Tension remains high in western Mexico after residents spotted dogs eating what appeared to be human remains at a secret burial site earlier this month, CBS News reports.
Authorities visited the site — located on the outskirts of Guadalajara — following reports of dogs scavenging human parts. In so doing, they discovered 41 bags containing human remains.
It’s believed the remains belong to some of the 112,000 persons declared missing by the Mexican government. Guadalajara has long been a hotspot for kidnappings of regular people by criminal gangs. There is also frequent violence resulting from drug wars, leading to the execution of members of rival drug cartels.
Powerful factions of the Jalisco cartel often stash the dead bodies of kidnapped victims and murdered rivals in plastic bags. They then dump the bodies in shallow burial sites where scavengers like stray dogs can easily unearth.
Fear of dogs destroying evidence
On Friday, Nov. 17, human rights activists called on authorities to hasten investigations, citing the risk of more stray dogs destroying the human remains. They urged authorities to keep digging up the secret burial pits and retrieve the remains before predators and wild animals get away with crucial evidence.
“It’s outrageous that the authorities, who can’t keep pace, take the weekends and holidays off and don’t work extra shifts to continue with this investigation,” the activists said in a joint statement.
In most cases, human remains may contain evidence — such as clothing fragments, tattoos, teeth, and fingerprints — that can help forensic investigators identify victims. This may at least offer closure to families hitting dead ends while trying to locate loved ones who disappeared.
Research shows stray dogs have overrun the streets of Mexico. Shockingly, strays make up about 70% of the country’s dog population, especially without large-scale efforts to prioritize spay/neuter programs.
In recent years, there have been multiple reports of residents sighting stray dogs roaming the streets of Mexico with human body parts in their mouths. As a result, such recurring incidents have led authorities to discover more hidden burial sites that they weren’t previously aware of throughout the country.