Saturday, July 18, 2015


If animals could speak, they would probably yell and yell until they made themselves heard. Instead, time and time again they must rely on us humans to be their voice. And this case was not the exception.
 Before we tell this story you should know that, unlike in the U.S., Humane Society of Tijuana (HSTJ) does not have authority of law or the advantage of having 30+ different rescues to rely on. So, basically they take on these large, sophisticated projects with extremely limited resources. A lot more could be done, but unfortunately, because of the limitations, the animals do suffer.
Our role as Friends of HSTJ is to assist HSTJ in coordinating, funding and implementing decisive actions, and this case is a perfect example of that joint effort.

This story begins on July 1st, when several neighbors in the Colonia Libertad (Tijuana, Mexico) got together and made a formal complaint against someone they claimed was guilty of animal neglect and endangerment. The director of the Tijuana dog pound, Dr. Tapia, personally investigated and discovered 31 dogs in terrible conditions. They had been confined to living within a tiny space with basically no hygiene whatsoever, malnourished, some of them very sick, and the healthier males and females continuously reproducing. Their owner was an older woman who suffers from several mental disorders, is permanently handicapped and in a wheelchair. Dr. Tapia spoke with this woman’s sister and explained they had 15 days to bathe the dogs, clean their living quarters, and have them checked by a local vet –which he referred.
When he came back and saw that the dogs’ conditions were exactly the same, he informed the women that it was his obligation to make a formal complaint before the authorities (police), as recent laws dictated. The women immediately surrendered all 31 dogs and they were taken to the pound. All of the dogs were scared and near starvation. Two of them had to be put down immediately because they were in severe pain due to old injuries and other complications.
Dr. Tapia could tell that many of them were still quite adoptable and did not want to euthanize the whole group, so on Wednesday, July 15th, he contacted two private non-profit groups. One that could help in getting them all sterilized (spay/neuter), and another that could bring local Mexicans to adopt the dogs from the pound.

This is where HSTJ comes in. Among the local authorities, and the public in general, HSTJ has a well established reputation for consistently holding well-organized MASH-style Sterilization clinics in the poorest areas of Tijuana. We were more than willing to help, but there were other implications involved so we met with Dr. Tapia on Thursday, July 16th and raised several important questions, such as available post-op care for the female dogs, etc.
On Friday, July 17th the President of Humane Society de Tijuana, and the Project Coordinator for the sister organization in the U.S., Friends of HSTJ, went down to the pound and made a personal assessment and were able to gather some more critical information.
Among other things, we discovered the following:
  • The Tijuana dog pound is willing to put them up for 45 days beginning on Saturday, July 18th.
  • The Tijuana dog pound is willing to waive the $278 peso (19 dollar) adoption fee for these dogs [Relevant information because the average salary for one week’s work in Tijuana ranges from $600 pesos (40 dollars) to $900 pesos (60 dollars), so the adoption fee is roughly 1/2 to 1/3 of a week’s salary]
  • One or more of the females are pregnant, and at least one of them is within a few days of giving birth so we have to get her out of the pound and into a foster home ASAP.
  • One of the dogs has an injured leg and requires specific evaluation.
  • Since the dogs had been basically abandoned and had lived without human affection for such a long time, they were very nervous, scared, and would have to be re-socialized individually.
  • All of the dogs are Cockapoo and their fur has grown so long that it has become extremely matted. To make matters worse, they are all flea-infested and require special attention and extensive grooming.

That very evening, several board members of both organizations (HSTJ and  Friends of HSTJ) held a meeting to discuss what could be done. 

Even for experienced veterinarians, the sterilization of female dogs is a complex surgery that can last up to an hour if there are any complications. The clock is ticking on this, so we discussed the best way to schedule all of these necessary, but unexpected surgeries.
Some other topics discussed were:
  • How many could be accommodated daily at our  HSTJ Center  –without affecting the everyday flow of pets/rescues,
  • How many surgeries could be performed at our next  MASH Spay-Neuter Clinic to be held on July 26th?
  • Whether or not we could get the vets at the dog pound to perform some of the surgeries as well,
  • How many volunteer vets we can we get to do this for free on such short notice,
  • How will the dogs be cared for after the surgeries?
  • What is going to happen to the ones that haven’t gotten adopted, once the 45 days are up?
  • What will happen to the ones that are not deemed “adoptable” due to illness, old age, inability to be socialized, etc.?
We came up with a structured plan and began its implementation the very next day.

As of July 18th, 2015 we do not have an exact count of how many are males/females, each dog’s health condition, age, etc, or how many out of the 29 left are genuinely adoptable. This information will begin to trickle in as the days go by. What we do know is that these animals deserve the chance of their lifetime –the opportunity to find their forever home. If these animals could speak they would have asked for your help a long time ago. 
We ask that you please share this case with anyone you know that can be of assistance, or with any family that is considering adoption. Perhaps a Cockapoo Rescue near you would be able to help extend that opportunity for even one of these dogs.
We should highlight that Friends of HSTJ has operated an adoption program that includes a comprehensive adoption protocol for all dogs/cats that find their permanent homes across the border. We place an average of 190 hardcore rescues from Mexico in permanent homes in the U.S. every year. You can find many of these stories on our Blog.

IMPORTANT: For this case in particular, we are NOT soliciting food or monetary donations of any kind, nor have we enlisted anyone to solicit donations on our behalf. What we ask is that you please consider fostering or adopting one of these pups. We especially need a foster for the pregnant mom. If you would like to volunteer, please do not hesitate to contact us. And if you are a licensed veterinarian and are able to dedicate one full Sunday to perform surgeries in Tijuana, please consider doing so (we provide all the materials and provide transportation).
For specific information on how to do this, please visit our website:

Friday, July 3, 2015

June 2015 Report

June was full of activity. We held a mini* sterilization clinic inside the HSTJ Center facilities.

In addition to that, we want to extend a special thank you to Dr. Traversi from the Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital located in the U.S.
Their assistance with seven free sterilizations of rescued animals. This is extremely valuable to us, and a huge step towards placing rescued animals in permanent homes.

 Mini Sterilization Clinic - June 2015
10 female dogs
7  male dogs
5  female cats
1 male cat
TOTAL: 23 animals, spayed/neutered


HSTJ Center - June 2015
This kitty was rescued and in rehab, when the vet discovered
a severe UTI infection and obstruction.
His bladder was expressed and he is currently being treated.
10 female dogs - spayed
4  female cats - spayed
4  male dogs - neutered
2  male cats - neutered

There were also several cases of rescued animals that received treatment at the HSTJ Center.
Some of these cases were:


HSTJ Itchy-Scratchy Clinics - June 2015
The total animals treated at our street clinics during the month of June were 346 cats and dogs.
DIF (Family Community Center) at Granjas Familiares
Colonia Rial de San Francisco
Colonia Valle Verde
Colonia El Pipila