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Crossbow attacks on dogs sweep through Managua, Nicaragua

| Friday, April 11, 2014, 6:21 p.m.

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Renato Franco Penalba awoke one morning to find his pet dog Cookie in agony, skewered by an arrow on his patio.

He raced her to a veterinarian, but the basset hound-Pekingese mix did not survive.

“I had never seen an animal in so much pain,” veterinarian Enrique Rimbaud said Friday.

It quickly turned out that Cookie was not alone.

When Franco Penalba posted an account of the killing on a social networking site, he began to hear of other cases.

Rimbaud, who is president of the animal protection group Amarte Foundation, said at least seven dogs have been attacked with crossbow bolts in the same upscale district of Nicaragua's capital.

In an impoverished Central American country where strays have long led miserable lives in the streets, the killings of at least seven cherished house dogs have caused an uproar on social media and in the press. Police are investigating and say they fear that people, too, one day could be targeted.

“Our dog was 9 years old. She wasn't the kind of dog who roamed the streets,” said Franco Penalba, a 30-year-old business consultant.

Rimbaud said he struggled for hours to save the dog, giving her repeated injections of anesthetics before she died.

“These weapons are very powerful,” Rimbaud said. “They do a great amount of damage to muscles, bones, arteries and veins.”

Even police dogs had suffered the same kind of attack.

“There is a guard post in front of my house, and their dog was killed with an arrow, too,” Wilbur Arteaga said.

Whoever is killing the dogs apparently uses a relatively costly imported crossbow, something few Nicaraguans can afford, and fires custom carbon arrows that police say are not sold in Nicaragua.

“It is someone with money,” Franco Penalba said.

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