Street Dogs in Mexico

Humane Society International


  • A quiet place to rest. HSI

  • Wary. Darren Mower/istock

  • Matted fur. Milan Klusacek/istock

  • Being assessed for treatment. HSI

Of all the Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas, Mexico has by far the greatest number of animal welfare organizations actively seeking the support of the government and the community to pass stricter laws against animal cruelty.

The current state of affairs in Mexico reflects various degrees of civil unrest. Young teenagers torture animals to seek attention, while unknown killers throw poison on their neighborhood streets, sickening dozens of strays.

Animal control issues

In addition to addressing animal cruelty, HSI is collaborating with local groups to monitor government methods of stray overpopulation control. Since pentobarbital—a main component for humane euthanasia—was taken off the market and made inaccessible to both the public and licensed veterinarians, municipal pounds are once again using electrocution as the fastest and cheapest way to eliminate homeless animals.

Lucky is one pup our team encountered at a municipal perrera (dog pound) in Cancun. He was picked up by the city pound truck and taken to the outskirts of the city to join other street dogs like him. This perrera used to destroy street dogs using electrocution and risks returning to this archaic method now that more drugs for euthanasia have become difficult to obtain. We named him Lucky because he was one of the first dogs to be neutered as part of an HSI training for local vets. He recovered like a champ and was put up for adoption. Lucky was given a second chance in a place where not many street dogs are fortunate as he.

What we’re doing

As part of pursuing a more humane means of animal control, HSI strongly supports spay/neuter campaigns in Mexico as elsewhere. We have also organized veterinary trainings and capacity-building workshops to strengthen and encourage the work that is done at a governmental level and by the non-profit sector, for example, by training government-appointed veterinarians who direct municipal dog pounds.

HSI collaborates with various local partner organizations on a regular basis and we have become a source of guidance, support and information for many along the way. We have also drafted a petition for stronger legislation against animal cruelty in hopes that the Mexican government understands the escalating threat [PDF] that lies behind an act of cruelty committed against a street dog.

HSI will continue to support the efforts of local groups to help animals, in particular companion animals who roam the streets, in hopes of offering them a brighter future.