Image: Dr. Mazin Hameed, a veterinarian, uses poisoned meat to lure a stray dog
Asaad Mouhsin  /  AP
Dr. Mazin Hameed, a veterinarian, uses poisoned meat to lure a stray dog in the Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday.
updated 11/23/2008 12:49:53 PM ET 2008-11-23T17:49:53

Baghdad authorities killed more than 200 stray dogs on Sunday, the opening day of a campaign to cull dog packs roaming the capital that was prompted by a spate of fatal attacks on residents.

Three teams of veterinarians and police officers used poisoned meat and rifles to kill the animals, said Dr. Hassan Chaloub, an official at the veterinary hospital supervising the effort. He said the capital has no dog shelters.

The campaign started Sunday in western Baghdad and will move to the eastern half of the city early next year.

Thirteen people died in August alone in the capital after being attacked by dogs, according to Baghdad's provincial council, which is overseeing the campaign.

People in some neighborhoods have been too frightened to go outside when the dogs are present.

"For many days, people, including me, could not go to work in the morning because of these dogs," said Jinan Abdul-Amir, who lives in the Sadiyah neighborhood in southwest Baghdad. "I came here today to the veterinary hospital to file a complaint."

Under Saddam Hussein, authorities killed stray dogs in the capital almost every year, but the practice ended with his ouster in 2003. Since then, local officials estimate, the number of strays in Baghdad has grown to more than a thousand.

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