July 6, 2006
A Good Samaritan placed the small dog in a box on the morning of April 3, 2000. The pup was taken to Animales S.O.S., a non-profit organization in La Paz, Bolivia. When the staff of Animales S.O.S. opened the box, they found a dog barely clinging to life and in obvious pain. A victim of severe neglect, the animal found himself in the specialized care of dedicated staff.
The dog, named Gabriel, was suffering from paralysis in his back legs, gangrene, missing teeth, a blind eye and acute malnutrition. He was in dire need of immediate veterinary care. The light in this little dog's eyes convinced the staff of Animales S.O.S. that his life was worth saving. He became the clinic's little miracle when, after four months of healing, he took his first steps. Fortunately, the paralysis was not permanent.
Six years later, Gabriel is a happy pup. He is healthy, has nearly full use of his back legs and displays gratefulness 10 times his size.
Gabriel and many other dogs and cats suffer enormously under the cruelty that people commit against animal victims. Animales S.O.S. was established in 1995 by a group of friends who were tired of seeing the endless amount of stray and abused animals in La Paz and the lack of concern and diligence shown by other animal protection groups. Today, it is the most successful animal welfare organization in Bolivia.
The organization's programs include emergency responses for injured animals, investigation of cruelty and abuse cases, sterilization clinics, humane education, and intervention in the sale and ownership of wild animals.
In 2002, Humane Society International and the HSUS Rural Area Veterinary Services (now HSVMA) partnered with Animales S.O.S. to conduct a sterilization clinic in La Paz and provide training for local veterinarians and veterinary students. Animales S.O.S. also runs a shelter with a large emphasis on re-homing.
Animales S.O.S. is the only animal welfare group in La Paz that works closely with the local police on abuse and neglect cases. The group has made clear the connection between animal cruelty and human violence. Animales S.O.S. also works to educate the public on the ethics of animal experimentation, the benefits of humane euthanasia and the need for greater awareness of animal suffering.
Since 2000, HSI has assisted and encouraged the successful programs of Animales S.O.S. In 2002, the organization became an HSI Animal Advocate.