CANADIANS ADOPT HOMELESS MEXICAN PUPPIES

PART 5 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES”

She Came South, They Went North

There’s nobody better to talk to when it comes to why and how Canadians adopt homeless Mexican puppies. She is a Toronto native, potter by profession, who decided to settle near Cancún, on Isla Mujeres, after vacationing there. And because she was so affected by the plight of street dogs on the island, she knew she had to do something about it.

“We specialize in puppies,” states Alison Sawyer, founder and operator of Isla Animals, a non-profit with its own shelter.

What Isla Animals Does

Sawyer’s partner Trina, and Anna, who is the adoption/transport coordinator, are the only two constant volunteers, while others come and go. In addition, there is a staff of four women who clean and watch over the rescue. Here are the details of why and how the compassionate people mentioned here do what they do.

Some of the abandoned dogs being cared for on Isla Mujeres, near Cancún
Some of the abandoned dogs being cared for on Isla Mujeres, near Cancún

HOW ISLA ANIMALS TACKLES THE ISSUES 

In just a moment we’ll discuss flight arrangements for Mexican homeless dogs Canada-bound. However, let’s first take a look at the underlying factors that give rise to the need to do this advocacy work in the first place.

Overpopulation

As a result of hard work over a period of 16 years, the feral and street dog population on the island is mostly solved. However, efforts now focus on owners who allow their dogs to wander the streets.

But there is another side to this story as Sawyer explains. “Last July I took with me to Toronto a dog we named Olive. She was in a group of five, two adult dogs and three puppies. We think that they were dumped here from Cancún. This happens all the time. People can’t help a dog but want it in a safer place, where there is less traffic.”  She added that, sadly, one of the adults and a pup were in such bad shape they didn’t make it.

The work done by Isla Animals results in decreased puppy populations, fewer cases of parvo and distemper, less dogs in the streets, better awareness of animal care, more islanders walking dogs on a leash, more children visiting the clinic to help and learn
The work done by Isla Animals results in decreased puppy populations, fewer cases of parvo and distemper, less dogs in the streets, better awareness of animal care, more islanders walking dogs on a leash, more children visiting the clinic to help and learn

Spay And Neuter

Like everyone else I have spoken to when gathering information for this series of blogs, sterilization is the top priority of animal rescue groups. “The best way to solve dog overpopulation is to prevent them from being born in the first place. But, as part of that, we also never leave a puppy on the streets,” Sawyer emphasizes. 

In 2016, Isla Animals performed free surgeries on 1,784 cats and dogs, and 1,766 in 2017. As the above table shows, the 2018 number was 2,028. This is nearly a 15 percent increase over the previous year and shows the determination to reach more towns and neighborhoods in the future.

Sheltering And Fostering

Fortunately, Isla Animals enjoys a very good relationship with the current local government, which provides the location where their rescue shelter is located. Sawyer comments that they have fosters who take in puppies until they have been vaccinated. And, since the shelter is not set up for large dogs, they are able to care for more smaller-sized animals.

Networking

Working closely with other reputable rescue organizations is extremely beneficial. Isla Animals is able to trade rides for adopted and rescued animals, and also exchange dogs for puppies which, as we already know, is what they specialize in. 

Crated and ready for their trip, Mexican homeless dogs Canada-bound
Crated and ready for their trip, Mexican homeless dogs Canada-bound

And, this brings us to their partnership with Lost Dog Foundation, which I happened to mention in my previous blog. A great part of their work focuses on facilitating the journey of Mexican homeless dogs Canada-bound and US-bound. Pups that will be flying either directly to their waiting adoptive family or to temporary foster families.

FLYING DOGS FROM MEXICO TO THE USA AND CANADA

So, now we come to a segment that is designed to help  Americans and Canadians adopt homeless Mexican puppies.

These are people who are visiting Mexico, or planning to make a trip there from either the USA or Canada. For them the vacation may not only encompass the activities that tourists typically do. Quite possibly they will want to fly back home with a dog or a puppy from Mexico. The guide below is a basic must-do check list of what they need to do before they consider importing a pet.

Let me add that Canadian and US residents do realize that many dogs in their own countries are waiting to be placed in a forever home. However, they are also aware that opportunities for adult dogs and puppies to find loving homes are far more limited in Mexico. For this reason, and when the opportunity presents itself, they willingly go through the process to take a homeless pup back with them.

Caring Canadians adopt homeless Mexican puppies so they can have a better future
Caring Canadians adopt homeless Mexican puppies so they can have a better future

Rules, Regulations And Recommendations

Here is the information that Isla Animals gives out to potential adopters.

First you need to make sure that your airline will take pets, either in with the luggage or inside the cabin, depending on the size of the animal.

Then you have to find a vet who will vaccinate your dog for canine parvovirus, distemper and rabies, as well as make you a health certificate for Customs.

Your dog needs to have had its rabies shot one month before departure.

The dog also has to look health. If it has a lot of skin issues, they won’t let it in.

You will need a carrier, either a hard one for the cargo hold, or a soft one for inside the plane.  It has to be the kind that the airline accepts. If you are buying one it will usually say if it’s airline approved

Be sure to make a reservation with your airline ahead of time.

Also make sure that whatever transportation you arrange to get to the airport will allow animals in their vans or taxis. 

Good luck!

Follow Isla Animals on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IslaAnimals 

To make a donation, please email: 

http://islaanimals.org/help/donate-animal-rescue-isla-animals.html

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are the heroes. Thank you for what you do!

  • Isla Animals: Alison Sawyer, Trina, Anna, 4-team shelter staff, and all their volunteers
  • Lost Dog Foundation
  • All non-profit partners in Mexico, USA and Canada
  • All fosters, sponsors and donors
  • The municipal government of Isla Mujeres

Don’t forget to join us next week in Cancún, our final destination on this eye-opening journey. You’ll meet a very special girl called Chica and her dad, mom and orphaned siblings. See you there!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

TULUM’S TIRELESS ANIMAL ADVOCATES

PART 4 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES”

Many and dedicated. They are Tulum’s tireless animal advocates and very much needed. The reason why is that this popular tourist destination on Mexico’s Riviera Maya has serious problems. And the cause of these issues is the vast number of street-roaming dogs.

HELP TULUM DOGS

Messaging And Goals

Co-founded by Lisa Edwards and Cathy Cairelli, the mission of Help Tulum Dogs is to better serve local residents by promoting the welfare of the canines that live among them. This includes the dogs in their care in addition to homeless ones that live on the streets. Not surprisingly, this non-profit operates solely on donations, volunteer work and the generously discounted medical attention provided by local veterinarians.

Families lining up to participate in Tulum’s spay/neuter event for cats and dogs
Families lining up to participate in Tulum’s spay/neuter event for cats and dogs

“We have a huge dog overpopulation. Unfortunately, that becomes even more problematic because the Mayan community that dominates the area has limited education and financial means,” Edwards explains. “Our principle goal is to sterilize the majority of dogs here, however, this is definitely a long-term process.” She added that what they are able to accomplish depends on the generosity of their dedicated Tulum animal welfare supporters. 

Tulum’s tireless animal advocates set up in a local school to sterilize
Tulum’s tireless animal advocates set up in a local school to sterilize

Reducing The Numbers Humanely

In the second half of 2018, Help Tulum Dogs held a weekend-long spay/neuter clinic that was very well attended. The number of animals that were sterilized, and also dewormed, totaled 302!

Not A Single Shelter

Since Tulum does not have any shelters, it’s the residents that do whatever they can to alleviate the suffering of its countless homeless pets. “In the past we’ve tried to put out water buckets for dogs on the street, but they’ve been stolen,” Edwards explained. “Feeders weren’t a success either. Things quickly get moldy in this tropical environment and then we worry about people poisoning the dogs. Sadly this is a reality here.”

Flying To Foster Thanks To Lost Dog Foundation

This is just an introduction to an effort that is not being given the attention it deserves. Consequently I will also be covering this topic next week.

Lost Dog Foundation (LDF) is a US registered charity started by Lisa Edwards. Most significantly, they rescue dogs from high kill shelters and other hopeless situations in Mexico and the United States. The canines then fly to the safety of foster homes in other US locations as well as Canada. LDF has developed an amazing network of foster families who match dogs with people looking to adopt. Over 600 adult dogs and puppies have been placed in homes in a period of just seven years. What an achievement! 

Follow Help Tulum Dogs on Facebook: www.facebook.com/helptulumdogs

To donate, foster or adopt, please email: helpmexicandogs@hotmail.com 

ALMA ANIMAL TULUM

An Animal’s Soul

In 2018, after ten years working towards a common goal, a small group of volunteers filed for legal status. The decision to officially comply with the state of Quintana Roo’s law that applies to animal protection and wellbeing was a sound one. That’s because Alma (Spanish for “soul”) Animal Tulum can now receive monetary donations to boost its support base.

Maribel Cruz is one of the original rescuers who strive to improve the lives of sick, abused and homeless dogs and cats. “We do our best but wish we could do more. Either we don’t have the financial resources or we are unable to house them,” she says. The fact is that hardly any residents are able to take in these animals until they can go to a permanent home.

This poster describes different ways to help animals in the community
This poster describes different ways to help animals in the community

As you’ll have noticed from previous articles in this series, educating the local community is an ongoing effort and very time-consuming. Nevertheless the tireless animal advocates of Tulum know that it is the only way to bring about change. Two of the important areas they deal with are curbing the birth rate and keeping the animals parasite-free.   

Anti-Parasite Initiative

Working together with the local health department, AAT helped organize the first anti-parasite event ever to be held here. By providing antiparasitic medications for dogs and cats, their human caregivers can also stay healthy. And let me add, the veterinarians who donate their time to participate in such events are steadfast in their dedication to support animal welfare in Tulum.

Spay And Neuter Campaign

Although not directly involved in the organization, AAT volunteers always participate in municipal events to help control the canine and feline populations. Encouragingly, more and more families bring their pets for this no-charge service. And, furthermore, AAT also takes animals off the streets so they, too, can be sterilized.

A cupcake sale fundraiser shows just how dedicated Tulum animal welfare supporters are
A cupcake sale fundraiser shows just how dedicated Tulum animal welfare supporters are

Social Media Works

Having a social media presence is a vital part of rescue work. Personally, I receive all AAT’s Facebook notifications. That way I am up-to-date on lost and found cases, veterinary interventions, adoption success stories, fundraisers and so on. This is hard work, too, but very necessary for any animal rescue organization to be successful. 

A drawing competition is a great way to reach out to kids in the community
A drawing competition is a great way to reach out to kids in the community

Raising Child Awareness

AAT realizes the importance of reaching out to children to teach them compassion at an early age, and finds ways to engage. “During our anti-parasite campaign we had a drawing competition,” Cruz explained. “It’s a great way to reach future generations. They learn responsible behavior and kindness towards all animals.”

This visual sends a message to parents and children that a dog is not a toy
This visual sends a message to parents and children that a dog is not a toy 

Follow Alma Animal Tulum on Facebook: www.facebook.com/almaanimaltulum 

To donate you can do so via PayPal. Just click on the DONATE button at the top of their Facebook page or go directly to PayPal paypal.me/almaanimaltulum 

 To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are the heroes. Thank you for what you do!

  • Help Tulum Dogs: Lisa Edwards, Cathy Cairelli, Richelle Morgan, Juan Goicoechea and Claire & Lanny Vogel,
  • Alma Animal Tulum: Maribel García and her fellow volunteers
  • Lost Dog Foundation
  • Playa Pet Tulum and other local veterinary clinics
  • All non-profit partners in Mexico, USA and Canada
  • All fosters, sponsors and donors
  • The municipal government of the city of Tulum

Please be sure to check in next week. We’ll be going north to Isla Mujeres to find out what is involved when people in Canada and the USA want to adopt a dog from Mexico.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


VETERINARY MEDICINE IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN

PART 3 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES” 

Last week we wrote about their dog houses and now we focus on veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen. This is Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya, but it also has a not so pretty side when it comes to Mexico’s vulnerable pets.

Dr. “Lalo” has practiced veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen for 25 years, here with Chanel
Dr. “Lalo” has practiced veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen for 25 years, here with Chanel

Chanel’s Long Journey Ahead

Mid November 2018, she was found wandering in traffic, confused and terrified. Thankfully, though, Alex saw this tiny, skinny pup and took her home. When she was unable to find its owner, The Snoopi Project took on this extreme rescue case. Founder/Director, Kelly Whittemore, went immediately to HospiPet Playa veterinary clinic to see Dr. Eduardo “Lalo” Cárdenas.

It was evident that this very sick girl had been abandoned, but she now has a new name…Chanel. Yes, that same itsy bitsy Chihuahua that you saw last week in Whittemore’s arms, and also at the top of this page, being held by Dr. Lalo.

The first examination revealed that she was approximately seven-year-old, extremely malnourished, weighed barely 2.5 pounds and refused to eat or drink on her own. She had lost 50 percent of her hair, suffered from hypertension in her lungs, a bladder tumor and heart worms. Will she survive?

When strong enough, Chanel will have surgery to remove a bladder tumor, seen here in this ultrasound
When strong enough, Chanel will have surgery to remove a bladder tumor, seen here in this ultrasound

But Chanel is a little fighter. When strong enough, she will undergo surgery to remove the tumor, be spayed, have her teeth cleaned and start heart worm treatment. In the meantime she is getting excellent care from her vets and foster mom, Cryss.

Q & A WITH DR. “LALO”

HospiPet Playa Clínica Veterinaria was established in 2010. It’s a medical center that includes specialized surgery and cancer treatment for small species. Dr. Eduardo “Lalo” Cárdenas has been practicing in Playa del Carmen for 25 years so, with that kind of experience and an excellent reputation, I asked him about veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable.

Infectious And Contagious Diseases

Pet Peeves Unmasked: What are the most common illnesses you see in your practice?

Dr. “Lalo”: Many of our cases involve hemoparasitosis, such as ehrlichia and anaplasma.

Note:

Ehrlichiosis is an infectious tick-borne illness. The ehrlichia bacteria attacks a dog’s blood cells and causes chronic infection.

Anaplasma is also spread by ticks. Anaplasmosis comes in two forms and infects white blood cells and platelets.

DL: We also treat a lot of patients suffering from viral infections, like parvovirus, feline leukemia, and distemper, as well as skin infections, such as atopia.

Note:

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is highly contagious, the most common form being intestinal.

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a disease that impairs a cat’s immune system and commonly causes anemia and lymphoma. 

Canine distemper has no known cure. It affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems, as well as the conjunctival membranes of the eye.

Atopia. Atopic reactions are caused by localized hypersensitivity reaction to an allergen.


An outdoor pet, Robin had a tooth abscess which caused a serious oral infection, here after surgery
An outdoor pet, Robin had a tooth abscess which caused a serious oral infection, here after surgery
This surgical procedure shows how veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable makes a big difference
This surgical procedure shows how veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable makes a big difference

PPU: Are some of the illnesses you mentioned prevalent in tropic climates such as this, especially when pets are outdoors for extended periods? 

DL: Yes, that is so. Hemoparasitosis is typical of hot, humid regions like ours.

Neutering

PPU: In Playa del Carmen do you have campaigns that offer free or low-cost sterilization and parasite treatment for dogs and cats?

DL: Absolutely. Both local government and private organizations hold events so that low-income families can have their pets neutered.

Mistreatment

PPU: What can you tell us about incidences of mistreatment?

DL: First of all it’s to do with irresponsible pet ownership, not seeking early medical attention. And, second, aggressive behavior between pets where there are multiple family members living under the same roof. This shows a total lack of control and planning. And, this problem also occurs at animal shelters.

Advice

DL: I’d tell them to assess their personal circumstances — social, economic, health — that directly impact their ability to look after a pet. People should evaluate these things before getting a dog, or a cat. And, if they are not willing to allow the animal to become a member of the family, it would be better for them not have one.

PPU: What’s the most valuable advice you can give to families who are struggling financially?

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are the heroes. Thank you for what you do!

  • Dr. Eduardo Cárdenas
  • Dr. Simón Rosales
  • Simón Méndez – General Assistant
  • Laura Velázquez – Assistant
  • Foster mother, Cryss
  • The Snoopi Project
  • All those who donate to veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable dogs and cats

Visit HospiPet Playa’s website: http://www.hospipetplaya.com

Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hospipetplaya

Please be sure to check in next week. We’ll be returning to Tulum to see how the community works together for the good of the animals.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


DOG HOUSES SHELTER MEXICO’S PETS


PART 2 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES” 

This week we show how dog houses protect Mexican pets that have a human family but live mostly outdoors, often in deplorable conditions. Sadly, and for whatever reason, the canines are not allowed inside the home.

Our photos tell the stories of before and after. And we learn, first hand, why one small volunteer organization based in Playa del Carmen is able to step in and help.

The Snoopi Project – Riviera Maya

“When we started in July 2015, our initial intention was to provide animals with a proper shelter, educate owners on responsible pet ownership and promote spay/neuter,” explains Kelly Whittemore, Founder and Director of The Snoopi Project. 

Master carpenter Alonso Roda and his latest dog house, finished just in time for Christmas

Dog Houses Shelter Mexico’s Pets

In order to assist local pet owners who are obviously struggling economically, this organization donates dog houses for canines that are kept outside. These items are made locally out of recycled wooden pallets from local businesses. The objective is to protect the animals from the tropical weather conditions prevalent in the state of Quintana Roo, on the Riviera Maya. That way, the animals are sheltered from the blistering sun and torrential rain that is typical during the summer hurricane season.

“On average, we are now able to deliver two to three dog houses a week, sometimes more,” says Whittemore, who is originally from California and worked as a veterinary assistant in North Carolina before settling in south-east Mexico. The Snoopi Project pays a carpenter, Alonso Roda, for his work. The extra money he earns on top of his full-time job allows him and his family to have a better life. The first dog house was delivered in July 2015 and the total count up to and including end December 2018 stands at 596. What an amazing achievement! 

Scouting Low-Income Neighborhoods

When I asked Whittemore how they hear about pet guardians who need help, she explained that residents and volunteers alert her of precarious situations. However, in addition to that, Kelly and her friend and helper, Stephanie La, constantly drive around poor neighborhoods. They look for outside pets and check on their welfare. She even laughed about the fact that residents are a little shocked to see them in their Snoopi Wagon. The fact is “most times people think we must have taken a wrong turn.” 

Whittemore also commented that most people are very grateful and appreciate the help. “The Mexican community has, honestly, been very open. We have met a lot of wonderful people.”

Donations Are Key

The reason that The Snoopi Project is able to do its work is entirely because of the donations it receives. And, although providing dog houses toprotectvulnerable Mexican pets is the principle objective, that is not all they do. Here are some examples.

  • Each family that receives a dog house is also gifted de-parasite medication and flea/tick protection for 30 days, for all dogs on the property.
  • Needy pets also receive food and water bowls, collars with personalized ID tags, and toys as well as supplies of dry food.
  • Help is also provided so that pets can be sterilized.
  • While out on the streets, if they see an extreme case where an animal is injured, sick, abused or abandoned, they will take action. It’s important to note, however, that The Snoopi Project is not a shelter. All animals they rescue are either fostered or taken to a private boarding facility.

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are Mexico’s outdoor dog heroes. They are the people who care about the wellbeing of these sentient beings who, through no fault of their own, lack adequate care and protection. Thank you for what you do!

  • Kelly Whittemore and Stephanie La
  • Alonso Roda
  • All the volunteers, fundraisers, and those who donate to the cause

Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Snoopi-Project-Riviera-Maya-807710772678086/ 

To donate you can do so via PayPal to djwhittemore62@yahoo.com

Please be sure to follow me next week. We’ll be staying in Playa del Carmen to visit a veterinary hospital to discuss injuries, disease and preventio. It will also feature the challenging medical case of tiny patient, Chanel, seen here in the arms of Kelly Whittemore.

The Snoopi Project founder, Kelly Whittemore, takes rescue pup Chanel to the vet for more tests
The Snoopi Project founder, Kelly Whittemore, takes rescue pup Chanel to the vet for more tests

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  




MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES


PART 1: FOR THE HUNGRY, THE THIRSTY, AND THE HOMELESS

This blog began with a single topic, but then it grew into a series all about Mexico’s street dog heroes. To be more specific, it zeroes in on the tropical south-east region renowned for its beaches, archeological sites and eco-tourism. The action starts in Mérida, Yucatán, and travels across the state of Quintana Roo, with stops in Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Cancún. And if you’re wondering who the heroes are, they represent the three countries of North America (Mexico, Canada and the USA).

Feeders and waterers were installed in Mérida, Yucatán, by Mexico’s street dog heroes
Street dogs using feeders in the Yucatán capital of Mérida, south-east Mexico

YUCANINOS

Outdoor Food And Water Dispensers In Mérida

What first caught my eye mid 2018 was an article I read in the online version of the daily publication “Yucatán Al Minuto.” It dealt with outdoor feeders and waterers for dogs and cats that roam the streets of Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán. 

Votes For Voiceless Animals

At the time, political campaigning was in progress for the upcoming general election. Mexicans would soon be voting for a new President as well as state officials nationwide. Animal lovers who were working on behalf of the PRI party candidate running for state governor decided to launch an initiative called “Yucaninos.” This word comprises the first four letters of Yucatán, and caninos, Spanish for canines. 

Those working on this project decided to install the state’s first ever feeders and waterers in Mérida. Then, prior to the launch, they held orientations to gather the support of residents in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood. In addition to that, the plan also included recruiting volunteers to ensure that fresh food and water was always on hand and being properly dispensed.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get comments from people on the ground there. However, the program appears to have been a success and was replicated in other communities. One of these is Tulum where we will now make a stop.

Street cat in Tulum, south-east Mexico, eating from an outdoor feeder
Street cat in Tulum, eating from an outdoor feeder

iTOUR MEXICO – TULUM & AKUMAL

Business, Advocacy, And Endurance

Those who know Alma García well can tell you that she has boundless energy and a fighting spirit. And it is these qualities that have enabled her to do the following three things. 

Firstly, she and her Italian-born fiancé founded and manage two very successful boutique hotels and also offer eco-tours to visitors from around the world. Second, García loves animals and raises money for local homeless dog and cat populations. And, her third endeavor is to push herself further and win more marathons!

Feeder Flop

It’s certainly disappointing but there are times when you have a great idea but it just doesn’t work out. That’s what happened when this entrepreneur set up feeders close to her hotels. As my readers probably know, distemper is highly contagious and potentially lethal. So, when there was an outbreak of this disease in Tulum, the local authorities determined that the feeders had to be removed to prevent it from spreading further. 

Despite this setback, however, García continues to help Mexico’s street dogs and cats in other ways.

iTour Mexico in Tulum and Akumal sells tee-shirts to raise money for street dogs and cats
iTour Mexico in Tulum and Akumal sells own design tee-shirts to raise money for street dogs and cats. This one says “adopt, don’t buy.”

Tee-Shirt Triumph

Undaunted, García supplements her personal donations with funds raised from the sale of tee-shirts in her gift shops. “Visitors are really motivated to ease the suffering of all the roaming dogs and cats they see in our area,” she said. “They love all our tee-shirt designs.”

Through their support, García is able to buy food and contribute towards the cost of spay and neuter programs to reduce the canine and feline  populations on the streets. In addition, funds are allocated to construct dog houses out of wooden pallets made by a local carpenter. That way, some of the animals can shelter from the blazing sun and torrential rain.

A local carpenter makes dog houses for street dogs in Tulum, south-east Mexico
A local carpenter makes dog houses for street dogs in Tulum, south-east Mexico

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are Mexico’s street dog heroes. They are the people who care about the wellbeing of these sentient beings who, through no fault of their own, end up struggling to survive on the streets. Thank you for what you do!

  • Yucatán gubernatorial candidate, Mauricio Sahuí; Edwin Espadas, who worked on his electoral campaign; and the residents of Mérida’s Emiliano Zapata neighborhood.
  • iTour Mexico, Alma García and Marco Pasqualino.                                                     www.itourmexico.com

Please be sure to follow me next week. We’ll be taking a trip to Playa del Carmen for more on dog houses, the before and after photos, and The Snoopi Project!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  



RAWHIDE BONES SAFETY WARNING

A dramatic illustration like this shows why pet parents must heed this rawhide bones safety warning
These basic manufacturing steps illustrate why a rawhide bones safety warning is necessary. Courtesy of Rodney Habib

Dogs love them yet a rawhide bones safety warning is absolutely necessary. Why? Because nearly all the brands you see online and on the shelves of your favorite pet supply store are constructed with hide from dubious sources and full of toxic chemicals that are used in their manufacturing process. In fact, they have to be among the worst “entertainment” items ever created for dogs.

Rawhide Isn’t Really Raw

This kind of rawhide is more like leather because it goes through many of the same processing steps that are used to make shoes, handbags and a host of other items. 

How Rawhide Dog Bones And Chews Are Manufactured

Here is what happens.

* The hides are soaked in a highly concentrated salt solution to kill any protein-destroying organisms.

* Then they are treated with either an ash-lyme solution or sodium sulphide liming to strip off any hair or fat.

* Next, more chemicals are applied to separate the different layers, since only the inner most ones are used for the chews.

* The hide is then bleached white.

* A chemical preservative is applied so the hide doesn’t spoil.

* A coloring agent is applied.

* The leather is then cut, rolled and glued into the desired shape, packaged and shipped out.

What The Experts Tell Us

“Rawhide is the most dangerous pet chew ever. More dogs have died from rawhide treats than almost any other form of dog treats or food.” 

Rodney Habib, Canadian activist and founder of Planet Paws. 

“As the rawhide is chewed and turns soft and gooey, and the knots at each end get undone, it has become a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard.”

Dr. Karen Becker, holistic veterinarian.

To help prevent choking, intestinal obstruction and death, we need more rawhide bones safety warning posters like this.
A rawhide bones safety warning like this helps prevent choking, intestinal obstruction and death.
Courtesy of Mornington Peninsula Dog Lovers

Some Scary And Very Sad Stories

Like so many others, the people mentioned here hadn’t received a rawhide bones safety warning.

Teddy almost choked on one, it had completely unraveled and was down his throat.Thank God we were home and in the same room.” Tracey Schofield

Years ago, my Jack Russell was choking on a rawhide, but luckily I was able to put my finger down his throat and got it out. I don’t know why the stores keep selling rawhides.” Celine Ostendorf

After swallowing some pieces of rawhide, mine died in surgery, so sad.” Sylvie Haustete

“One of my ‘students’ had an obstruction. When I asked when the pup would be in for its 2nd level of training, I was told that, sadly, the little one had died due to blockage in the intestines.” Wendy Roberson (dog trainer)

I had a pedigree German Shepherd that ate some rawhide and died in my jeep before I could reach the vet! There was nothing I could do. His stomach was all swollen and twisted by the obstruction.” Mercedes López-Roberson

To Sum Up

These testimonials speak for themselves. Besides, there are other ways, much safer ways, to provide enrichment for your beloved pets.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

SEEKING JUSTICE FOR DOG ON DOG MAULINGS

My Advocacy

Many of us are seeking justice for dog on dog maulings so that irresponsible dog owners are held accountable. We strive to make sure that we protect our companion animals, and that they are not maimed and killed.

When you become involved—directly, or indirectly—in an issue that resonates, it makes you determined to do whatever you can. It’s something that strikes a chord. That makes you want to speak out. And reach out. To consolidate ideas. Advocate for change. And help others.

My earlier blog entitled Are Current Dog On Dog Mauling Laws Unjust? describes an incident which took place in August 2018. It involves Shih Tzu Rocky in Oldsmar FL. Here is the link https://petpeevesunmasked.com/are-current-dog-on-dog-mauling-laws-unjust/

Below I outline two other confrontations I heard about recently. These stories highlight the dangers to dogs and why the current laws are inadequate and need to change.

My Three Chosen Stories: Rocky, Buckles, and Reese.

Many are now seeking justice for dog on dog maulings in every state. Here is Buckles after undergoing reconstructive jaw surgery
His jaw was shattered, tubed and wired shut after reconstructive surgery, but Buckles survived. Many are now seeking justice for dog on dog maulings in every state

Buckles suffered horrific injury to his jaw which is why we are seeking justice for dog on dog maulings across the USA

BUCKLES, SURVIVOR, WOODSIDE NY

August 2018. Buckles was a five-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that had been rescued from an abusive situation. As he was returning with his human from a trip to the park in Washington Heights, he was attacked by an off-leash dog. The other dog clamped down on his throat and then his legs. But, miraculously, he survived.

Buckles needed reconstructive surgery to his jaw which was destroyed and disfigured. It was tubed and wired shut for healing, then six weeks later he underwent a second surgery to remove the wiring.

At this point in time, I’m happy to report that Buckles continues to make a steady recovery from his horrific physical injuries. Nevertheless, he will likely be emotionally scarred for the rest of his life after suffering such a traumatic event.

REESE R.I.P., CASSELBERRY FL

November 2017. Six-year-old Reese, a Yorkipoo, was mauled to death by two large dogs. It happened less than a block from home, as he was returning from an evening walk. The dogs had been tethered by their owner but managed to break loose and they also injured the two people that were with him. 

According to the existing ordinance, Casselberry authorities could fine the owner at fault $27.50. Then, if it happened again, they could issue another fine, double that amount, but would be unable to remove the dog(s) from the property. However, the City was well aware of the danger since these same dogs had gotten loose before, attacked other dogs and lunged at people walking along the sidewalk. Despite that, however, County Animal Control would be powerless to remove the vicious animals without the owner’s consent.

So, determined to fight for tougher laws involving dog aggression, and dog-on-dog maulings in particular, a friend posted a petition online.  Subsequently, Reese’s owner, Donna Syracuse, presented her case before Casselberry officials and Seminole County leaders. At the hearing, they approved adding new language to the existing ordinance on domestic animals and including higher fines for irresponsible pet owners.

Syracuse hopes that this ordinance will result in the following:

  • Improved communication between City and County officials to better protect citizens.
  • That if an animal that is running loose, and unprovoked, attacks or kills another animal or injures humans in the process, the attacking animal shall be immediately and permanently removed from the community.
  • And, if the dog’s owner has a documented history of possessing aggressive dogs, that individual should be banned from owning dogs in the future.

 A Step In The Right Direction

After reaching out to Animal Control of Seminole County, they told me that an amended Aggressive Animal Ordinance was executed. It is dated 10/3/18 and will be posted on their website soon. This is a positive step forward and I am sure that many of us will be waiting patiently to read it.

To Sum Up

Everyone involved in these horrific attacks is seeking justice for dog on dog maulings.

Rocky’s owners are struggling to pay off veterinary bills and have a GoFundMe page. They would also like to sue the aggressive dog’s owner, the owner of the condo he was reportedly renting from, and the management company. And, eventually, advocate for new laws to replace the current ones that do nothing to deter irresponsible behavior and help keep citizens safe. Here is one example of the law as it stands today. Even after filing a police report and going in person to Animal Control, the family was told that a dog is not deemed dangerous until a second dog-on-dog attack is reported. And even then, it cannot be removed.

As you know, Reese’s owner had to endure further heartbreak by relating her story in detail, yet again, in front of City and County officials. 

Buckles’ owner has also started a GoFundMe page to help with ongoing veterinary bills. They include costly reparative and reconstructive surgery.

My Closing Statement And Your Thoughts
  • Can’t there be laws that apply state-wide?
  • Why is it so difficult to pass laws at county level that are practical, logical and equitable, and serve the community at large?
  • Do more helpless companion animals have to die before proper justice is served? 
  • And, above all, how do we get this done and done right?

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

ARE CURRENT DOG ON DOG MAULING LAWS UNJUST?

TWO BLOGS. ONE MESSAGE. Today I have an important question for you. Are current dog on dog mauling laws unjust? 

Maybe you haven’t given this topic much thought. Maybe you know little or nothing about animal rights and injustices.  But don’t worry. I can help change that, which is why I am now focusing on this particular blog category. Animal Laws And Rights.

My Angle

This blog is a departure from the types of stories I usually publish on my site. If what I write and communicate helps make a difference, I hope to continue featuring topics like these that catch my attention. 

My Community

When issues arise in your community, in your neighborhood, and in your county, you are more likely to act. I was appalled when I read about Rocky on my local Nextdoor online network. The incident occurred about one mile from where I live, in a community where I have had numerous pet clients over the years. I reached out to the family in question and offered to help in any way I could. 

That’s why I’m asking you to please comment and let me know what you think. And, also, I would be delighted if you told me about the injustices that are close to your heart so I can write about them, too.

My Three Chosen Stories: Rocky, Buckles, and Reese.

Rocky succumbed to his injuries so I ask this question: are current dog on dog mauling laws unjust?
A vicious dog did this to Rocky which is why I ask if current dog on dog mauling laws are unjust

Rocky succumbed to his injuries, so if current dog on dog mauling laws are unjust, they need to change
When a dog that is known to be aggressive is allowed to do this, a well-
written ordinance is needed

ROCKY R.I.P., OLDSMAR FL

August 2018. On Friday the 11th to be exact, just past midnight, Olesa Fridman walked down one flight of stairs at her condo with her 15 pound, five-year-old companion. The downstairs neighbor’s 60lb dog ran out of nowhere and attacked Rocky, one of the family’s two Shih Tzus. 

Alerted by her screams, husband Oleg ran out and kicked the aggressive dog. It let go of Rocky who then took off running for his life. But, in full prey drive mode, the much larger, faster, attacking animal caught up with him and mauled Rocky a second time. Oleg chased after them and managed to kick the dog again. It released hold of Rocky but, despite his injuries, he was able to run away.

Searching for him continued throughout the early morning hours until night-time, with only a two-hour break. Rocky wasn’t found until late that night but, sadly, he was badly wounded.

The Fridmans rushed him to the nearest emergency clinic where they took x-rays, cleaned his wounds, administered pain meds and antibiotics, and allowed him to go home. 

But Rocky’s condition was worsening. He required hospitalization and was taken to BluePearl in Tampa for intensive care. Possible leg amputation was mentioned but a full evaluation would be done in the morning by the surgical team.

So, Olesa and Oleg returned home but within a few hours, received a call with the worst possible news. Rocky had sepsis and was not responding to the antibiotics. His sugar level was so low they could no longer read it. His kidneys were failing. So they hurried back to the hospital with other family members to say their final goodbyes. 

But this opening story doesn’t end here. Please continue by clicking this link https://petpeevesunmasked.com/seeking-justice-for-dog-on-dog-maulings/ to read about two other mauling incidents that had rather different outcomes. And find answers to the question…are current dog on dog mauling laws unjust?

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!