Last updateTue, 26 Feb 2013 4pm

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Mexican families catch on to pet sterilization

Isabel Gonzalez gently embraces Daisy in her arms, breaking into a contented smile. She attentively takes in instructions on post-operative care for her beloved pet as the one-year-old mixed breed pup awakes from the effects of anesthesia after being spayed during the February 15-17 sterilization campaign carried out at Chapala’s Ramon Corona Primary School. Gonzalez is happy she won’t ever have to cope with bothersome heats and the task of finding homes for Daisy’s unwanted offspring. 

Virginia Galindo shares those sentiments in triplicate. After seeing an advertisement at her neighborhood tortilleria, she brought in Muñeca, Camila and Dina to be “fixed” for good. “Now they won’t have to suffer, and neither will I,” she remarks, fondly cuddling the alert Dina as she waits for the other two to fully come around.

With weeks of preparation, three days of arduous work and 140 surgeries behind them, the dedicated volunteers who run the free surgical clinics have a sense that local families are finally catching on to the benefits of having their cats and dogs sterilized.

Now in its second year, the on-going program is sponsored by the non-profit groups Operacion Amor and Salud y Derecho Ambiental, with logistical and medical support from the municipal government, several local vets and Mexico City’s Antonio Haghenbeck Foundation.  Clinics are booked every four to six months in the working class neighborhoods inhabited by people who are commonly unfamiliar with pet sterilization and lack the resources for to pay for the procedures.

The success of the latest clinic is partially attributed to the advance classroom-by-classroom chats offered to students at the school. Many of the kids in turn gave similar pitches at home, encouraging their parents to get in on the no-cost service. Many were hooked by the program’s bonus gift of collars and engraved name-tags for the four-legged patients.

Each animal was also sent home beautifully groomed and with a tummy tattoo indicating sterilization had been performed. 

The clinics depend heavily on a strong team of both Mexican and foreign volunteers. Financial support from the community is also critical to keep the program afloat. Operational costs this time around ran at about 100,000 pesos, including materials, medications and transportation for professional medical staff.

Animal lovers interested in backing the project are welcome to contact Cameron Peters at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 766-4341 for pertinent details.

Jellicle cat Nara goes under the knife of  Dr.Luis Moran, a Mexico City vet booked for Chapala’s spay and neuter clinic by the Antonio Haghenbeck Foundation.

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