BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Authorities have returned to a rugged Bogota neighborhood to rescue the dogs and cats left behind when police shut down the country’s largest open-air drug market.

Col. Nelson Arias of Bogota’s police says about 50 dogs and 20 cats were rescued by veterinarians during Thursday’s operation. Arias says authorities hope to find people to adopt the rescued animals.

More than 1,000 people were removed over the weekend in a surprise raid on the neighborhood known as the Bronx that is located just blocks from the presidential palace. Authorities also rescued 136 minors, some of them possibly used as child prostitutes.

The Bronx has long been a major embarrassment and symbol of abandonment by the state. Authorities have tried to neutralize the neighborhood in the past but to no lasting effect.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox