Hundreds of dog, sheep, goat corpses openly abandoned in South

Bodies could pose potential health hazard due to infectious disease contamination.

Stray dogs are seen eating bread in Israel's South. (photo credit: SPCA.CO.IL)
Stray dogs are seen eating bread in Israel's South.
(photo credit: SPCA.CO.IL)
The corpses of dozens of dogs, goats and sheep were discovered in a small garbage-filled area adjacent to the village of Kuseifa near Arad in Israel's South on Monday, raising many questions and posing potentially severe health risks.
The corpses were discovered by Arik Zarchi, a volunteer from the Arad Lachi organization who came to rescue puppies from the area, as many dogs are known to be left abandoned and mistreated in the South. But upon his arrival, he was made aware of how dire the situation really is.
Zarchi took a video of what he saw, which were dozens of animal corpses left lying untouched in a 100 meter x 100 meter area filled with garbage and sent it to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Israel, who immediately contacted police and relevant government ministries and initiated an investigation. But in a statement, Zarchi cautioned that "the real story there is much bigger and worse than the one in the video."
He went on to describe the area, filled with the corpses of livestock who get sick. Rather than treated, these sheep and goats are left to die without treatment, joining "the corpses of their ancestors." One notably disturbing sight he saw was a dead sheep with a ruptured abdomen, its child lying dead next to it.
However, some of the sheep don't die right away, and often try to return to home. As such, their bodies "line the path" to the village. This is especially concerning, since according to Zarchi, all of this takes place in an open area just 150 meters away from the village.
Due to the fact that most of the animals died of diseases, many of then unknown, Zarchi worries that the area could now be filled with various infectious diseases, posing a potentially serious health hazard - especially since, as Zarchi explained, local children are often seen running around barefoot.
The situation has been explained by the SPCA to the police, the Agriculture Ministry and to Tal Gilboa, the prime minister's adviser on animal affairs.
However, at the time of writing, the bodies have yet to be collected, nor have specialists been sent to test for diseases.
Responding to press queries sent by The Jerusalem Post, the Agriculture Ministry said that the police are currently investigating.
"These cases are not isolated, and unfortunately the atrocities are frequent everywhere in the Negev where stray dogs are found," SPCA Israel spokesman Gadi Wittner said in a statement.
In June, the Post reported on a landfill near Arad where hundreds of stray dogs are living among the garbage, fighting over scraps of food and living in unhealthy conditions.
"Hundreds of dogs live in the city's landfill, thousands more live in the area across the Bedouin sector and the situation is getting worse," local veterinarian Dr. Yana Carroll told the SPCA at the time.
Wittner condemned the government for continuing to do nothing about the issue.
"All over the Negev – Dimona, Arad, Sderot, Yeruham, Beersheba – thousands of dogs, maybe even more than 10,000 [are living abandoned and in poor conditions]," Wittner told the Post. "The Environmental Protection Ministry, Agriculture Ministry – everybody knows, and they don't do anything about it."