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. FHSTJ had been here back in 2011 and 2012, but there was not much interest in sterilization. [SEE "ONE OF OUR BIGGEST OBSTACLES"]. Cristina took the 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 your pet and your home parasite-free"; "The truth about sterilization--debunking old myths and highlighting the benefits"; W"hat exactly are ticks and how can they transmit the deadly disease": "Rickettsia?", just to name a few.

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 obstacles, and the primary reason why these neighborhoods are teeming with homeless cats and dogs. To combat this we have incorporated workshops. These include many visual aids (impacting full-color images). We inform 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 the 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 the 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 there are sufficient donations.) 

We now wish extend a very special and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone over at AMC Vet on Telegraph 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. Another big THANK YOU to MR Industrial Plumbing Inc. for their support of the Spring Opportunity drawing, which helped cover most of the clinic expenses. 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. FHSTJ are very happy to welcome these six  as new active FHSTJ 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. 
FHSTJ are very grateful to all the vets that dedicated this day to performing surgeries to help reduce overpopulation in this community:
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, FHSTJ arrange to have a mobile clinic set up 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.

Please consider joining FHSTJ 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

MORE PICTURES: Spay-Neuter Flickr Album