Miguel Ángel Palacios was just 19 years old when he lost his life at the hands of a drunk and armed man that wanted to hurt an innocent miniature Pinscher dog named Jerry.
The homicide happened in Envigado, Colombia on May 4, 2014, at 6:00 a.m. Palacios and his brother Juan Pablo learned of a neighbor, 33-year-old Jesús Antonio Castaño, who had been drinking all night long and that morning threatened to sever the dog’s head with a machete. Jerry does not belong to Castaño, but at the time of the incident, the drunk criminal had been caring for the dog.
Palacios, a Colombian native born in Miami, avid animal lover, and volunteer at the local animal shelter (Corporación Canes Perdidos/Lost Dogs Rescue) had been visiting Envigado during a school break. When he learned of the animal cruelty that was about to take place, he rushed over to the neighbor’s home and tried to prevent the crime.
The inebriated man, Palacios and Juan Pablo had a heated discussion that escalated to a physical fight where Castaño used the machete and a pocket knife to inflict various lacerations on the animal lovers. The cops were called to the residence and all three men were rushed to a nearby hospital to be treated for injuries.
Both young animal defenders and the drunk animal abuser had a series of lacerations, however the injuries Palacios suffered were too extensive, and he lost his life the following morning.
“We are devastated with the news,” said Diana Carolina Ortiz, director of Lost Dogs Rescue. “Miguel Ángel loved life and all animals and he always wanted to rescue all abandoned dogs that crossed his path.”
Palacios’s mother, Lina María Montoya, was shocked to learn about her son’s death, but since the tragic event took place, Montoya has been comforted by Colombians and international animal lovers who have reached out to her.
World-wide animal lovers want to make sure Palacios’s death does not become another senseless death.
Authorities arrested Castaño as soon as the man was released from the hospital and he now faces criminal charges he must answer and pay for.
As for Jerry, his life was spared and his rightful owner, Albeiro Cortez, decided to honor the young animal activist by giving Jerry to Montoya. After all, Palacios died defending an innocent animal that wasn’t even his own pet.
“I love Jerry,” said Cortez, “he is a loving pet who earned our love, but I understand how difficult this must be [for Palacios’s family] and I know that Jerry will help them remember Miguel Angel and help them heal.”
Miguel Angel is being honored by 25 animal rescue groups who have come together to help Montoya establish a new rescue group called “Miguel Angel’s Ark.” This organization will fight to defend and save homeless and abused animals. Something Palacios believed in and worked towards accomplishing every day.