Stephen Eisenhammer, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A member of the military police was photographed spraying a dog in the eyes with pepper spray while on patrol in the favela community of Rocinha, in Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Sul (south zone), Sunday morning. The incident has caused public outrage, with the photograph, taken by the news agency Globo, going viral on the internet.

Police office photographed spraying a dog with pepper spray in Rocinha has gone viral, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
A photo of a police office using pepper spray on a dog in Rocinha has gone viral, image recreation.

The picture had already been shared more than 12,000 times and received more than 3,700 comments by PM Sunday evening.

The commander of patrols, major Edson Santos, said he wants to hear from the policeman whether the dog was about to bite him, saying the officer may have used a non-lethal weapon in order not to hurt the animal.

Police action in Rocinha has come under increasing scrutiny in the past few months, as reports of violence have increased.

The incident occurred after military police reinforcements were sent into the favela following an exchange of fire with four armed men around 5AM. Rafael Monteiro da Silva, 22, was hit by a bullet in his left arm in the confrontation and is recovering in the Miguel Couto hospital, in Gávea, where he is in custody.

The pacification process, which has been widely heralded as a success across Rio, appears to be struggling in Rocinha, widely considered Brazil’s largest favela community.

Residents suggest this is a result of a negative attitude displayed by some police officers which has meant the campaign has more challenges ahead in order to win the support of the community.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


  1. Often saliva carries far more death-threat than just a tearing bite. Postal workers, law enforcement, firefighters, and others fearing for their lives from out-of-control anti-social animals are perfectly justified in protecting themselves by any means at hand, whether deadly or annoying means doesn’t matter. How many hundreds of pit bull type dogs have killed humans, especially the very young and the very old?

  2. First of all – there have not been HUNDREDS of deaths caused by Pit Bulls. Get your facts straight Doc.

    About 40 people (children) per year die by drowning in 5-gallon water pails. A person, during their lifetime, is 16 times more likely to drown in a 5-gallon water pail than to be killed by a Pit Bull.

    Approximately 50 children in the US are killed every year by their cribs – 25 times the number of children and adults killed by Pit Bulls.

    Approximately 150 people are killed every year by falling coconuts. Therefore, you are more than 60 TIMES MORE LIKELY to be killed by a PALM TREE than a Pit Bull.

    Each year, 350 people drown in their bathtubs. You are 151 times more likely to be killed by your bathtub than you are by a Pit Bull.

    Every year, more than 2,000 children in the U.S. are killed by their parents or guardians either through abuse or neglect. A child is more than 800 times more likely to be killed by their caretaker than by a Pit Bull.

    The average Number of people killed by a Pit Bull each year is 3.

    ALSO – If this dog was at all threatening why aren’t the other two officers reacting? There is no amount of concern from ANY of the officers.

  3. I think people who have a disregared to animals should be killed the world would be a better place then.


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