Video footage of stray dogs being poisoned by municipal staff in the Ghobeiry neighborhood of Beirut’s southern suburbs has sparked a public outcry in Lebanon.
The video shows the dogs lying on their sides near a bowl of food shaking uncontrollably and frothing at the mouth.
A municipal employee is then seen picking up their bodies and throwing them on the back of a pickup.
Ghobeiry municipality, which lies in the Hezbollah stronghold, said it had suspended several staff members and opened a disciplinary investigation but denied any responsibility.
"This is an isolated villainous and reprehensible act carried out on the personal initiative of a number of health department staff," it said.
Welfare organization Animals Lebanon, which posted the video, said it was seeking action from the government.
"This sickening level of abuse, torture, suffering and complete disregard for life and law is absolutely shocking," it said.
"We are communicating now with the minister of interior (Nohad al-Mashnouq) to condemn such action and officially notify all municipalities that this is illegal and unacceptable," the statement added.
Following the public outcry, the interior minister said that he had ordered an inquiry into the actions of the municipality.