with his four paws during those dramatic hours to find survivo rs of that massacre,â Rinaldo Sidoli, a spokesman for Animalisti Italiani, a Rome-based animal rights group, told the Guardian. âKaos saved humans, and those same humans poisoned him.â Sidoli called for laws that would impose harsher penalties for animal cruelty.
Italian lawmaker and business executive Michela Brambilla told the Associated Press that she hoped Kaos's death would encourage members of Parliament to pass a bill against animal cruelty that she proposed earlier this year. Giulia Grillo, Italy's health minister, expressed condolences online, writing that she was working with Environment Minister Sergio Costa and Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede to expand penalties for the âheartless criminalsâ behind animal poisonings.
According to a 2012 study that looked at data from the Poison Control Center of Milan, a majority of animal poisonings in Italy involve dogs. A 2014 study by Italian researchers examined diagnostic data of 870 dogs in Rome and found that poisoning was the second-most-common cause of death for dogs, with more than 17 percent of them dying from consuming toxic materials. The report said that in urban environments, there can be a âlow level of social tolerance to neighborsâ dogs,â and âintentionally located poisoned baitsâ are common.
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