About a dozen dogs were poisoned in the city of Lerida in the Catalonia region of Spain last month, and the insidious canine killings come in the midst of a broader public spat between the region's Muslims and dog owners.
All of the dogs fed poison were found in the heavily Muslim neighborhoods of Cappont and La Bordeta. In recent years there have been many others dogs poisoned in these same areas under foul play circumstances.
Many residents point to the Muslim community for these attacks because of continued complaints from them that dogs are unclean. In fact, Lerida's Muslims believe dogs should be banned from public spaces.
Over the past few months, Muslim residents have also harassed dog owners taking their pets for walks in public. In response to these threatening displays, a group of 50 Catalan residents have arranged six-person rotating patrols to protect dogs and their owners in public.
Muslim residents have even taken their anti-dog agenda to local politicians. In an attempt to essentially ban dogs outside the home this past July, Right Side News wrote that two Islamic groups based in Lerida:
"asked city officials to regulate the presence of dogs in public spaces so they do not offend Muslims. Muslims are demanding that dogs be banned from all forms of public transportation including all city buses as well as from all areas frequented by Muslim immigrants."
Graphic photos of the dead dogs have surfaced on the internet, showing animals that died right on the streets after being fed the poison.
While there is no universal guidance on dogs in the Koran, a number of Hadiths, which are stories related to the life of the prophet Muhammad, state that dogs should only be kept for work purposes such as herding cattle. The Islamic Republic of Iran, for example, has instituted laws across the country that confiscates canines not trained to assist the blind or perform work duties.
Tensions between the Muslim and non-Muslim community in Catalan have been on the rise well apart from the dog killing issue. This year along Spanish authorities in Catalonia claim they have had to step in to prevent 14 forced marriages and 24 female genital mutilations. This is among an estimated Muslim Catalan population in the city of Lerida around 30,000.
Catalonia holds separatist aims completely apart from the Muslim community, which has led in part to it's open arms policy towards Muslim immigration. It's resident have their own language--Catalan-- and have embraced non-Spanish immigration in the hopes that the newly arrived citizens will learn the language and adapt.
With a surging Muslim immigrant community that appears anti-dog, pro-sharia, and unwilling to adapt to their new culture, the storied Catalan people could face a new cultural battle that ironically has nothing to do with Spain.