Friday, August 28, 2009

Project Beatrice & Family - Angels to the Street Dogs of Tecolote

Help Project Mercy and Friends of HSTJ Build a home for this modest family!

There are many heroes to the animals that FHSTJ/HSTJ has found along our journey, but few have a story as inspiring as that of Enrique and Beatriz. This young couple lives in Tecolote, which is a neighborhood located southeast of Tijuana. Enrique works as a night watchman. In addition to caring for their three-year-old daughter, Iris, Beatriz makes decorative candies and sells them to the neighboring communities.

Four years ago, Beatriz and Enrique married and bought their small plot of land in Tecolote with the vision of beginning a family. Soon afterward, they were expecting their first child. However, Beatriz had a difficult pregnancy, and her doctor informed her she was in danger of losing her baby. Suddenly, she found herself with a protective, maternal feeling like none she had ever experienced.

“Some women experience cravings for food. What I experienced was a craving to help animals,” said Beatriz.

They began rescuing dogs from among the hundreds of homeless animals present in the streets around their home. Soon, the people in the surrounding community noticed their generosity and began abandoning animals in front of their house. Before they knew it, they were completely overrun with street dogs. When Iris was born, the couple struggled to care for all the animals in addition to their daughter.

“There have been times that we had to choose between the pediatrician and the veterinarian. Our baby was sick, our dogs were sick, and we couldn’t afford to care for them all.”
Infectious diseases began to plague their dogs, and many unfortunately died. The family mourned the loss of their family members and buried each of them with care. Finally, Enrique had an idea. He found an internet café and began to e-mail every animal rescue organization he could find in Mexico in search of help. His e-mail was forwarded from the Humane Society in Mexico City to Lety Coto, the HSTJ president.

Upon hearing they had rescued over 100 street dogs, and that there were currently over 40 dogs at Beatriz and Enrique’s house, Lety was concerned for this family. However, when she visited, she was pleasantly surprised at what she found.

“There were over 40 dogs there, yes, but they were in wonderful condition. They were taking extremely good care of them!”

Lety quickly summoned support from the rest of HSTJ and held an Itchy Scratchy clinic for Beatriz and Enrique’s dogs in order to treat parasites. Shortly thereafter, a small sterilization clinic was held nearby to neuter all the male animals. With continued support from HSTJ, the dogs are still being treated for parasites, sterilized, vaccinated, and transported across the border for adoption into loving homes.

In return, Beatriz and Enrique have committed to helping our organization. Beatriz has been intimately involved with the dogs FHSTJ/HSTJ rescued from a hoarding case last February. She has dutifully helped to care for these animals while they have been rotated out of Tijuana and placed into homes in the U.S.

This family has asked for nothing from HSTJ and FHSTJ other than help in their endeavor to rescue the thousands of sentient creatures roaming the streets of Tijuana – a mission that was already a primary goal for our organization. However, their humility and devotion to the animals has touched the hearts of many of us, and we wish to do even more to help the struggling family.
The family lives in a one-room shanty with a dirt floor. Their roof is comprised of a tarp, and their front door is simply a curtain. There is no running water, electricity, or plumbing. Outside, in the midst of their exuberant pack of dogs, is a small garden where they grow their own food in a makeshift planter created from an old refrigerator. The last four years, all of their spare time and resources have been committed to caring for the dogs. Enrique keeps impeccable records on supplements and parasite treatments for each of their dogs (currently numbering 34). Beatriz and Enrique know each of their dogs’ names by heart, as the animals are considered part of their family.

Several American volunteers wish to raise the money to build the family a better home on their modest plot of land. Few people, whether American, Mexican, rich, or poor, possess the caring and compassion for animals that this family does. For all of their sacrifices and commitment to helping the animals, we feel they deserve help improving their own quality of life.

Our goal is to raise $3000 to help this deserving family build a house – one with a floor, a roof, and a front door. In return, they have committed to being a permanent rescue facilitator for HSTJ. Project Mercy, another non-profit organization, has committed to helping Friends of HSTJ in this endeavor. An anonymous donor has already generously contributed $2000, so we have $1000 left to raise.

Can you help us? Donations for this project can be made to the Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana via our cause on facebook or our website for a one time donation.

Please e-mail Sarah or Michelle with questions.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 2009 Adoption Events

Dog Days of Summer Festival in Cardiff

On August 8th, Friends of HSTJ had a booth at the Dog Days of Summer festival in Cardiff. Such a great event for all San Diego dog lovers. We placed one of our adorable pups into a loving home.

Big Dogs Rock Adoption Event at Fiesta Island

On August 15th, Friends of HSTJ had a booth at the Third Annual Big Dogs Rock Adoption Event put on by the San Diego Animal Supprot Foundation. HSTJ was among over 15 other local rescue groups, finding homes for larger breed pups. What a successful event for HSTJ! We successfully placed 5 dogs into loving homes!

Article on the Front Page of the Baja Times about the Perroton

Tijuana “Perroton” 2009
US & TJ Vets Sterilize 300 Dogs
By Marlene Dunbar
On Sat. July 25 & Sun July 26, the city of Tijuana made history when it hosted the Tijuana 2009 “Perroton” event.The Perroton is a special project whose goal is to raise funds for a new city animal shelter. The city government, educational institutions, veterinarians and animal protection groups are all coming together to make this new city shelter a reality.Veterinarians from the United States joined Tijuana vets to host a 24 hour weekend of very low cost sterilization surgeries to Tijuana pet owners. Over 300 pets were sterilized at this round the clock event, which took place at the University of Baja. Some of the cities finest vets volunteered their services: Dr. Alfonso Alexandar, of Tijuana, Dr. Manuel Gordian, also of Tijuana, and Dr.Omar Rivera of Playas.Six of Tijuana’s leading animal rescue groups were on hand to help. All the surgical equipment was provided by the Humane Society of Tijuana. Volunteers from APRODEA, one of Tijuana’s oldest groups, worked side by side with newer groups such as the Brigada of Animal Protection, Tijuana Animal Rescue, & Tijuana animal rescue. For all animal rescuers and vets, it was like an “old home week” of sorts. Assembled in one place were people who have devoted their lives to bettering the cause for Tijuana’s homeless pets. One group, APRODEA, dated back 20 years, and could remember a time when there were no public sterilization projects for pets: a time when the cities streets were filled with hundreds of stray dogs and packs of dogs, roaming the streets searching for food.For these old timers, the perroton was like watching a dream come true. For many years, animal activists fought to get the city to recognize that sterilizing dogs was the only effective and humane way to significantly reduce their numbers. The long-standing method of ‘animal control” was to round up strays and euthanize them at the city pound.One group emerged to the forefront, taking educational programs, sterilization programs and flea and tic vaccination programs to the poorest neighborhoods in the city. This group was the Humane Society of Tijuana. The Humane Society of Tijuana is the largest group working in the city. HSTJ director Richard Massa, and President Leticia Coto, have devoted years of their lives to bring these programs to impoverished Tijuana neighborhoods. The group now has a San Diego branch, Friends of the Humane Society of Tijuana. Volunteers from Friends helped care for dogs in the recovery area after surgeries.Dr. Carlos Perez, President of the Tijuana Veterinary College, will act as co-coordinator and treasure for the new Tijuana shelter project. Dr. Perez told the Baja Times that the city of Tijuana has donated about $40,000, and has promised a piece of land. The new shelter site has not yet been decided on, although one property in the San Antonio Los Buenos area of the city is being considered.Tents were set up and the different animal protection groups sold tamales, burritos, and miscellaneous pet supplies to help raise funds.For everyone, especially the old time rescuers, the Perroton were a wonderful event, signaling a time when the suffering of homeless pets wandering the streets might actually someday come to an end.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yappy Hour to Benefit Humane Society de Tijuana

Dog Days of Summer Yappy Hour
DATE: Next Tuesday, August 18, 2009
TIME: 5pm - 8pm
LOCATION: La Jolla Brewhouse, 7536 Fay Ave., La Jolla

The Dog Days of Summer are Here - Join HSTJ for a fun pet friendly event. The La Jolla Brewhouse has a pet-friendly patio and in addition to the great drink and food specials, will be offering a canine menu for your favorite canine friend. Great giveaways from Muttropolis and the Honest Kitchen. Pet Caricatures by Joanne Stephens. A raffle to include prizes from Whole Foods, Disneyland Tickets, Zoo Tickets, Ramada Getaway and more! We will aslo have some fun games for your to include a dog weenie bob! What dog doesn't love to bob for scrumptuous hot dogs?! A portion of all proceeds to benefit the Humane Society de Tijuana and their programs of education about the humane treatment of animals and the spay and nueter clinics.
We hope to see you there!
Please help make this event a success by spreading the word about this great pet-friendly event!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Success Stories for Mid-Year 2009

As a part of the Mid-Year Report, HSTJ would like to share with you the amazing stories of rescues for 2009.

It is very common to see animals in this condition roaming the streets of Mexico. But with just a little care and love, an animal can make a full recovery as evidenced by the photos below.

The family that had Roger was no longer able to feed him and just left him to starve to death. One of our rescuers, saw Roger and convinced the family to let him take the dog. Roger was so weak, that for the first few weeks, he stayed in his pen and rested, slowly gaining his strength through the nourishment he was receiving. Roger truly was given a second chance, he has been living with his rescuer for several months. He is very friendly, a happy boy and he sure does LOVE to eat!

This little guy was found one night very scared and disoriented. He was full of scabies, fleas and his fur was practically peeling away from his skin. His eyes were also very infected due to the scabies. It was clear that Charlie had been hit by a car as he was having trouble walking. Despite his condition and undoubtedly the pain, little Charlie was full of love to give, hopping around to favor his leg, little Charlie’s tail would go crazy anytime a person would approach him and the most adorable little sounds would come from him of joy, just telling you, please love me! Five months after rescuing Charlie, he has improved greatly as seen in the pictures. All of Charlie’s hair has grown back and he is even able to run and play!

HSTJ estimates that there are about 7000 ill, starving and frightened street animals loose on the streets of TJ on any given day. Help HSTJ help these animals by making a donation today!
Thank you for recognizing that Animals Have No Nationality!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

HSTJ's July 31, 2009 Mid-year Report

Dear Volunteers and Donors:

For the past three years I have been sending out an end-of-year report as the year draws to a close. This year, because of the tremendous amount of activity due to your generosity, I think it is appropriate that I give you a mid-year report of our latest accomplishments and challenges.

Many of you tell me that you enjoy and appreciate the monthly email reports and photos sent by our Vice-President, Michelle. I think these reports are a great way for our donors to see how their donations are being used and to actually see the animals being helped.

Additionally, and by way of this letter, I would like to share some behind-the-scenes information that you may find of interest about the programs that Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana support.

On the political front:
As a result of an animal hoarding case in Tijuana last February [Ref: article San Diego Union Tribune, Saturday 21 Feb. 09, Section B, p 1] -
a case where Humane Society de Tijuana directly intervened - the city established a planning committee to study the use of government resources for a new shelter. This committee was formed because of the public outcry about the city's lack of services to control animal overpopulation, and its inability to cope with ill prepared rescuers hoarding rescued animals in less than desirable conditions. HSTJ, through its contacts in Mexico City, brought to light information about resources received locally. Then, HSTJ pushed for the
proper use of these funds. HSTJ now has a seat, and representation, on the new shelter planning committee and wants the facility to function as a comprehensive shelter for sterilization, public education and animal adoptions, and not just a pound where animals are collected and euthanized. This will take patience and more political pressure because some city functionaries want nothing more than just another "dog pound," where there is little professional accountability and virtually no public participation in the way it is administered.

On the legal front:
While the Mexican State of Baja California has animal cruelty laws on the books, they are not enforced in the courts. The reasons are too many to enumerate here. Suffice it to say that hardly anyone is aware that these laws exist, including some of the public officials. HSTJ has fielded many animal cruelty complaints and while no local district authorities brought the cases to
court, there has been some cooperation from the police to at least pay a visit to the offenders. This alone is often sufficient to bring about a change since people do not want to deal with the police. Also, HSTJ has educated many citizens in person and by phone as to how to make complaints to local police stations. As of this time, HSTJ’s position is not to seek new laws, which could take eons, but rather for enforcement of already existing laws. Getting support from government functionaries is not easy. For example, two years ago, HSTJ had to take action against workers and the supervisor at the city pound for attempting to leave animals in a closed city pound truck for four days without food and water while they went on vacation for the Easter holiday. The police were reluctant to break into a government truck. Meanwhile, HSTJ had to push food and water through the cage grating on the locked truck and spray it down to keep it cool. It took 48 hours of complaints and begging before the police would intervene. HSTJ received national and local TV and press coverage during this very sad event and eventually some city functionaries were called to task and workers were disciplined.

Coping with the economic downturn:
Just like many other organizations who depend on donations for their survival, we have felt the effects of the world economic downturn. Fortunately, people have been responsive to our special fundraisers. Some business donors as well as a couple of anonymous donors have helped pick up some of the slack. Thus we have been able to continue with our programs and HSTJ has increased the Street Clinics from once a month to three times a month while continuing the once-a-month spay and neuter clinic as well as street rescues. In addition, HSTJ now has a small van that can serve not only for transporting animals and supplies but also as a mobile, one table, operating room.
It is modest and not too pretty; but, it is clean and safe and a veterinarian can go directly to the homes where our Mexican volunteers have rescued animals. Now volunteers won't have to wait until the next regularly scheduled monthly clinic takes place in order to treat and spay these animals. The sooner they are treated and spayed, the sooner they get adopted.

However, progress is causing growing pains-some very big growing pains. It is hard to believe that only three years ago HSTJ was doing clinics out of cardboard boxes. Now, the HSTJ monthly Spay/Neuter Clinics are rotating among six city community center sites. Additionally, and three times a month, the Street Clinics rotate among ten different poor neighborhoods to treat animals for parasites, fleas, ticks and to distribute food. Surgery clinics average 40 spays/
neuters a month. Another 175 animals are seen at the monthly Street Clinics. This is in addition to the rescues being held at homes of various volunteer rescuers and foster care volunteers, whose numbers average about 60 animals a month. Add to this the on-site spay/neuter surgery and you see what I mean about growing pains.

Our small corps of American and Mexican volunteers work very hard but volunteers cannot be expected to volunteer for something everyday and that is exactly what is happening to the board members and advisors of HSTJ and FHSTJ. They are working on something everyday, seven days a week. Therefore, as President of FHSTJ and also a board member of HSTJ, I am asking that we support HSTJ’s decision to suspend its policy of having only volunteer help and hire occasional Mexican workers to assist with driving the van, transporting animals, delivering food, hauling equipment and helping with the paper work that the Mexican government requires of them. Having a total of 35 hours a week of paid help will take the pressure off those of us who are working everyday so that we can devote more time to the animals. It will cost HSTJ approximately 90 dollars US per week. This, of course, assumes that we see an increase in donations so that we can pay for it. I do not want to see our volunteers “burnout” as we take on more work.

Short term goals and related expenses: *
1. FHSTJ will continue to support HSTJ’s goals of offering clinics and doing rescues/adoptions. Monthly ongoing costs based on average Jan - June 09 monthly costs: 2000 dollars US per month.

2. Improve the HSTJ mobile unit with a modest interior remodel to more safely and comfortably accommodate the surgeon and animal patient in the small van. In addition, acquire more sophisticated emergency equipment and replacement surgery instruments. One time cost: approximately 6000 dollars US.

3. Improve the temporary housing of animals [fences, gates, runs, drains, etc.] that now exist at the homes of HSTJ Mexican volunteers, especially those with 10 or more fostered, rescued animals and needing repairs or safety items. One time cost: approximately 2000 dollars US.

4. Improve medical testing and medical treatment of rescued animals to better insure that they can be adopted at the FHSTJ events. Yearly additional ongoing cost: approximately 3000 dollars US.

5. Fund a formal HSTJ educational program which focuses on caring for pets and preventing overpopulation of animals: a program designed for advanced grade primary school children. [This need is evidenced by interest shown by the young children who are bringing animals to HSTJ street clinics.] Monthly ongoing cost: 50 dollars US.

*This section does not include all of the expenses of HSTJ, e.g., food and routine supplies which can vary to extremes depending on the amount of food and supply items donated in any given month.

A word about costs:
HSTJ does not have a shelter of its own nor does the city of Tijuana operate a humane shelter which it could support. [The city has a pound and it is in no way a shelter.] By not having one central location where HSTJ can care for the animals, food and services have to be distributed all over the city of 1.4 million people. Most of the poor people served by HSTJ do not have resources to travel and pick up food and supplies. Clinics are held throughout the city and require a lot of set up and tear down and transporting of equipment. The cost of gasoline alone is a great expense. Veterinary care, just as in the US, costs money and while doctors volunteer at HSTJ clinics, they must be paid for their services when HSTJ brings animals to their private veterinary hospitals for treatment. Fortunately some give HSTJ a discount. Anyone who has seen the photos of our events and read the reports can see that FHSTJ and HSTJ function as no-frills organizations. However, we cannot help additional animals without additional resources.

Why doesn’t HSTJ have a shelter?
It is HSTJ’s firm belief that it is better to not have a shelter than to run a bad shelter. HSTJ already spends time and resources rescuing animals from poorly run private shelters in the Tijuana area. While the people are well meaning and good people, they do not have the resources or training to run a shelter and too often the animals end up in worse shape than the animals we find living in the streets. Shelters cost a lot of money to build and even more money to staff and maintain and HSTJ does not have that kind of budget.
HSTJ recognizes that while shelters are good and necessary to properly care for rescues, shelters without aggressive spay and neuter programs and education programs do not solve the problem of overpopulation of animals. This is a recognized fact worldwide. The solution lies in education and spay and neuter programs, a primary goal of HSTJ. Even the HSTJ street clinics are designed to teach the people to bring the treated animals to the spay and neuter clinics when they are well enough to have surgery. HSTJ has a very long term goal of having a well run private shelter but until it has the resources to do so, it will concentrate its efforts on its current programs which are now providing services to over 200 animals a month, not counting the street animals getting food which number even more.

See how your donations are being used:
Once again, I invite you all to visit the web site and meet the animals and our wonderful volunteers who care for them. Please join us at and and see how your donations help the HSTJ animals.

To all of you who have made this possible and on behalf of the animals that you have saved from a life of starvation, disease, pain and fear, I offer a sincere THANK YOU.

Richard Massa
President of Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana