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Archbishop Defends Decision to Kill Dog

February 4, 2005

DESPITE protests from animal-rightsgroups and some parishioners, San JoséArchbishop Hugo Barrantes told the dailyLa Nación this week he supports apriest’s decision to put to sleep Camila, astreet dog who lived outside a church inTibás, north of San José.Catholic Priest Carlos Artavia tookCamila to a veterinarian to be put to sleeplast week, reportedly in response to complaintsfrom several older parishionersshe bothered masses and funerals with herbarks.A group of parishioners protested theact with their pets in front of the churchlast Sunday, defending the dog and sayingshe had a calm behavior and neverattacked anyone during religious services.When asked if he thought the priest’sdecision would negatively affect participationin the Catholic Church, Barrantes toldLa Nación, “Among people who use theirbrain, the church has not lost popularity.Those who act with their guts are leaving.”Barrantes also said the act was notcruel, because Camila was not hit orkicked. He said euthanasia is wrong whenapplied to humans, but it can be appliedto animals. Humans cannot allow “animalsto rule the world” and “humiliateman,” the archbishop said.Barrantes said that during a Sundayservice earlier in the month, Artavia hadasked parishioners to adopt the dog, butnobody responded. The archbishop alsosaid the dog was rejected by an animalshelter, which he did not name.In an open letter to the archbishop thisweek, José Morales, vice-president of thenonprofit Special Unit for Animal Protectionand Rescue, said, “Such actions remindus of a medieval past, already overcomeby humanity, in which for a longtime the Catholic Church acted on preconceived,improbable and antiquated ideas…“We are sure that, according to theteachings of Jesus of Nazareth, he wouldnot have accepted that a dog be sacrificedjust because it made a few people uncomfortable,”the letter continued.

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