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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Excellent News for Dogs and Cats!

Excellent News for Dogs and Cats!

Thanks to Animal Advocates in Baja

by Steven Forman, aka DogMan, Founder of the ZAPP and MHTA

Euthanasia by Electrocution has Ended in Mexicali! Now, if we can just end euthanasia altogether, that would really be something. Those of us living and working for the humane treatment of animals in Baja are not so naïve as to think that the thousands and thousands of street dogs and cats living in Baja can all be adopted. Although none of us advocates for euthanasia, or necessarily condones it, we know that some animals need to be sacrificed to control population.

Most shelters and rescues up and down the Baja Peninsula are "NO-KILL" facilities, and I can only assume that all are elated with the news that the process of euthanasia in Mexicali is now being done humanely through sedation.

Members of MHTA, Mexico for the Humane Treatment of Animals, along with California-based non-profit organization United Hope for Animals, Dr. Marco Antonio Tapia Miranda of Tijuana, and Dr. David Ibarra Ojeda of Mexicali are all responsible for this change in policy. As of now, perreras, control centers, and antirrabicos in Ensenada, Tijuana, Rosarito, Tecate, San Luis, San Felipe and Mexicali are all using sedation instead of electrocution as the preferred method of euthanasia.

With every culture in the world so different from one another, it only makes sense that the process of trying to impact existing policies can often seem insurmountable. When I first came to San Felipe in 2003, what I found was not only the language to be different, but also the beliefs concerning dogs and cats to be different as well. As Americans we are extremely comfortable saying that we "love our dogs," while early on it was pointed out to me that some Mexican people would never be comfortable using the word love and dog in the same sentence. Many locals do not understand how some animal lovers can sleep in the same bed with their dogs, but lots of us do. Tijuana's Secretary of Cultural Development, Javier Casteñeda Pomposa, says, "there is little culture in the city for the respect and care of animals. We need to start following the lead of other cities and states."

After doing humane animal work in San Felipe for the past six years, I have noticed a big change in attitude when it comes to the relationship between pet and owner. At ZAPP weekly spay/neuter clinics in San Felipe, Mexicans line up every Friday morning with their pets because many now see the importance of population control, and what ultimately happens to unwanted puppies and kittens.

Many people among the nearly 4,000 I email regularly in the U.S. tell me that one of the main reasons they choose not to visit Mexico is because they simply cannot handle the lack of respect for animals they see in the culture. But I assure you, that is changing, especially in areas where groups like ZAPP, Gente por los Animales, Baja Animal Sanctuary, and San Felipe Animal Rescue, to name just a few, continue to work hard to improve the quality of life for stray and indigent dogs and cats in Mexico. Animal lovers and advocates applaud Mexicali for choosing the higher road when it comes to humane euthanasia of these precious innocents who did nothing wrong and deserve our respect, both in life and death.

Our next MHTA meeting is scheduled in October, and you can check out our blog at www.sfzapp.com to get the accurate date. We'd love for you to come and be part of our network. You can also call (707) 320-4969 from the States, or (686) 577-2708 in San Felipe for any information. Contact us at bajaanimalrescue@yahoo.com.