Grab yourself a cup of coffee because this is a long one! But well worth the few minutes it will take to read. Trust your Humane Advisor on this.
As a kid, I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents. They were simple, hard-working folks who lived through many challenging life experiences. I learned a lot from them about my place in the world and how to live life with integrity. One of the strongest lessons that they ever taught me was that it was my responsibility to leave a place better than I found it. This meant any place—a park where you threw your own trash away along with someone else’s forgotten litter or a workplace where you treated your coworkers with respect.
Many times people ask me why do you have to go to Mexico to help animals when there are plenty of cats and dogs to rescue in Los Angeles? Well, one reason that I tell them is that when I had my first encounter with a starving dog near Cancun, it became my responsibility to leave this place better than I found it.
Nova, the Mexican stray that changed my life.
But there are other reasons too. Especially when I began to learn more and more shocking truths about how stray cats and dogs are treated in Mexico. Did you know that in order to control the stray animal population, cats and dogs are regularly electrocuted, poisoned, and drowned? In fact, there’s a good chance that the luxury resort where you vacation poisons the stray animals that venture onto the property.
Stray mother cat in Playa del Carmen. Photo courtesy of Coco’s Cat Rescue (www.cocoscatrescue.org).
Or that there are massive animal killings like the one in August 2011 where the mayor of a town in Sonora, MX, paid locals $20 USD for each stray dog that was brought in—dead or alive. $20 USD is a lot of money for these families so it can be assumed that in many cases family pets were sacrificed to get the bounty. Heartbreaking.
The following photo of the event was on Facebook and it has haunted me since the day it was posted. Innocent dogs thrown in a pile like trash. A total of 17,000 dogs were killed in this cull and not one of them deserved to die and especially not by whatever inexpensive and inhumane method that did the trick. I still have nightmares.
Some of the dogs killed in August 2011 cull in Sonora, MX. Photo courtesy of Hablemos Animales (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hablemos-de-Animales/133992159973627)
There was no Humane Society or SPCA or PETA like we have in the U.S. and Canada to save them. There were no animal protection laws or if there were, they weren’t enforced. And even more sadly, for the price of the $20 USD bounty on these dogs, local animal rescue organizations like Tierra de Animales could have spayed/neutered each dog and provided a permanent solution to stray animal overpopulation. That’s why we (I use “we” to include all the amazing international animal rescue organizations that have the same mission) work to save cats and dogs in Mexico.
Then I learned that one unsterilized female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just six years and one unsterilized female cat and her offspring can produce as many as 425,000 kittens in seven years. Mindboggling!
Puppies on the beach in Cancun.
And did you know that tragically about 80 percent of newborn kittens and puppies born in Mexico die before the age of eight weeks from parasites, disease, starvation, or cruelty?
My Cancun rescue dog, Maya, was brought in from the street with four puppies. Only two survived.
Maya and her puppies in the streets of Cancun. Photo courtesy of Monica Chavarria of Proanimal Cancun
If Maya had not been rescued by Monica Chavarria of Proanimal Cancun and adopted by me, she would have most likely died alone and suffering in the streets of Cancun within a year from disease, starvation, thirst, and abuse.
Maya and her new mom, Ms. Humane Advisor. Photo courtesy of Isaura Turcotte (www.mejoratuentornomexico.org).
That’s why we work to save cats and dogs in Mexico. Keep reading for more reasons.
Every day the pages of Facebook tell the stories of cats and dogs in Mexico who are rescued and sent to new lives in the U.S. and Canada by wonderful international animal rescue groups such as Pet Project Rescue (www.petprojectrescue.com), WHARF (www.wharfrescue.ca/), and Pawsitive Match Rescue (www.pawsitivematch.org) with the support of corporate sponsors. These organizations do AMAZING work and would love more wonderful corporations and individuals to step forward to help.
Now I’d like to share a couple of these special stories with you. It’s impossible to read these stories (I double dog dare you to try) and not understand why we all work to save the cats and dogs in Mexico. Oh and also why we go to all this trouble to save just one cat or dog.
Rino is a Cancun street dog who was found suffering from severe and painful mange and other health problems. He was rehabilitated by Monica Chavarria of Pro Animal Cancun and Rino is now heading to Canada in January 2012, for a glorious new life. Look at the difference from when Rino was first found and how beautiful that face is now! Was it worth it to save the life of one dog? What do you think? Dang right it was!
WOW! What a difference TLC makes! Photo courtesy Monica Chavarria of Proanimal Cancun.
Nacho was rescued by Laura Raikes and the good folks at Coco’s Cat Rescue Playa del Carmen (www.cocoscatrescue.org) after he was run over by a car in the streets of Mexico and suffered a severely broken femur. Can you imagine the pain? After extensive orthopedic surgery, this little guy was sent to Canada so super animal rescuers Tessa and Ashley Lee of WHARF-Whitecourt Homeless Animal Rescue Foundation (www.wharfrescue.ca/) could help find him a home. He’s still looking for a family to love and pamper him. Contact WHARF if he’s the man you want purring on your lap during the rest of the long, cold winter! Also, both Coco’s and WHARF are nonprofit organizations that could use your donations to keep saving kittens like Nacho.
Nacho the Mexican Kitten. Photo courtesy of WHARF (www.wharfrescue.ca/).
Luna was one of over 170 street dogs rescued and brought to live at Tierra de Animales, (www.tierradeanimales.org) an animal sanctuary outside of Cancun, MX, by Ricardo Pimentel. Scared and starving, Ricardo found Luna in the city pound and rescued her. Many municipal pounds in Mexico avoid giving food or water to the cats or dogs so they will not have to clean up urine or feces. That means until they are euthanized by electrocution, poisoning, or drowning, the dogs spend their time in cold dirty cells, starving and thirsty. Horrible horrible horrible. Imagine the suffering. But not this time. Lucky Luna was adopted by a wonderful family and flew to Canada in December 2011. Many thanks to the most amazing man in Mexico, Ricardo Pimentel, for saving Luna! Check out an awesome video about the dogs at Tierra de Animales (http://youtu.be/RIYyzUXZg8M) and then maybe adopt a TdA dog (contact Lisa Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org) or send a donation to help them out through Paypal at email@example.com.
Luna (front right) in the Perrara (pound) before rescue. Photo courtesy of Tierra de Animales (www.tierradeanimales.org).
Luna in Canada with her wonderful new family getting all the love she deserves! Photo courtesy of Tierra de Animales (www.tierradeanimales.org).
Rino, Nacho, and Luna are the lucky ones who were saved because they were rescued in time and there were resources available to take care of them.
Here are two stories of dogs that were not so fortunate. Again, it’s impossible to read these stories (and I triple dare you not to cry) and not understand why we all work to save the cats and dogs in Mexico.
Not So Good News
Cora was found on the streets of Cancun on January 5, 2012, shivering, too weak to stand or eat, by a local animal rescuer, Patricia Enriqueta Godoy Santini. Patricia had no car to pick up Cora and bring her to safety. Patricia already has 16 dogs and 9 cats from the streets in her home that she has rescued. A call to action was issued for local animal rescuers and soon Cora was rushed to the vet in Cancun but it was too late and she died in the arms of Cancun animal advocate Evelyne Gerault on January 10, 2012. Thank you to all who tried to save Cora.
Cora, alone and dying in the streets of Cancun. Photo courtesy of Claudia Gonzalez Comacho.
Cora at the vet’s office. Photo courtesy of Claudia Gonzalez Camacho.
Found in the streets of Cancun, this tiny (she weighed less than ten pounds) girl was in severe pain from a horrible skin condition and suffering from other debilitating diseases that her weakened little body could not fight. I met Angel in person and she was the sweetest baby ever. You could see the suffering in her eyes but she didn’t make a sound when she was being tended to even though the pain must have been excruciating. RIP little girl. Your suffering is over. Thanks to Angie Santana at Rescate Malix (www.rescatemalix.org) for providing safety, relief from pain, and love during her final days. Please support Angie’s efforts to educate the public about the humane treatment of dogs like Angel through awareness programs aimed at children, young adults, families and the general population.
Angel, a street dog who fought to live.
I’ll give you a minute to wipe your tears and blow your nose before I continue.
Do You Need Any More Reasons Why We (And You Should Too!) Work to Save the Cats and Dogs of Mexico?
Now that you know the horror, the suffering, and the pain that exists, my grandparents (if they were here) would suggest that it is your responsibility to leave a place better than you found it. And yes, I am on my soapbox here!
But Cora and Angel died because we ALL need to work to save the cats and dogs of Mexico. Without our help, thousands and thousands of animals will continue to die. There are no multi-million dollar rescue organizations like the Humane Society, SPCA, Best Friends, or North Shore Animal League coming to the rescue of these cats or dogs. But with your support, local organizations can make enormous changes to save them.
Further, it is clear that the people of Mexico do not have the resources to support an initiative of this magnitude. An average worker makes $300 a month. But we do. Some of you who are reading this now can do small things to help such as sharing this blog post or connecting to the rescue groups mentioned above on Facebook and donating a few dollars every month. It adds up! You already know that $20 USD will spay/neuter a cat or dog and prevent the birth of THOUSANDS of unwanted kittens or puppies. $5 a week for 4 weeks or even $5 a month over 4 months can make that happen.
Cancun kittens rescued by Alex Rolland of Jaguar’s Cats (www.facebook.com/pages/Jaguars-Cats/219170731443458).
And there are some who are reading this blog post that command the resources to support major projects (such as building a permanent sterilization clinic in major cities in Mexico or funding rescue efforts) to help end this suffering through their businesses or personal fortunes. Work with your board to develop that corporate initiative or get your board to work with organizations like Tierra de Animales and Lost Dog Foundation to develop a corporate initiative together. For those who are wondering what to do with their hard-earned nest eggs, what about leaving your legacy where it can save lives and have tremendous impact? The “Cancun Permanent Animal Free Sterilization Clinic” is waiting for your name across the door on a plaque.
Precious, a kitten at Coco’s Cat Rescue Playa del Carmen. Photo courtesy of Coco’s Cat Rescue Playa del Carmen (www.cocoscatrescue.org).
But whatever your capacity to help is, action is needed now because somewhere right at this very minute as you read this there’s a cat like Nacho lying broken in the street that desperately needs help or a dog like Cora or Angel dying a sad, lonely, and cruel death. Please help.
To find out more about the initiatives needed to save cats and dogs in Mexico contact Lisa Edwards at Lost Dog Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading all the way to the end. It wasn’t an easy read, I know. Now please share this post with your family, friends, network, and on social media sites that you enjoy. The cats and dogs of Mexico will thank you!
Thanks for caring!