Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pit-bulls in Peril - PART 2


We continue unraveling the story of these 54 Pitbull dogs. 
As of now, here are the facts:
  • Despite the judge giving a 40-day period, no one claimed  ownership of these dogs.
  • They are ill and suffering from various ailments as a direct consequence of their previous living conditions.
  • HSTJ and other local animal rights activists have joined forces with Tijuana Animal Control and with the Municipal Direction of Health to see that these dogs are rescued from this situation, but also to create a proper protocol on how to handle cases like this in the future.

It is rumored that there are many clandestine locations like this one all around Tijuana, but no one speaks out, partly because they feel government will do nothing, and partly because they fear for their own lives.

On the morning of April 1st, 2016 a judge ordered that these dogs be temporarily held by the city for the remaining duration of the 40-day allowance. HSTJ and other activists had been making this petition repeatedly, seeking to ensure that the dogs couldn’t “mysteriously disappear”, and also to begin treating them for their ailments.

Due to formalities and tedious bureaucratic procedures, it took the entire day for the court order to materialize, but at the end of the day, around 4:00 pm., we finally got the green light to pick up those poor dogs. Admittedly, the timing was slightly unexpected, but everyone there knew it was an urgent matter. So in under an hour teams had assembled to transport the dogs individually. Many of the dogs had to be sedated to facilitate transport, but mainly because it was extremely difficult to detach their chains and tight collars without making them uncomfortable.

Back at Animal Control, their personnel was assisted by several volunteers as they scrambled to accommodate such a large number of dogs as they arrived. It was a long day for everyone involved with this case, working well into the night. It took tremendous effort and hard work to adapt the facility to hold these 54 dogs individually (initially, since the dogs had never been taught to socialize with other dogs, they absolutely could not be near or next to another dog).
 The organizations involved immediately reached out through social media and other contacts, seeking to find temporary foster homes to help keep these dogs safe and secure for the remainder of the allotted time. In a matter of days the applications started pouring in. The process was extremely selective and families had to be screened individually because not everyone qualified. In a matter of days 20 of these dogs found local foster homes right here in Tijuana. The rest remained at the Tijuana Animal Control facility.

On April 18th, 2016 all of these dogs began showing symptoms that baffled local vets because blood work tests were coming up negative for specific bacteria and diseases (4DX SNAP TEST, AMONG OTHERS). It was determined that whatever was harming them was not viral, therefore not contagious. Nonetheless, all of the dogs began showing the same evolving/fluctuating symptoms at around the same time --even the ones that had been living in Foster homes. The team of vets eventually agreed treatment regimen, and they are finally showing signs of improvement.

This is Ms. Xindy (Cindy) Jaime, a devoted volunteer who is pouring her heart
and soul, and resources, into helping these animals. #eternallygrateful
Humane Society of Tijuana wants to extend a very special thank you to Xindy Jaime  who has been at the forefront of the gargantuan task of looking after every single one of these dogs. Detailed logs are being kept for each one of the dogs, daily recording their temperatures, treatments, progress and other important information. Volunteers come by every Sunday to help Xindy walk the dogs (on a leash) in the nearby clearings.

 Another big thank you goes out to ProVidaAnimalTJ and AbogadosAnimalistas, two local animal welfare organizations that have worked tirelessly throughout this entire process, shoulder to shoulder with HSTJ, and continue to do so without letup. Working in cooperation, all three organizations have created a support system for Animal Control and for Municipal Direction of Health so that in the future, a situation such as this one can be handled according to an established protocol in Tijuana. There are many rumors of other illegal dog-fight related operations such as this one. And in such a big city like Tijuana where local law enforcement focus the majority of their resources on violent crime, rural areas are basically off the radar. However, we believe that dog-fights entail so much more, and has an influence on crime at many levels. This should be tackled in a direct manner, and victories like this one will certainly make more people feel that making anonymous reports does indeed make a difference.

On May 5th, 2016 the 40-day grace period ended. The city officially took possession of them on that date. We desperately make a plea for anyone that wishes to help these dogs, to do so directly by making a One-Time donation through our PayPal account. 
Their blood platelets are dangerously low.  
Doxycycline is an expensive medication and as of now weekly blood tests, medications and some vet consults are being paid for by one or two people (purchases are made daily and out of their own pockets). 

If you would like to hold a donation drive at your place of work or among your family in direct support of these Pitbulls, please do not hesitate to do so. That money will be used EXCLUSIVELY to purchase the medication that is urgently needed and to pay for the weekly blood tests for all 54 dogs.

Now that the dogs have begun treatment and are showing signs of improvement with this medication, we tackle the challenge of finding suitable adopters for each and every one of them. Happily, 17 of the 20 families that are fostering dogs have made it very clear that they desire to keep their dog permanently. That makes us all very happy.

Everyone involved with these animals is jointly promoting the dogs’ adoptions on Social Media, on Television, on the radio and in the local newspapers
This case has received international publicity, but we need more than just good wishes. 
We need help. We would like to make a monetary gift to the people that have paid out-of-pocket for all the constant blood-tests, medications, vet consults, etc. 

HSTJ VET CENTER - Dr. Angel Gonzales

HSTJ has provided support at the HSTJ Center since the very beginning, and other vets have reduced their prices as much as they possibly can. But we are talking about 54 dogs, all of which need medical attention for a wide variety of ailments. HSTJ has limited resources and also runs other programs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Therefore, we are counting on your generosity to help us continue helping these poor dogs that have already suffered enough. Yes, there is a lot of stigma surrounding this breed, and no, we do not take the responsibility lightly. However, we believe that they at least deserve the opportunity to live, rather than immediately be euthanized. Whatever can be done for these dogs, should be done, and the clock is ticking.

Dr. Cesar Wilfredo

Adopters must meet the following requirements:
1. Be athletic, because these dogs have a lot of energy to burn.
2. In some cases: not have children or other pets.
3. Sign a binding agreement that they are now accountable for properly caring and training their new dog.
4. Commit to continuing the Doxycycline (250 mg) treatment until it is completed.
5. Bring the dog back for sterilization once his platelets are high again.

If you are interested in adopting one of these dogs, contact us immediately.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Pit-bulls in Peril - PART 1

This is the story of 54 pit-bull dogs that were caught up in a life-threatening situation.  However,  thanks to many kind volunteers, they now have the opportunity to experience the joy of living.

This ordeal began in mid-March of 2016 when someone made an anonymous report to animal welfare activists in Tijuana stating that a semi-truck (18 wheeler) had pulled into a remote part of the Arroyo Alamar, delivering about 50 Pitbull dogs to an irregular property located at: AVENIDA DEL VERGEL #128 COLONIA ALAMAR, TIJUANA. Other anonymous claims stated that the dogs spent the entire day under the direct sun (no shade). Some even claim that one night one of the dogs was barking repeatedly and after a gunshot was heard, the barking ceased. Everything is anonymous because local residents are continuously threatened not to say anything about what they see or hear.

Arroyo Alamar is a community commonly known to be an “invasion” or “irregular”. The reason is that this part of Tijuana was originally a 3 mile long trench for runoff during the rainy seasons. The area floods and homes are washed away. During dry spells, however, poor families clear spots of land and build homes or shacks to live in. Local Tijuana government has intended to move these families to other areas by giving them land, but the story repeats itself and as of this day many families and other people continue to reside at Arroyo Alamar. This area is notorious for delinquency and is considered by some as “no-man’s land”.

On March 21st, 2016 animal control was advised about this case and on March 22nd, 2016 they made a visit, accompanied by animal rights activists and two municipal police canine units. The police offered support in establishing a dialogue with the person in charge of the animals (NOT THE ACTUAL OWNER).
The person in charge of the animals indicated that the owner was “Caucasian and resided in Los Angeles”. He never gave the owner’s name nor did he provide any additional information about him. He did state that they had those dogs as clandestine breeders and that they were not used for fighting. Upon inspecting the animals we immediately noticed that they had serious wounds and no individual water or food, and absolutely no shade.
The chief officer at the CERRO COLORADO delegation of the 10th district transported this individual to the local judge as a courtesy to Animal Control (this man was not under arrest). After hearing their story and seeing the preliminary reports, both the judge and the police chief officer sided with the men determining that there was “no animal mistreatment,” that the animals “were not suffering abuse” and even made sarcastic comments insinuating that animal control couldn’t even handle that amount of animals if they were confiscated. He scheduled an open hearing in order to establish a dialogue with the actual owner of the dogs.
The hearing took place on March 24th, 2016 with media reporters present, where Attorney Raymundo Contreras [Legal representative of the alleged owner] handed over 54 vaccination charts (without vaccine stickers) that all had the date “March 23, 2016” written on the inside, expressing that those animals had no previous veterinary attention prior to that date.  A local veterinarian [Dr. Portugal] sent a formal letter in which he established that he was medically in charge of these animals and explained that the idea for a Pitbull breeder had already been in place for 7 years. This report was handed over to those present at the hearing (it contained several dubious accrediting seals). The rightful “owner” was nowhere to be seen, nor did the attorney provide any name or true address.

The judge determined that the owner would be given 40 days to improve the conditions of the dogs and that he was to comply with the requirements established by law in order to run a legal breeder. This included taking immediate measures to improve the dogs’ quality of life, such as: individual water bowls, food and appropriate shade, and even placing them on longer chains immediately.
On April 1st, 2016 Animal Control, accompanied by HSTJ Veterinarian, Dr. Angel Gonzales, as well as some law enforcement and other animal rights and animal activist organization members. These visited the premises to witness the conditions of the animals. They all arrived early in the morning and could plainly see that the dogs were still in the same conditions --and in direct violation of the judge’s orders. HSTJ's veterinarian, along with other vets present that day, assessed the dog’s overall health. Out of the 54 dogs found, 17 are females and 37 are males. None were pregnant. None were sterilized. They immediately appeared to be people-friendly, but they were ill. 29 had terrible skin infections, and 32 had eye and ear infections, 18 had terribly infected skin conditions, among many other health problems caused by poor living conditions. 

Authorities determined that the dogs must be secured temporarily at the Animal Control facility for the remainder of the duration of the 40-day grace period granted by the judge.

What will happen to these dogs?

*** UPDATE***
PLEASE SEE THE POST: "Pit-bulls in Peril - PART 2"