AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico―The first survey of dogs and cats in Mexico, implemented in the city of Aguascalientes and developed by the animal welfare organization Humane Society International/Mexico, reveals the need for more accessible and affordable sterilization services. Only 32% of the city’s roughly 310,000 dogs and 40% of 77,000 cats have been sterilized, raising the chances of unwanted puppies and kittens being abandoned on the streets.
Felipe Márquez, HSI/Mexico Animal Cruelty Program Manager, said: “This survey of cats and dogs, the first of its kind in the state of Aguascalientes, will help local stakeholders better understand the issues facing animals, as well as solutions to improve welfare and help both animals and communities”.
The survey also revealed a clear pet-gift culture in the city, with many respondents indicating that they had given or received a pet as a gift. Giving away pets can result in unwanted animals being turned over to animal control centers and shelters, and perhaps not surprisingly, the survey also found that dogs from low-income and rural communities were more likely to be turned over to local animal control facilities, which have an estimated 90% euthanasia rate.
Claudia Edwards, Director of Campaigns for Humane Society International/Mexico, said: “Based on the results of our survey, we can better target our community education efforts to help people understand the care and basic needs of cats and dogs, and to guide initiatives that can increase the percentage of pets receiving veterinary care. It is clear that affordable and accessible veterinary services are needed to help keep pets healthy and in their homes.”
The survey in Aguascalientes was conducted by a team of HSI/Mexico specialists trained in monitoring, evaluation and impact analysis, and was conducted using HSI’s specially developed mobile phone app to accurately record the location of each dog and cat and calculate the total number of animals roaming the streets.
Given the considerable population of dogs and cats in Aguascalientes, interventions must effectively target populations of animals most at risk of being turned over to shelters or animal control centers, abandoned, or that may contribute to the birth of unwanted litters.
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