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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Big or Small, We Fix Them All!


by Steven Forman, ZAPP Spay/Neuter Project, San Felipe

Our San Felipe spay/neuter program, run by ZAPP, an acronym for the Zero Additional Pupulation Project desperately needs new, innovative, local methods for raising money. Since 2003, the American community has financially underwritten San Felipe’s sterilization program. But, given the US economy, it has become increasingly more difficult to get funds from Americans, who are generally “tapped out”---and unless ZAPP comes up with a new approach to fundraising, we will not be able to keep up our clinics with the same regularity.

Like other spay/neuter programs in Baja sister cities including Ensenada, Tijuana, Rosarito, Mexicali and Tecate, we fight an uphill battle trying to be creative and effective in a country where street, beach and camp dogs run rampant. As I’ve said so many times, the vast majority of problems related to dogs and cats south of the border, are population related, and until we get a handle on the numbers, we won’t get ahead. San Felipe, Ensenada, Tijuana, Rosarito , Mexicali and Tecate all run “no-kill” programs where euthanasia is simply not an option, unless under dire circumstances. Craig Neilson, an activist with the “Give Some Life” Foundation located in El Cajon CA, works aggressively throughout Baja, and has been instrumental in not only organizing spay/neuter clinics, but also in educating the Mexican government thru United Hope 4 Animals on how to administer humane forms of euthanasia, thus putting a halt to electrocution.

Since 2003, San Felipe has done more than 5000 spay/neuter surgeries, and a light at the end of the tunnel is now visible.

Recently, I met with San Felipe Mayor, Hazael Sierra Castillo, and I proposed a new fundraising plan which relies more on the Mexican community for donations. ZAPP spay/neuter clinics are now attended by 95% locals, which says, we have been successful getting the word out.

The Mayor and I, along with local resident Derek Hamlin who will be Project Manager for the new program, are putting together a street collection program, much like Cruz Roja , using young Mexican volunteers and students, collection jars, Spanish language brochures and Spanish language graphics. ZAPP, along with Derek, will launch this program with the Mayor’s blessing in early January 2009. Reaching out to the Mexican community for financial help should really shore up our fundraising efforts, as well as elevating local consciousness, and at the same time keeping ZAPPs program viable.ZAPP will continue to raise money for spaying and neutering by selling prize related raffle tickets, and producing shows and events. We’re confident that our new approach will help insure ZAPP’s future.

In San Felipe contact ZAPP, at www.sfzapp.blogspot.com/; In Rosarito, contact Dr. Joaquin Villasenor, at jvnlaslunas@yahoo.com for info or www.bajaanimalsactuary.org; In Ensenada, contact Elinor Morrison from “Four Paws” at cisforcat90832@yahoo.com or Cinthia Ola Lde at cinthiao@gmail.com; “Give Some Life” in El Cajon can be reached at http://www.givesomelife.org/ and in Mexicali contact Rosaura Fernandez rosy.gslmexicali@hotmail.com finally in Tecate, contact Erika Bolanos at erideni@hotmail.com.