Did you know that just one un-spayed female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in 6 years? The cat figures are even more alarming. There are also potentially serious consequences to public health and the environment when overpopulation is present. It is a well documented fact that sterilization is the only humane way to deal with dog and cat overpopulation. That, along with vaccinations and de-worming alleviates suffering, and provides better health for the animals that do survive natural disasters.
Since Hurricane Dean swept through the Costa Maya in August of 2007, many people in the area are still struggling to put their lives and towns back together. And the animals are no different. Many of these animals do not have homes and are forced to endure life on the streets. Food and shelter are sparse. Packs of dogs are a common sight along with dogfights and starving loners. Puppies are malnourished, starving because their mothers can barely feed themselves. This was the Darwinistic world left after hurricane Dean swept through the towns of Mahahual and Xcalak in 2007, but there is HOPE. Things are getting BETTER. To date much progress has been made, all because of the actions of a few who have cared enough to organize, gather support, fund and equip themselves for the task at hand.
Mahahual’s closest vet is over two hours away so veterinary health care was (and still is) greatly needed, and it was warmly received. During this clinic it was wonderful to see the love so many locals have for their animals. In Xcalak, the clinic was held at the SEMARNAT office and their staff was more than accommodating. Presentations were given to the local school children in both Mahahual and Xcalak. Many were curious enough to watch surgery, help recover their own pets, and in some cases stay all day to lend a helping hand. The community support and involvement was impressive, and inspiring.
When we were made aware of the “military dogs” as we began to refer to them, we were unsure of their wellbeing. We had trucks arrive almost daily with soldiers, guns in hand, accompanied by their numerous dogs. Many of the soldiers waited patiently all day with their companions and seemed to really care for them. These young men were appreciative and paid close attention to the “after surgery” care and medication instructions that were required for most of the dogs. They helped us vaccinate and discharge the dogs, and even drove back and forth to pick up the last few dogs that were taking their time waking up from surgery. We will never forget the sight of so many happy wagging tails when they were finally reunited with the soldiers. The experience was endearing and everyone was pleased when we found a new home for three of the puppies. There were many special moments like these and they all left a lasting impression on us.
The local municipal agency of Chetumal also attended the clinics. We worked very closely with the veterinarian at the dog pound or perrera and began to build what we hope will become a great working relationship. As the capital of the state, Chetumal seems eager to begin more programs. Just last year they held a spay/neuter campaign with the help of vets from The University of Mexico City (UNAM). This makes a wonderful addition to the already good working relationship we have with the Playa del Carmen and Cancun municipalities.
All in all, we were able to treat almost 200 animals in 5 days, the effects of which are already apparent. This was a good start to a big task and we intend to continue our efforts to bring the animal population under control, and improve their lives. Everyone is already planning ways to make next year’s clinics even better! We appreciate the many people and local businesses that provided contributions such as monetary donations, lodging, food and their time. We thank you for helping to make these clinics successful!
This was made possible through the Disaster Services of the Humane Society of the United States in conjunction with the Humane Society International and Sociedad Protectora de Animales de Yucatan. more information
Akumal clinic information provided by Jennifer Smith
This is a last minute addition: A summary of participants and contributors to the recent www.spayucatan.org clinic held at the elementary school in Akumal Pueblo, May 17-20, 2008. We apologize for not knowing everyone’s full name!
We had the new head of Tulum come on Saturday morning to see everything that we were doing. Dr Carlos gave a presentation about disease and population control showing the importance of not only spay/neuter and rabies, but also how to de-parasite the animals and vaccinate against a number of diseases. The injection is referred to as DHLPP – distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza.
In total the Akumal clinic did about 80 surgeries and vaccinated 100 animals.
www.spayucatan.org is planning another clinic for Cheyumil, tentatively set for June 8th. Following this clinic others are being planned for Tulum and Playa del Carmen, possibly in August or September.