Social Media Outcry After The Death Of Cholito

A viral video of animal abuse sparks a movement
Social Media Outcry After The Death Of Cholito

Last update: 09 February, 2018

A woman, aided by two men, viciously beats a defenseless dog. Someone captures the moment with his phone camera and uploads it to the internet. The video soon becomes viral on social media. And of course, it provokes indignation among thousands of people. Then, these people begin demonstration in protest against the brutal abuse suffered by Cholito.

The horrible attack on the little dog Cholito

The event in question took place in a shopping area in the Patronato neighborhood. This was in the district of Recoleta, in the capital Santiago de Chile.

The animal, known as Cholito, had been abandoned there by its owners last Christmas.

The owner of one of the shops felt irritated by the presence of the dog. After all, the dog was close to his store. So, he asked an employee to do something to get rid of him.

And the aggressor – who has since expressed her regret for what happened – nevertheless defended herself by saying that though she hit the little dog on the head until he lost consciousness. So, she didn’t go so far as to kill him.

This brutal assault on an abandoned dog is believed to have ended with his death. Passersby recorded and uploaded the recording to the Internet. That’s where the story took flight. Basically, it provoking the indignation and mobilization of thousands of people.

A judicial investigation into the terrible maltreatment suffered by Cholito is ongoing

At the time of writing, a judicial investigation into the incident is ongoing. So, it has not yet been able to locate Cholito, either alive or dead.

His attackers have told investigators that following the attack, they took the animal, wrapped in a blanket, to an open area of the city. Police later managed to find the blanket in question. But, they found no traces of the poor creature.

However, investigators and members of the judiciary point out that by combining the recorded images with verified witness testimonies can the cruel treatment to which Cholito was subjected – which may have led to his eventual death – be confirmed. 

“The crime of abuse does not only occur in cases that lead to the animal’s death or serious injury. Rather, “abuse” is the more general crime of acts of cruelty towards animals,” said prosecutor Marcelo Cabrera.

The vicious aggression suffered by the abandoned dog seems to have left no one indifferent

For his part, the mayor of Recoleta, Daniel Jadue, filed a complaint against those responsible for the fierce beating received by Cholito, in association with animal groups Observatorio Animal, Animal Libre, Ecopolys and Callejeritos de la Vega.

The complaint was filed in accordance with the provisions of the country’s Criminal Procedure Code, which allows a criminal complaint to be lodged against those who are responsible – as principal authors, accomplices or accessories – for the crime of “animal abuse“.

The mayor, Jadue, has also said publicly that, in the wake of the scandal, greater efforts will be taken to ensure that animals are never mistreated for any reason, whether in public spaces or within private homes. This type of act, he said, is prohibited “in all its dimensions.”

Social media, a fundamental tool for mobilizing people in Cholito’s name

However, despite such announcements by public officials, the indignation of the general public could not be suppressed.

Using the hashtag #JusticeForCholito (or #JusticiaParaCholito in Spanish), thousands of people expressed their rage over the cruel aggression suffered by the poor stray. As word spread like wildfire, social media platforms filled with images of people’s pets, along with pleas that the crime not go unpunished.

Many used the slogan “Not one less,” paraphrasing a slogan that came to the fore in campaigns against gender violence and sexual assault that have spread worldwide in recent months.

From the internet to the streets, standing against animal abuse

But the activism did not end there. As often happens, Chileans heard the calls on social media, and were spurred to organize a real-life demonstration aimed at raising awareness around animal rights

In the Chilean capital, and across various other cities in the country, a total of about ten thousand people gathered, coming together to express their rejection of the terrible violence suffered by the little dog Cholito, which is believed to have ended his life.

Members of animal rights organizations marched alongside entire families accompanied by their domestic pets, demanding jail sentences for those responsible. They also called for the introduction of longer sentences in animal abuse cases.

One positive thing to come from Cholito’s horrendous experience is the fact that many people seem to be moving past their habitual indifference on the issue of animal abuse. And whether it’s happening online or in the streets, more and more people are coming together to make their voices heard in defence of all the little Cholitos of this world.

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