(photo from screen shot of Humane Society of Tijuana web page)
From my years of reporting experience, I’ve found that few topics elicit as much reader reaction as stories about immigration and animals.
Imagine what happens when you mix the two, which is what happened this week when news media reported a story about a shepherd mix puppy whose abuse along the U.S.-Mexico border fence was documented on video. According to an article in The San Diego Union-Tribune, a man tossed the puppy over the border fence from Tijuana into the U.S. and then proceeded to jump over the fence to beat the puppy. The incident was caught on tape, the man retreated back into Mexico and the Border Patrol rescued the animal.
The Border Patrol isn’t the only group rescuing abandoned and abused animals from Tijuana. With Mexico stretched for resources to provide social services for its own residents, Baja California residents and U.S. expatriates have created non-governmental associations dedicated to protecting four-legged critters. Here’s the ones I’m aware of:
The Baja Animal Sanctuary is a shelter and pet adoption center in Rosarito Beach run by U.S. expatriate Sunny Benedict. The shelter, started in 1997, typically holds 400 animals on any given day.
The Humane Society of Tijuana, which is run by a group of U.S. expats and Mexicans, is another volunteer group that holds free sterilization and vaccination clinics to abate the street animal problem in low-income areas. They also conduct “rescue missions” of street animals. Read a story about them here.
On the other side of the Baja California peninsula, another group of U.S. expatriates has been operating a shelter in the San Felipe area and hosting spaying/neutering clinics. Learn more about The San Felipe Animal Rescue group here.