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Strychnine Poisoning

What Is Strychnine?
Strychnine is a poison in the form of white powder that was banned from medicinal use in the 1960s due to its dangerous properties.Strychnine is dangerous to both humans and animals.

Strychnine is a bitter, white poisonous alkaloid powder. It is obtained from nux vomica and other related plants. It is most often used as a poison for rodents.
Strychnine is fatal to both humans and animals (people have been known to die from as little as 5mg of Strychnine), and poisoning can occur through inhalation, swallowing, or absorption through the eyes.

It produces some of the most dramatic and most painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction.

About ten to twenty minutes after exposure, the body’s muscles begin to spasm, starting with the head and neck. The spasms then spread to everywhere else in the body, with convulsions that get worse at the slightest stimulus. The convulsions are so strong that they cause the back muscles to arche continually. Death is caused by asphyxiation (paralysis of the neural pathways that control breathing), or by exhaustion from the convulsion.

The subject will usually die 2-3 hours after exposure.

Strychnine Poisoning in Egypt
Strychnine is available and used in Egypt, and is one of the first and cruelest methods of disposal in regards to unwanted stray animals. It is sold on the black market.

Strychnine is typically placed on chicken feet and/or pieces of meat and left in areas heavily populated by strays, or in areas where people have complained to the municipality about stray animals. Sometimes the powder is strewn in the streets for animals to sniff. The municipality does not remove traces of the poison after the killings have taken place.

To make matters worse, there is no warning from the municipality that these sprees will take place.


Stray Dogs
Stray dogs suffer the most from animal abuse. Many are mountain dogs; some are pets abandoned by their owners.

Their plight comes from many areas: shooting and poisoning as a form of stray animal control by the government; animal testing in the School of Veterinary Medicine; people who reject the dogs as vicious and frightening, sinful and dirty, due to religious beliefs that venerate cats over dogs; fear and ignorance.

To top it off, the dogs’ life on the street is hard: they fight over food with one another, and suffer wounds that are left untreated.

Though a very, very small number of slowly growing number of people are taking stray dogs into their homes, in favor or popular, pedigreed dogs, the majority still mistreat and misunderstand balady dogs, not realizing that they are intelligent, full of affection and are astonishing in their beauty and elegance, as well as their innate sensitivity to humans and human contact.

Shumas (Wood Canes)
Many dogs also suffer at the hand of shumas: large wooden sticks. Dogs are so brutally beat up using these sticks, that their bones are broken and their skin and hair are torn off.

Glass in Food
The most recent method of poisoning is putting broken glass in pieces of meat and feeding it to the animals. The glass tears their stomach lining and intestines, causing a slow and extremely painful death.

Puppies are often thrown into the Nile as a quick form of disposal. Very often, children see this as a game out of ignorance.

Tail Cutting
Many people cut dogs’ tail off as a form. One of the most sickening stories of abuse we hear about are people cutting the dogs tail off and force-feeding it to the animal.

Rope Collars
Dogs – be they stray or pets – are tied with rope that cuts deep into their skin.
Quite a few of the cases at the Shelter are dogs and puppies who were tied for many months (sometimes years). The rope is either tied very tightly to begin with, or, as with in the case of puppies who usually grow very fast (a puppy reaches half of its adult weight at six months of age), the rope embeds itself in the flesh. This leads to deep lacerations that are sometimes found infested with worms.

Strays are subjected to the most brutal shooting sprees, undertaken by the municipalities who are not trained at shooting, and therefore either miss the target, or end up shooting the animals multiple times, leaving them to die a slow and painful death.


Michelle was brought to the Shelter with a hole in her trachea - she couldn't even swallow water! She was barely alive when she came to the Shelter.

Someone tied wire around her neck and left her to look after her three puppies. Only one of them survived (who we named Obama). She was left in the streets with the wire tied to her neck - it cut up her throat to the point that when she was rescued and brought to the Shelter, we all thought that she was simply going to die. We believe that the only reason she survived was because of her only surviving puppy, who hung at her teats the entire time she was being treated by our doctors.

Michelle got better slowly, but once she had her full health back, she was an unbelievable dog! She loves other dogs, loves to be petted and cuddled - will sleep next to you for hours.

She has also adopted all the motherless puppies, and has made it a full time job, even though she couldn't feed them. She even adopted our motherless kittens, and has such an impossible amount of love to give! After we feed the kittens, we hand them back to Michelle, and she licks them completely clean and keeps them warm.

Michelle is pictured here before and after her recovery - as you can see, she's smiling at the camera at one of our Dog's Days Out.

See Michelle's Happy Ending here.

Stray Dog Abuse Photogallery

Puppy's tail cut off 2

Puppy tail cut off

Tail cut off

Stray Dog Shooting Photogallery




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