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Can’t We Make this Happen?

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

Since 2003, animal loving advocates and activists have been working hard in San Felipe to improve the quality of life for animals living on our streets, in our camps, on our beaches, and even under cars in San Felipe. To date, more than 5400 animals have been spayed and neutered. Funds have come from private benefactors, fundraisers, donation jars, and monthly subscribers to various programs. We are acknowledged all the time for our efforts by Americans and Mexicans alike, and we’re told that compared to some years ago, the streets are much improved, and dogs are looking far healthier, and of course, there are less because of population control efforts.

Back on March 27th Mexicali Animal Control paid us a visit, and rounded up 52 dogs from our streets in order to cosmetically improve the looks of San Felipe prior to Semaña Santa, happening in April. Many of the dogs taken were people’s pets, and were already fixed. There is a law on the books in San Felipe that states that dogs need to be confined or restrained, but are not allowed to roam freely. This law needs to be enforced by officials throughout the year, so that residents can comply---however, I’m sorry to say, that this law is only enforced prior to high profile weekends and holidays. We’ve seen roundups happen year after year at the same time.

Americans do so much to support this community throughout the year, and we respect the community we live in, as evidenced by the annual Cancer Walk, and the Blues & Arts Fiesta, and many other fundraising projects. Turnabout is fair play, and Mexican officials and government need to respect Americans for what they stand for as well, even if they don’t always agree with us. We love and respect our dogs and cats, and we do not appreciate it when they are abused, disrespected and destroyed.

After the March 27th roundup, San Felipians and Americans alike, who are aware of the work we do in San Felipe, stepped in and donated more than enough money to rescue the 52 dogs that were rounded up. A large group of us, including our attorney, Carmen Nuñez, and four vehicles, went to Animal Control in Mexicali, and rescued the San Felipe 52 before they were electrocuted.

In 30 out of 31 states in Mexico, electrocution is the preferred method of euthanasia---it’s extremely inhumane and very painful, especially for pregnant animals. Except for Mexicali, all of our sister cities in Northern Baja, including Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate’ and Tijuana all use injection over electrocution, which is a far more humane protocol for putting dogs to sleep.

ZAPP paid ninety six hundred pesos or about $850 to get these dogs out of cages, where up to 30 were kept together. Those locals fortunate enough to have the money and transportation to travel to Mexicali, were able to pick up their pets and save them. As you probably know, on April 7th, another roundup came thru town, and 117 more dogs were taken from our streets. For the record, all of the 52 dogs we rescued from the first round- up, have found homes in San Diego, Chula Vista, Escondido, and even Los Angeles, because shelters and rescues responded to our plea, and took these dogs so that they could be saved. Unfortunately, we could not save the other 117 dogs from the fate they faced, and they were destroyed.

ZAPP’s mission is focused on continuing our population control program for San Felipe, but is also working with Humane Society International, located in Washington, DC, in a concerted effort to educate and transition communities in Mexico from electrocution to sedation as the preferred protocol for euthanasia.

We live in the 21st century, and we need to respect the rights of all creatures, big and small; we need to stop terrifying, stop terrorizing, and once and for all, stop the violent murder of man’s best friend. Although ZAPP is a no-kill organization, we do understand that even though adoption is always preferable, it’s not always possible. Please help us. Speak out, and become an advocate.

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