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Why This Dog Was Shot Five Times In Rio

Jul 25, 2016 04:10 AM EDT
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A dog was shot five times during a firefight in one of Rio de Janeiro's shanty towns.

The black mutt named Netinho Coragem--or "little brave one" in Portuguese--was a casualty at one of the gang fights in northern Rio.

According to NBC 5, he was rescued by Sociedade União Internacional Protetora dos Animais (SUIPA), the largest animal shelter in Rio. It currently cares for more than 4,500 dogs, 600 cats, and dozens of horses and other animals.

Netinho suffered extensive damage to his femur from the fight. His injury required surgery and placement of screws in his bones, The Associated Press said.

"It's a miracle he is alive," Joao Wassita, the group's head veterinarian, told AP in an interview. "Most dogs die on the spot before we are able to get there."

He is set to be adopted after his full recovery.

Brazilian cities have a history of police killings ahead of major events. As the 2016 Olympic Games nears, reports said the number of riots had further risen. Gang fights are particularly common in the slums, or favelas, as Brazilians call the area.

A BBC report describes shootings in Brazil as a daily occurrence, with approximately 2,000 people murdered in Rio just this year. Deaths are usually due to crossfires between drug criminals and police officers.

To put it in clearer perspective, Insight Crime said "officers in the state of São Paulo, for example, killed more people over the last 20 years than the entire U.S. police force during the same time span."

Unfortunately, not only humans become casualties in these fights. Dogs are often taken to riots to help people defend their cause.

In 2010, Loukanikos, a Greek riot dog, became famous after he was constantly seen in the front lines of fights against police during the height of the Eurozone crisis. He died in 2014.

The Telegraph reported that a song titled "Riot Dog" was written in his honor by American singer David Rovics. Loukanikos' image was also featured in magazines around the world.

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