HSTJ Adoptable Pets

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


This is Colonia Panamericano. Originally these condominiums were built on an unstable landfill and sold to families in the early 80's. After a very rainy season, a whole row of buildings collapsed, killing many families. The owner disappeared, and the surrounding structures were considered uninhabitable. As time went by, families with little means began invading these buildings and continue to live in them until this day, along with many, many cats and dogs.

A young college student named Cristina made contact through social media, asking for our help in PANAMERICANO. We had been here back in 2011 and 2012, but there was little interest. [SEE "ONE OF OUR BIGGEST OBSTACLES"]. Cristina showed much initiative and soon gathered a small team of 6 diligent people. We scheduled activities for March and April 2016, beginning with community workshops locally, as well as interactive lessons at the local elementary and middle schools. From the get-go both children and adults were told they must attend at least one of the workshops in order to obtain free parasite treatment for their animals and to reserve a spot at the upcoming sterilization clinic. The response was fantastic. We discussed themes such as: "How to keep you pet and your home parasite-free; The truth about sterilization--debunking old myths and highlighting the benefits; What exactly are ticks and how can they transmit the deadly disease: Rickettsia?", among others.

It sometimes happens that in the poorest neighborhoods people are the least informed, and this is accurately reflected by a lack of interest in sterilizing their animals. In the past we have spent weeks publicizing, promoting and even going door to door inviting people in "at-risk" neighborhoods to sterilize their animals FOR FREE at an event near their homes... but to no avail. 4 or 5 people show up. I am 100% serious.
Unfortunately, misinformation and lack of knowledge are the biggest obstacle, and the primary reason why these neighborhoods are teeming with homeless cats and dogs. To combat this we have incorporated workshops now. These include many visual aids (impacting full-color images). And we tell people that they must come to the workshops in order to get free parasite treatment and to reserve a spot for the s/n clinic.  We tried it, AND THE RESULTS INDICATE THAT IT WORKS.

After the workshops we scheduled two Itchy-Scratchy clinics, treating 96 cats/dogs the first day and 192 the following day, referring a total of 37 extreme cases to our HSTJ Center. It is incredible the amount of cats we saw. As an added benefit, Tijuana Animal Control heard of our event and sent us an employee to administer the rabies vaccine (for free) to those animals that required it. Many took advantage of that opportunity.
(At I.S. clinics trained volunteers administer deworming medication, flea/tick medicine, clean eyes/ears, clip nails if needed, and tend to minor cuts. Special cases are screened and referred to our HSTJ Vet clinic for free treatment. This is done to prepare the animals for surgery in the coming week. All of this is free, and dog/cat food is distributed when we have sufficient donations.) 

We now wish extend a very special and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone over at AMC Vet on Telegrapgh Canyon Rd. because without their generous donation of supplies this Itchy-Scratchy clinic would definitely not have been possible. Their response to our plea came at the most opportune time. Please know that your help touched the lives of all those animals, plus many more to come. THANK YOU!!!

During the entire PANAMERICANO project, Cristina and 5 other new volunteers learned the ropes. We are very happy to welcome these six people as new active HSTJ volunteers:
Cristina Marin, Lupita Diggs, Jairo Tovar Atreaga, Noe Martinez, and Alvaro & Imelda Marin.


The Spay and Neuter clinic took place on Sunday, April 24th 2016 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. 
We are very grateful to all the vets that dedicated this day to doing surgeries to help reduce overpopulation in this communty:
Dr. Gayle Roberts, Dr. Dulce Velazquez, Dr. Mike Constantine, Dr. Herlendi L√≥pez Morales, Dr. Jose Manuel Gomez, and Dr. Ernesto Quevedo. 
These six vets, along with many volunteers, worked together to sterilize 53 cats and dogs in just one day. THANK YOU ALL!! 

The remaining animals will be sterilized at a follow-up event, and those with means of transportation were referred to the HSTJ Center for free immediate sterilization. (At locations such as this, we set up a mobile clinic in an adequate location, such as a community center or a school. All medical supplies, materials and equipment are transported to and from clinic sites by local Mexican HSTJ volunteers.)


Would you please help us spread the word? We have scheduled spay/neuter clinics on the last Sunday of every month. The next clinic will be on May 29th at Colonia Altiplano.If any vets are able to dedicate one Sunday to doing surgeries and are interested in coming down, contact Nicole: 949-412-2439 

Please consider joining us at an Itchy-Scratchy or S/N clinic. Volunteers are free to participate whenever their schedule allows, be it once a month or once a year. There is plenty to do, and you don't have to speak Spanish.

MORE PICTURES: Itchy-Scratchy Flickr Album


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Tijuana "Dog Pound"

When HSTJ was formed ten years ago, we found a terrible situation at the Tijuana Dog Pound. The animals were being euthanized through electrocution; captured animals were not being promoted for adoption; and animals were only held for a maximum of 72 hours before being sacrificed.

That is why seeing the Dog Pound's vehicle arrive at one of our clinics full of dogs that will be sterilized, and knowing that they will receive a new opportunity at having a home, fill us with satisfaction and pride.


In late February 2016 HSTJ attended an invitation from the Tijuana Municipal Animal Control [formerly the Tijuana city dog pound] to be firsthand eye-witnesses in the investigation of a report of animal hoarding. The discovery was that a couple was housing 54 dogs at their home. Almost all the dogs were in fair conditions, but they were too many for such a small space and were overcrowded. Animal Control convinced them to surrender 31 dogs and keep only 23.

Out of the 31 dogs surrendered, only two had to be put down. The rest will remain in the animal control facilities until they are adopted.

HSTJ's collaboration with projects like this is not new. As is registered on previous blog entries, we have participated in sterilizing and adopting out many animals confiscated by and/or surrendered to the Tijuana Municipal Animal Control. This is provided free of cost, with the only condition that the animals not be euthanized, but instead given sufficient time to be adopted. On this occasion we assisted with the spay and neuter of 13 of the surrendered dogs.

Then this past Sunday, Animal Control loaned one of their units to transport both owners and 14 of the dogs they will be keeping to be fixed at our HSTJ Center. Currently, the Tijuana Animal Control promotes captured animals for an opportunity at adoption, uses humane euthanasia, and prolongs their stay as much as possible to give all animals a opportunity to be adopted. They are also promoting low-cost sterilization at a small scale, and they have lowered their adoption fee by almost 75%. Good work. Things are certainly starting to flow in the right direction.

On Sunday, March 6th, 2016 we held a Sterilization clinic with three vets operating, for a total of 55 animals spayed and neutered.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Update on PINGO - A Champion With a Heart of Gold

Here is an update on PINGO, this champion with a heart of gold. Here is a recent photo of him with his rescuer, Salma.

This wonderful pooch had a second chance at living life. In case you missed it, here are the details of his rescue:

PINGO was rescued in December 2015 by Salma, an individual rescuer that we support. Salma found him scavaging for food scraps among the bags of garbage outside his work place. He was new in the area, or at least that is what Salma thought. He began feeding the dog the next day and was wondering whether or not this dog would come to trust him. 
He didn't have to wait long. That day the dog felt Salma's good intentions and patiently sat outside this man's workplace. His boss said that PINGO could stay in the back until he recovered. 

Salma fed him for several days, and bathed him carefully. This is when he saw what appeared to be a small wound on his front leg. Salma cleaned and cared for the wound every day, but noticed no improvement in the wound and the PINGO's health continued to decline. Salma decided to bring PINGO to the HSTJ CENTER, and upon close examination, the vet could clearly see that the leg had gangrene/necrosis and had to be amputated. 

The surgery was performed on January 17th, 2016. It was a successful amputation that prevented further damage and essentially saved this dog's life. 

PINGO had enough time to recover in an enclosed area with sufficient food and water. Each day, as Salma arrived at his work place he would check up on PINGO and play with him for a while. Then every night, before heading home, he would make sure PINGO had everything he could need for the night.

PINGO has completely recovered and is a very happy dog. He is looking for a home. Please share his story and help us find him a foster home in the U.S., or even better, a forever home with a loving family. You can find his full bio/profile on our Petfinder Page.


SIMPLY PRINT, FILL OUT, AND EMAIL TO nicole@friendsofhstj.org

We are here to answer all of your questions and will remain with you throughout the entire process. With your help we can get PINGO and many other deserving rescues into temporary homes in the U.S. which in turn accelerates the adoption process. Please consider volunteering as a foster to a rescued animal from Mexico or at one of our other San Diego events


Monday, February 29, 2016

January and February 2016 Report

During the cold months of January and February we dealt with some inclement weather, in fact, one of our Spay/Neuter clinics had to be cancelled the night before because a storm lasted longer than meteorologists had anticipated. Nonetheless, people still made an effort to bring their pets. Here are the stats for these two months:


First Itchy-Scratchy Clinic in January was held on 1/24/2016 in Colonia Loma Bonita, treating 58 dogs and 5 cats, for a total of 63 animals. The second Itchy-Scratchy Clinic was held on 1/31/2016 in Colonia Villa Fontana, treating 59 dogs and 7 cats, for a total of 65 animals; bringing the total for January to 116 dogs and 12 cats. 

For February, the first Itchy-Scratchy Clinic was held on 2/21/2016 in Colonia Rial de S. Francisco, treating 75 dogs and 1 cat, for a total of 76 animals. The second clinic was held on 2/28/2016 treating 82 dogs and 2 cats, for a total of 84 animals; bringing the total for February to 157 dogs and 3 cats. 

At these events neighbors are invited to bring their pets to a booth we set up on the corner. Trained volunteers have a gentle touch and administer treatment for worms, mange, fleas, ticks, and other general care in preparation for an upcoming sterilization event. (Animals must be clean and in relatively good health before being operated. Spay and neuter are very complex surgical procedures and the animals we serve are either rescued street animals, or are pets that have had deficient diets and life-long flea or tick infestations, and no vaccinations or deworming treatments ever.) As usual, the treatment we offer at these mobile street clinics is free and all pet owners receive a 3 lb bag of dry dog/cat food for each pet they bring. At least the animal will have eaten well prior to his surgery, regaining some stamina.

Since 2006 this has been part of what we bring to the poorest neighborhoods of Tijuana where families can barely afford to feed themselves and their animals, much less pay for sterilization and other vet care.

People living here are extremely grateful for all services we bring and some will even walk long distances, up and down dirt roads with their animals. This is only made possible thanks to your generous donations.  So the next time you think about the animal problems in Mexico or see something on social media, know that you are making a direct contribution to combat this in a more permanent way: through education and sterilization. Overpopulation compounds the problem.


Our free/low-cost veterinary clinic is also a valuable resource for animal owners living in Tijuana. These services are strictly for families with little means and for individual rescuers (people who refuse to associate themselves with any specific animal rescue organization --but who dedicate their personal time and resources to pick up suffering animals off the streets, provide them veterinary attention, rehabilitate and care for them inside their own homes.)

During January the HSTJ CENTER did 62 spay/neuter surgeries and had 128 people bring their pets/rescues for various other reasons, not related to spay/neuter. [FEBRUARY STATS FOR THE CENTER WILL BE ADDED SHORTLY]

Just to give you an example of some special cases for January and February: The veterinarian performed three emergency cesarean surgeries. Pictured here is a litter of four puppies that were born in January. Boy were they loud puppies! :-)  Today they are growing big and strong. When they are ready, they will be up for adoption.

 Another special case was that of this white dog now named Pingo. He was rescued by Salma, an individual rescuer that we support. Salma cared for his wound on the front leg. He was consistently cleaning it, but noticed no improvement in the wound and the dog's health continued to decline. Salma decided to bring Pingo to the HSTJ CENTER, and upon close examination, the vet could clearly see that the leg had gangrene/necrosis and had to be amputated. Pingo has completely recovered and is a very happy dog. He is up for adoption. You can find his full bio/profile on our Petfinder Page.

 Yet another special case was that of this brown female dog of approximately three years of age. At some point she must have been involved in a fight with another dog, causing her to suffer an injury to her left eye. Being a stray, this remained untreated for many months, possibly over a year. She had lost the eye, and must have suffered a terribly painful infection. When a couple began noticing her on their way to work, they would continue to feed her every morning at the bus stop, gaining her confidence. They tell us that she was very friendly, but her eye area was extremely sensitive and appeared to cause her much pain. They decided to bring her to the HSTJ CENTER for examination and removal of the bad eye. The surgery was a success and this little lady recovered at the CENTER for the first few nights. The couple who rescued her rent a tiny apartment studio and were not allowed to bring her inside. They made her a small living quarters outside of their building. We are seeking a foster home for her on the U.S. side. If you know of someone looking to foster, please share her story with them. Thank you.

In January there was one event, sterilizing 15 animals. In February there were two events, sterilizing a total of 51 animals. These are cold months and it is important that pet owners can guarantee that the cat or dog will remain indoors after the surgery for at least the first few nights. Many people are not able to do this so they are asked to wait until the weather was a bit warmer. Please stay tuned for all the programmed activities during the upcoming months. As the weather gets warmer the flea and tick problems become severe, especially in the rural communities..

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 Holiday Fundraising

Dear Friends of the Humane Society de Tijuana,

WE take this opportunity to thank you for such an amazing response to our holiday fundraising efforts, and also to update you on what has happened in these past few months. So many good things are happening.

Just what is being accomplished?

We continue to finance veterinary care and the weekly cost to feed more than 150 cats and dogs that are being saved by individual rescuers at any given time, and help supplement over 150 more that were saved by smaller rescue groups that are not able to feed or care for them all. We also share all donated supplies among these rescued animals.

We have been able to continue to fund the life-saving facility that is now more familiar to many of you: the HSTJ Center, a free/low-cost veterinary clinic now located in Lomas Verdes, Tijuana.
On a side note, having to move the entire veterinary clinic out of its previous location and into a new one was costly and difficult, not to mention that it happened on very short notice and was completely unexpected, to say the least. But with good coordination and teamwork we were able to make it happen.

All of the equipment currently in use at this clinic has either been purchased or donated, and is necessary for our vets to save so many lives --sometimes performing very complicated procedures.

You may not realize it, but it takes a lot to equip and successfully run a veterinary facility in Mexico that is capable of handling such a wide variety of special cases. Of course, we are very grateful to the vets that donate their time and services at our facility, but the rent/utilities, surgical supplies and all other expenses are payed for by Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana.

  • Over 5,886 animals were treated in 2015, that averages more than 16 animals every day, which is truly amazing. 
  • And since some can't even afford the cost of transportation to the HSTJ Center, during 2015 we provided mobile clinics in 37 of the poorest and most vulnerable "colonias" (communities) in Tijuana. 
  • We helped 62 cats and dogs find forever homes through our adoption programs.
  • We educated over 400 children and adults on the humane treatment and proper care of animals. 
  • During summer months we had an intense participation with the Municipal Department of Health in Tijuana, and treated hundreds of cats and dogs for ticks during the 2015 Rickettsia-Tick epidemic. Sadly, several people in lost their lives due to Rickettsia in 2015, but we are confident that the hard work put forth by many volunteers was able to keep that number at a minimum.

Does all of this mean that our work is over?

Not at all. In fact, we're gearing up to extend our reach even further in 2016. Yes we have made progress and touched the lives of many animals, but there are still thousands more suffering on the streets and they desperately need help.

To this effect, Board Members for both organizations are so interested in expanding our reach as much as possible, that they have reanalyzed ways we can cut back in expenses so that we can provide much more support to the programs that are having the most success and an immediate impact on the animals and the families in Tijuana. Board Members are completely confident that the cost-saving initiatives we are taking, coupled with your continued support, will enable us to care for all the needs of the animals we serve.

On behalf of  Friends on HSTJ in the U.S. and HSTJ in Mexico, we would like to thank you sincerely for your generous support of this life-saving work benefiting the less fortunate animals and families that reside in this border town that is Tijuana. Here on our Blog you can always read more specific examples of what is being accomplished as a result of your generosity.


Cachito - Close Call

This is the story of a young man and his only companion.

The young man in the blue (we do not wish to use his name) now lives here in Tijuana. He came here just a few months ago seeking better work opportunities, leaving the rest of his immediate family back in the south of Mexico. Cachito, his chihuahua, had been his companion since he was just a boy, and he had no intention of leaving him behind. He now lives with a cousin and his family in the most eastern part of Tijuana, near the mountains.

On this this day, he went outside to purchase a jug of drinking water from the corner store, and Cachito hopped out the door to follow him. At that very moment the neighbor across the street was opening her front door and both her large dogs came running outside and the first thing they saw was Cachito. They attacked him, but the woman saw this and stopped it immediately. The young man had put down the jug and ran over to pick up his dog. The woman told him that she would pay for Cachito's vet care, and in just a few minutes they were at the HSTJ Center.

Dr. Angel Hernandez administered some anesthesia and sutured his wounds. Fortunately there wasn't too much damage because the owners intervened immediately. Everyone waited patiently until Cachito was out of anesthesia and his owner received the prescribed antibiotics and discharge instructions. The neighbor insisted on paying and ultimately did pay a very small fee.

Since the new Municipal Law on Animal Welfare was passed for the City of Tijuana, many more people are doing the right thing and keeping their pets enclosed on their own property. People are becoming aware of the benefits of adhering to these legal requirements, and the consequences of not doing so.

Takki - Recovering Well

This the story of Takki, a beautiful female dog that has demonstrated endurance and patience throughout this whole ordeal.

Takki was a stray like any other, rummaging for scraps and anything else she could eat for survival. Her body shows that she had at least two litters of pups at some point in her life. One tragic day she was hit by a vehicle and thrust onto the side of the road. The impact was so strong that it broke her spine in half, paralyzing her hind legs. There she was, near the side of the road with vehicles passing by just a few feet from where she lay. Squirming and trying to get up, Takki was in lots of pain and desperately tried to get away from the passing vehicles. One woman had seen everything. It had all happened so fast. She found her way to Takki as fats as she could and picked her up very gently.

Takki was brought to the HSTJ Center in a matter of minutes. Once there, our attending veterinarian, Dr. Angel Hernandez, immediately phoned and requested the services of a mobile X-Ray to have a look at Takki's bones. Once the X-rays were taken he was able to do a complete assessment of Takki's situation. She underwent a very complex surgical procedure and was in very good hands. Dr. Angel has been brought three other cases just like this one, and all of them have regained mobility and are able to walk on their own once again. Of course, not all cases have exactly the same outcome, and so those of us present that day were waiting in expectation and hoping for the best.

Takki came out of surgery just fine. She is recovering at the home of her rescuer and is eating quality food, taking her meds, getting light exercise, but most of all, getting the warm affection and love that was once unknown to her. As soon as she has recovered completely we will post a video of her walking around, as well as any pertinent adoption information.


October, November and December 2015 - Report

As many of you know, the last three months of 2015 were a bit difficult for us because we had to move the HSTJ Center to a new location in less than 30 days. Just finding an appropriate location, moving everything over and getting installed was hard enough, but also having to make several trips just to close our assorted utilities contracts for the old location, and then open up new utilities contracts for the new location was time consuming. Additionally, running a veterinary clinic in Mexico --and doing it legally-- requires applying for, and obtaining, several government permits.

It will please you to know that throughout all of this, we were able to keep the HSTJ Center running without interruption. Here are summaries of the data for those months. And please stay tuned for January's Monthly Report, which will include many stories and pictures, as is our custom.

October 2015
99 animals spayed or neutered (cats and dogs)
5 colonias visited with animal health/education programs
183 animals treated at mobile "Itchy-Scratchy Community Clinics"
198 animals treated at the HSTJ Center
14 special surgical procedures

November 2015
63 animals spayed or neutered (cats and dogs)
3 colonias visited with animal health/education programs
162 animals treated at mobile "Itchy-Scratchy Community Clinics"
71 animals treated at the HSTJ Center
6 special surgical procedures

December 2015
62 animals spayed or neutered (cats and dogs)
4 colonias visited with animal health/education programs
176 animals treated at mobile "Itchy-Scratchy Community Clinics"
161 animals treated at the HSTJ Center
10 special surgical procedures

Wednesday, December 16, 2015



On December 1st, 2015 the Municipal Police of Tijuana responded to a call in one of the most notorious slums of downtown Tijuana. A woman was arrested on various charges. In the room where she resided there were a total of 12 dogs living in frightful conditions. The police confiscated the dogs, calling Animal Control to take them away and have them all euthanized.

These unfortunate events were relayed to one of our contacts. After our past collaboration in the rehabilitation of 31 confiscated animals and the outstanding results, government officials were open to another collaboration.

Through a formal document, HSTJ has offered to provide these animals with grooming services, free sterilization for all 6 males and all 6 females, as well as veterinary care and medications. In return, we request a guarrantee that these dogs will not be euthanized immediately, and will be given sufficient time in which to be adopted. They will remain at Animal Control until they are adopted.

As of right now, all 12 have been sterilized and groomed. They have all been seen by a veterinarian and are slowly regaining their health and putting on weight. But they are still staying at the dog pound. 
Please remember that if they are not adopted, they will inevitably be killed. That is why it is so important to spread the word right now!! We have to get them out of there!!!


If you decide to do so these dogs will experience love, affection and the warmth of a home --something they had never felt before. In addition, you will gain the company of someone who will be eternally grateful, and the unwavering loyalty of a wonderful friend.

Pictured above is a before and after shot of one of these doggies. To see pictures of the rest of them, click HERE We will be uploading more pictures and complete profiles as they become available.

Please share with anyone you think might be able to help. On this side volunteers are working non stop trying to find them fosters/adopters locally as well. The clock is ticking for these babies.



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Holiday Newsletter 2015 - PRESIDENT'S END OF THE YEAR REPORT

November 2015

Dear Friend of the Humane Society de Tijuana:

As the 2015 calendar year closes we take this opportunity to share our successes and the immediate, urgent challenges as well. During the past year we were able to expand the types of veterinary services offered at the HSTJ Center and, as expected, it resulted in many more pleas for assistance.  As of now, no one has been turned down. You can read some of these stories right here on our blog.

Last year also saw a tremendous increase in spays and neuters as well as animals treated at the street clinics, bringing the year’s total to 5,886 cats and dogs! Added to that, were all the animals benefiting from our food distribution programs and the rehabilitation/adoption programs.

Another major accomplishment was the development of a public education program, EduCan, which has gained recognition from the municipal government of the City of Tijuana.

On another positive note, we had an unexpected negative situation in October actually turn into something very positive. The building we rented for the HSTJ Center changed hands and our lease was not renewed in September. We were able to lease another location, and while we incurred large moving expenses due to the equipment transportation and a 15% increase in rent, the new location has proved to be ideal. 

The reality is that due to our program successes, the demands for such have far exceeded our budget to provide them, and will soon deplete current funds. Without additional support, we will not be able to continue this increased level of service to the animals of our rescuers and low income public.
We are sending you this urgent plea because we cannot allow ourselves to deny services to any animal that needs it. Please keep in mind that there are an estimated 10,000 animals living on the streets of  Tijuana on any given day and they need help. HELP US MAINTAIN OUR CURRENT LEVEL OF SUPPORT FOR THESE  DESERVING  ANIMALS.

FHSTJ & HSTJ receive no government support and continue with an all volunteer staff except for a part time program coordinator. No officer or board member receives monetary compensation. The compensation comes from seeing happy and healthy animals. We depend on your generosity to continue rescuing abandoned and abused animals and saving them from a life of starvation,    disease, pain and fear.


You can do so by visiting www.friendsofhstj.org and clicking on the donation page, or you can mail your contribution to:

Friends of HSTJ
641 E. San Ysidro Blvd. #B3-431
San Ysidro, CA 92173

On behalf of the animals and the dedicated staff of FHSTJ & HSTJ, I offer a sincere thank you.

Richard Massa
President, Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana