February 17, 2012
HSI’s Involvement in Bolivia: Looking Back Over 2011
When a national emergency was declared due to massive flooding in Bolivia in early 2011, our local partner organization, Animales SOS, reached out to us for help. In response, HSI funded the purchase of feed for farm animals, working equines and companion animals in rural areas adjacent to La Paz, where farmers had lost their crops and in some cases, their homes.
Then, when a landslide destroyed more than 300 dwellings and displaced many families to a government-run campground, we sent veterinarian Maria Renee Selaya to do an assessment of the facility. When she saw the living conditions at the camp, she knew immediate action was necessary, for the situation was a ticking time bomb for breeding and abandonment of companion animals.
Offering a solution
Naturally, many of the families affected by the disaster didn’t have the means to take care of additional pets, and Maria knew that once they moved on any puppies and kittens born at the campground would be left behind, with no one to look after them.
With the prevention of unwanted litters in mind, HSI partnered with another local group, Amor por los Animales Bolivia, to provide spay/neuter services to the flood refugees. Such procedures were new to many of the Bolivians, who had been unaware of the existence of a surgical intervention that would both sterilize their dogs and cats and allow them to lead healthier, happier lives.
Efforts pay off
Winning the trust of skeptical owners is always a difficult task, but a media campaign run by HSI and our partner organization, along with other efforts to educate and raise awareness, proved successful. HSI spayed or neutered 400 pets whose offspring would otherwise have been condemned to life on the streets.
HSI’s work in Bolivia was possible in part thanks to the dedication of local citizens who took the initiative to form welfare organizations and continue to volunteer their time to attend to animals in need.
We will continue to maintain a presence in Bolivia and provide relief support to improve the quality of life for the country’s companion animals. Give now to help dogs in Bolivia and around the world.