Bogotá Mayor Claudia López will relieve 108 canines, as of February 11, from security duties inside the city’s TransMilenio stations citing health concerns for the animals. As part of a strategy to dissuade fare dodgers by the previous administration of Enrique Peñalosa, López also believes that these “anticolado” dogs shouldn’t have to risk their lives in order to educate passengers. “It would hurt my soul to see my “Lucky” (her pet) sucking smoke in a TransMilenio station to teach us something that we should be able to do with our own behavior,” she said.
The dogs working four-hour shifts have as their main security objectives to sniff out suspicious packages and bark at those who attempt to enter TransMilenio stations through sliding glass doors. According to a recent study by the National University, some 384,000 people every day avoid paying the COP$2,400 TransMilenio fare as “colados,” generating monthly losses for the transport entity of an estimated US$8 million. City Councilor Andrea Padilla of Green Alliance Party remarked with López’s announcement that the conditions the animals face inside the bus stations are “miserable,” and that “it makes no sense to use them as a safety tool when there are other technologies and replacement strategies out there.”