Saturday, July 18, 2015


If animals could speak, they would probably yell and yell until they made themselves heard. Instead, time and time again they must rely on us humans to be their voice. And this case was not the exception.
 Before we tell this story you should know that, unlike in the U.S., Humane Society of Tijuana (HSTJ) does not have authority of law or the advantage of having 30+ different rescues to rely on. So, basically they take on these large, sophisticated projects with extremely limited resources. A lot more could be done, but unfortunately, because of the limitations, the animals do suffer.
Our role as Friends of HSTJ is to assist HSTJ in coordinating, funding and implementing decisive actions, and this case is a perfect example of that joint effort.

This story begins on July 1st, when several neighbors in the Colonia Libertad (Tijuana, Mexico) got together and made a formal complaint against someone they claimed was guilty of animal neglect and endangerment. The director of the Tijuana dog pound, Dr. Tapia, personally investigated and discovered 31 dogs in terrible conditions. They had been confined to living within a tiny space with basically no hygiene whatsoever, malnourished, some of them very sick, and the healthier males and females continuously reproducing. Their owner was an older woman who suffers from several mental disorders, is permanently handicapped and in a wheelchair. Dr. Tapia spoke with this woman’s sister and explained they had 15 days to bathe the dogs, clean their living quarters, and have them checked by a local vet –which he referred.
When he came back and saw that the dogs’ conditions were exactly the same, he informed the women that it was his obligation to make a formal complaint before the authorities (police), as recent laws dictated. The women immediately surrendered all 31 dogs and they were taken to the pound. All of the dogs were scared and near starvation. Two of them had to be put down immediately because they were in severe pain due to old injuries and other complications.
Dr. Tapia could tell that many of them were still quite adoptable and did not want to euthanize the whole group, so on Wednesday, July 15th, he contacted two private non-profit groups. One that could help in getting them all sterilized (spay/neuter), and another that could bring local Mexicans to adopt the dogs from the pound.

This is where HSTJ comes in. Among the local authorities, and the public in general, HSTJ has a well established reputation for consistently holding well-organized MASH-style Sterilization clinics in the poorest areas of Tijuana. We were more than willing to help, but there were other implications involved so we met with Dr. Tapia on Thursday, July 16th and raised several important questions, such as available post-op care for the female dogs, etc.
On Friday, July 17th the President of Humane Society de Tijuana, and the Project Coordinator for the sister organization in the U.S., Friends of HSTJ, went down to the pound and made a personal assessment and were able to gather some more critical information.
Among other things, we discovered the following:
  • The Tijuana dog pound is willing to put them up for 45 days beginning on Saturday, July 18th.
  • The Tijuana dog pound is willing to waive the $278 peso (19 dollar) adoption fee for these dogs [Relevant information because the average salary for one week’s work in Tijuana ranges from $600 pesos (40 dollars) to $900 pesos (60 dollars), so the adoption fee is roughly 1/2 to 1/3 of a week’s salary]
  • One or more of the females are pregnant, and at least one of them is within a few days of giving birth so we have to get her out of the pound and into a foster home ASAP.
  • One of the dogs has an injured leg and requires specific evaluation.
  • Since the dogs had been basically abandoned and had lived without human affection for such a long time, they were very nervous, scared, and would have to be re-socialized individually.
  • All of the dogs are Cockapoo and their fur has grown so long that it has become extremely matted. To make matters worse, they are all flea-infested and require special attention and extensive grooming.

That very evening, several board members of both organizations (HSTJ and  Friends of HSTJ) held a meeting to discuss what could be done. 

Even for experienced veterinarians, the sterilization of female dogs is a complex surgery that can last up to an hour if there are any complications. The clock is ticking on this, so we discussed the best way to schedule all of these necessary, but unexpected surgeries.
Some other topics discussed were:
  • How many could be accommodated daily at our  HSTJ Center  –without affecting the everyday flow of pets/rescues,
  • How many surgeries could be performed at our next  MASH Spay-Neuter Clinic to be held on July 26th?
  • Whether or not we could get the vets at the dog pound to perform some of the surgeries as well,
  • How many volunteer vets we can we get to do this for free on such short notice,
  • How will the dogs be cared for after the surgeries?
  • What is going to happen to the ones that haven’t gotten adopted, once the 45 days are up?
  • What will happen to the ones that are not deemed “adoptable” due to illness, old age, inability to be socialized, etc.?
We came up with a structured plan and began its implementation the very next day.

As of July 18th, 2015 we do not have an exact count of how many are males/females, each dog’s health condition, age, etc, or how many out of the 29 left are genuinely adoptable. This information will begin to trickle in as the days go by. What we do know is that these animals deserve the chance of their lifetime –the opportunity to find their forever home. If these animals could speak they would have asked for your help a long time ago. 
We ask that you please share this case with anyone you know that can be of assistance, or with any family that is considering adoption. Perhaps a Cockapoo Rescue near you would be able to help extend that opportunity for even one of these dogs.
We should highlight that Friends of HSTJ has operated an adoption program that includes a comprehensive adoption protocol for all dogs/cats that find their permanent homes across the border. We place an average of 190 hardcore rescues from Mexico in permanent homes in the U.S. every year. You can find many of these stories on our Blog.

IMPORTANT: For this case in particular, we are NOT soliciting food or monetary donations of any kind, nor have we enlisted anyone to solicit donations on our behalf. What we ask is that you please consider fostering or adopting one of these pups. We especially need a foster for the pregnant mom. If you are a licensed veterinarian and the U.S. and are able to dedicate one full day to perform surgeries in Tijuana, please consider doing so (we provide all the materials and assist with transportation).
For specific information on how to do this, please visit our website:  or you can contact our Project Coordinator directly.

Friday, July 3, 2015

June 2015 Report

June was full of activity. We held a mini* sterilization clinic inside the HSTJ Center facilities.

In addition to that, we want to extend a special thank you to Dr. Traversi from the Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital located in the U.S.
Their assistance with seven free sterilizations of rescued animals. This is extremely valuable to us, and a huge step towards placing rescued animals in permanent homes.

 Mini Sterilization Clinic - June 2015
10 female dogs
7  male dogs
5  female cats
1 male cat
TOTAL: 23 animals, spayed/neutered

*We chose to hold a mini clinic due to a shortage of volunteer vets during the month of June. If you are a licensed veterinarian in the U.S., live in or around the San Diego area, and would consider dedicating a full Sunday to perform cat/dog sterilizations in Tijuana, please contact


HSTJ Center - June 2015
This kitty was rescued and in rehab, when the vet discovered
a severe UTI infection and obstruction.
His bladder was expressed and he is currently being treated.
10 female dogs - spayed
4  female cats - spayed
4  male dogs - neutered
2  male cats - neutered

There were also several cases of rescued animals that received treatment at the HSTJ Center.
Some of these cases were:


HSTJ Itchy-Scratchy Clinics - June 2015
The total animals treated at our street clinics during the month of June were 346 cats and dogs.
DIF (Family Community Center) at Granjas Familiares
Colonia Rial de San Francisco
Colonia Valle Verde
Colonia El Pipila

Please consider volunteering at one of our MASH Sterilization Clinics, held once a month, usually on Sundays; or at one of our Itchy-Scratchy clinics, held weekly, usually on Saturdays.
Also, a small monetary donation goes a long way to help the suffering animals in Mexico. To help us continue with these and many other programs we run year-round in Tijuana, we rely on donations from people who wish to help. We also welcome unopened bags of fresh dog/cat food, as well as grooming supplies, flea/tick treatment, and deworming medications.
To donate, please visit our website To volunteer, please email our Volunteers Coordinator, Nicole:

Friday, June 26, 2015

INDIVIDUAL RESCUERS - What they do and how we help

For as long as there have been animals among us, there have been individual rescuers; people who take it upon themselves to help an animal in distress. This is a noble and self-sacrificing labor of love, but without support, continuous rescuing and rehabilitation can quickly deplete your energy and your resources. The individual rescuer will come to rely solely on what they have at their disposal, and many times, the amount of help they can give an animal is limited by whatever funds they have available.

In an effort to aid these individuals, Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana (FHSTJ) has worked closely with its Mexican counterpart, Humane Society de Tijuana (HSTJ) to set up a network of support that encompasses various HSTJ programs.

When HSTJ and FHSTJ were first established back in 2007, it became obvious that there was a great need for assistance in this area, and since the very beginning we did what we could to help. But over the years we have gained much more insight on what individual rescuers need in order to rehabilitate an animal, and although each case is different, we encourage rescuers who team up with us to take advantage of all our programs.

For example, an animal rescued off the streets may have suffered enormously and will be in very bad shape, requiring immediate veterinary care and treatments. At the HSTJ CENTER we strive to provide access to topical parasite treatment, a complete check-up, de-worming medication, vaccinations, sterilization, and specific blood/stool tests. Once this protocol has been completed, and if the animal is deemed adoptable, we can sometimes assist the rescuer in getting this wonderful creature adopted by a loving family.

For obvious reasons, there is a high demand for the services and support we provide to rescuers, and we continue to do this because the results speak much louder than words.

This is Frankie. You can read her full rescue
story right here on our Blog. We are happy to
report that she is recuperating well and will
soon be ready for adoption.
This is just one of many examples that prove
just how valuable your support is for the lives
of these animals. Thank you for helping.

In the past year alone, our organization was able to facilitate over 150 pet adoptions of rescued animals. We are confident that this year will report a lot more than that. In addition, the individual rescuers we support have a collective daily census of well over 200 animals.
You can see just a few of those “Happy Tails” on our Petfinder page.

In recognition for all their hard work, which would otherwise go unnoticed, we will begin featuring these individual rescuers, what they have accomplished, and how we have been able to help them through your donations. Please stay tuned for future articles entitled: “HSTJ’s Unknown Heroes – Featured Rescuer of the day:”

We do not have employees and we have decided not to run a shelter in Mexico. Thus, we have no place to put rescued animals and they must remain with the same people who rescue them. In these cases, we offer individual rescuers our support by giving them assistance with free food, common medications and low cost veterinary care. If rescued animals are deemed adoptable, we can sometimes facilitate adoptions once the animals are spayed or neutered. Our primary mission is to prevent the overpopulation of unwanted animals and lessen the miserable conditions that exist for them throughout the city of Tijuana. For more information as to why we have decided to function this way, and why it is the best use of our resources, please see previous articles on this Blog or visit our website and click on "About Us".

Sunday, June 21, 2015


This is Camila. We do not know where she was born or why she ended up living on the streets. What we do know is that while she was still young, she was hit by a car and eventually found by a “good Samaritan”. This person placed Camila's wounded leg in a makeshift splint made with a wooden stick and old rags, then sent her back on the streets. Not long after that she was found by HSTJ volunteers and taken to the HSTJ Center for treatment.  

Camila's wound began to heal nicely.
She was suffering from malnourishment and was obviously in a great deal of pain. Once the dirty dressings were removed from her leg, doctors could observe a severe skin infection. X-rays were taken and revealed a compound fracture.

Luckily, she had found help. From that moment on, her progress was closely monitored at the HSTJ Center by caring vets, as well as her dedicated foster mom, Lety. Today she has made a full recovery and is now one happy pup looking for her furrever home. If you are in Southern California and would like to meet Camila, please contact Vicky:


Medium Size
Labrador Retriever mix

Camila weighs approximately 30 lbs and is about a year old. She is very loving and energetic, and gets along well with dogs that are her size or smaller, but is not comfortable living with dogs that are much larger than herself. She is great with people and kids, loves getting daily exercise and would love to explore new places with you.

House trained • Spayed • Current on vaccinations

Follow this link to our Petfinder page and meet even more pups that have been rescued from the streets of Tijuana, MEXICO and are looking for their furrever home: Petfinder - Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana

-Summer 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Frankie's tail never stopped wagging

This is Frankie’s Story, as related to HSTJ by her original rescuers: Axel Leon, age 11, and Monika Leon, age 34
Frankie was found huddled into a corner along the main road in the rural community of Mariano Matamoros, Tijuana, Mexico. Axel, an eleven year old boy, spotted her on his way back from school one gloomy Monday. He called his mother over and Frankie became scared and tried to get away from them. Monika Leon, the boy’s mother, stooped down to have a look and then gently stroked her fur. Fearful, this pain stricken dog started to gently wag her tail. Now they could clearly see the many lacerations on her neck and body. She was covered in blood and dirt. The boy insisted that they take her home and cure her wounds, but his mother knew that these wounds were quite
serious and warranted the expertise of a veterinarian. They carefully walked with her the rest of the way to their house, avoiding any loud sounds that could startle her even more. That same day they were able to find a ride to the HSTJ Center so that this poor dog could get immediate veterinary attention.

The following is direct information from the attending veterinarian at the HSTJ Center, Dr. Angel Gonzales Hernandez:
“When Frankie was brought to the HSTJ Center I could see that, despite being in obvious pain, she was quite calm. The main wounds were consistent with being tethered to a structure with a wire around her neck; it had cut deep down into the flesh. Other wounds on her body were consistent with an attack by several other dogs, perhaps while being tied with the wire; pieces of her flesh were torn in different places.
She was anesthetized and put on an IV, and then we proceeded to shave the fur around her wounds. We flushed all the debris from underneath her torn skin and patched together the shards of skin around her neck, holding it in place with stitches. The same procedure was repeated for all the other wounds. In addition to that, Frankie tested positive for chronic Ehrlichiosis, a virus that causes anemia, weight loss, inflammation and hemorrhaging, is transmitted through ticks, and is completely treatable. After coming out of anesthesia I remember her getting up and wagging her tail at anyone who came near her cage. That was a good sign.
Despite having to get around in public transportation, Monika and her family are excellent rescuers who brought Frankie in every day so that I could closely monitor her recovery. She has now been discharged and must finish her cycle of antibiotics and other medications, rest, eat well, and we will be removing the stitches in ten days. Some of her wounds already appear to be healing.”

On June 11th Frankie’s rescuer, Monika Leon, told HSTJ that she was programmed to have a double mastectomy on June 17th and could not continue to care for Frankie. A fellow HSTJ volunteer and rescuer took in Frankie the following day.
HSTJ cares greatly for all its volunteers and is happy to report that Monika has a huge amount of support from her and her husband’s family, and a good prognosis from her doctor as well. Meanwhile, and in preparation for Frankie’s full recovery, we are beginning the search for Frankie’s furrever home. If you or someone you know is thinking of adopting, we ask you to please consider Frankie. We are also looking for a family to foster Frankie on this side of the Border once she gets a clean bill of health. Below you will find her description. To see a complete album with pictures of Frankie before, during, and after surgery, please follow this link (caution, photos may be too graphic for some):Frankie-June2015  For direct information please contact:

NAME: Frankie (short for Frankenstein)
AGE: approximately three years
SIZE: medium
SEX: female
BREED: tj mix
WEIGHT: 26 lbs. (current weight)
HEIGHT: 1’ 5”
COLOR: mostly black with patches of white around her face and on the tips of her paws and tail
MORE INFO: “A very gentle little lady who LOVES children. Her tail is constantly wagging and she yearns for love and affection. She is great with all other dogs and cats. She is not a barker. At night she sleeps soundly in the living room, on her doggie bed, and in the morning I take her outside. Not one accident.
She takes her medicine very well and does not gnaw on the furniture or on shoes. She is perfectly content to lay on her doggie bed while I work, and follows me outside for my breaks. In the car she is a perfect companion. Again, not a barker. She also does well by herself and does not get scared or nervous when left home alone. Very well behaved at dinnertime; she does not beg for food nor does she come up to the dining table. I am very happy to be taking care of such a well-behaved little lady. I will be delighted the day that she finds her forever home. She deserves it.”

–Frankie’s current foster/caregiver in Tijuana, L. R. 

As of July 3rd, Frankie is recovering well and has completed all of her treatments. She did require a second surgery on June 18th, but all of her wounds have now healed at about 90%. We are now waiting for the rest of her fur to come in, and are also looking for a foster in the U.S., so if you or someone you know is interested in fostering her, please email
Here is Frankie at play... Looks like she has potential as a professional soccer player. ;-) Please consider adopting or fostering Frankie. Thank you.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The HSTJ Center

You may have read a little bit about the HSTJ Center in previous posts. If you're curious, then please read on to discover this exciting new workspace enabling volunteers to accomplish much more than ever before. 
  • What is the HSTJ Center?
  • Where is it located?
  • When was it inaugurated?
  • What is its purpose? 
  • How many have benefitted?
Since 2006 HSTJ has sought to reduce the overpopulation of suffering animals in Tijuana. We now offer subsidized veterinary services through the Buenos Aires Clinic located inside the HSTJ Center.

What is the HSTJ Center?
It is not a shelter. It is a small clinic that provides  free and/or low cost veterinary care, including spay/neuter, on a daily basis for rescues or families with limited resources. 
The general setup is that of a modest but well-equipped veterinary clinic with an adjoining bath and grooming station. 
The facility includes a sophisticated anesthesia  machine and an ultrasound which allow us to handle special cases. We have what we need; the foreseeable challenge would be the expense of purchasing   X-ray equipment, so for now, when this service is  required we obtain the services of a mobile X-ray.

Where is it Located?

It is strategically located in an area accessible to the greater Tijuana area via personal or public transportation, and is open during regular business hours, including most holidays. 

20573 Calle Mexicali
Colonia Buenos Aires Norte
Tijuana, B.C. 22810

When was it inaugurated?

The Center officially opened and treated the first patient in February 2014. This was our greatest expansion since we started in 2006. Since then, the demand for these services has been much more than initially anticipated.

What is its purpose?

In countries like Mexico where the greater population is very poor, many could never come up with the money for veterinary care. 
Here you see the vet treating an animal
just rescued off the streets.
We are happy to inform that this little girl
is recuperating well thanks to your support. 
It was our goal to open this facility so that people with limited resources could afford to provide vet care for their beloved family pets or for animals rescued off the streets. We met our goal and opened the HSTJ Center where we offer subsidized services through the Buenos Aires clinic. These include free and/or low cost veterinary care (including spay and neuter) for rescuers and for the general public with limited resources. To receive approval for these services, rescuers must call (664) 120-6714

How many have benefitted?

The HSTJ Center has treated an average of six rescued animals per day for things ranging from routine illnesses to accident cases, poisonings, severe malnutrition/dehydration, and complications from surgeries done by inadequately trained veterinarians. 
In addition to, and aside from our mobile neighborhood sterilization campaigns, the HSTJ Center is  performing an average of 60 spays and neuters per month.
The Center also offers subsidized grooming services as well as medicated baths and dips.


On behalf of Friends of HSTJ, we would like to thank our many supporters because without them, programs such as this one would not be possible. 


Friday, May 29, 2015

HSTJ’s Spay/Neuter Programs - 2015

Each year we touch the lives of about 5,000 animals through our many programs, and one of the most complex is the Spay/Neuter Program. Sterilization is one of the main concerns for HSTJ because it contributes directly towards reducing the overpopulation of suffering animals.

How are the Spay/Neuter programs structured?
We are an all-volunteer association and all volunteers and officers receive no financial compensation. Therefore, and in order to maintain the functionality and consistency of the different S/N programs held year-round, we follow the same protocol for most of them.
The process is simple and involves Mexican and American volunteers who:
1) Locate an area, 2) organize several Itchy-Scratchy Clinics* to promote the S/N program, 3) find an appropriate location within that community and schedule the S/N Clinic, and finally 4) contact volunteers.
*SEE THE SECTION “The importance of   Itchy-Scratchy Clinics”

What different programs are there?
Mobile HSTJ Sterilization Clinics are scheduled throughout the year in some neighborhoods of Tijuana based on need. This program targets the general public in the poorest areas of Tijuana and sterilizes an average of 60 pets per clinic.  

Centralized Spay/Neuter Clinics are organized once a month at the HSTJ Center, which is a small facility that provides free and/or low cost veterinary treatment for individual rescuers and families with limited  resources. This program sterilizes an average of 40 pets per clinic. 

HSTJ Center is open during regular business hours and is prepared to offer free and/or low cost sterilization for rescues. It is conveniently located at Calle Mexicali in Colonia Buenos  Aires Norte. This program sterilizes an average of 60 rescued pets per month.

What are the benefits of each program?
Mobile HSTJ Sterilization Clinics
This program enables us to assess the need in various areas and expand our outreach in these more impoverished parts of Tijuana that would have no other means of controlling  animal population. Secondly, we take advantage of veterinarians that cannot be present everyday but can dedicate a full day doing surgeries. Also, a mobile hospital can be set up in an area where the greatest need is at that time. 
Centralized Spay/Neuter Clinics
We are able to use the HSTJ Center to set up mobile clinics on a regular basis, combining the benefits of mobile clinics with the added benefit of a modest, but well-supplied, veterinary clinic.

HSTJ Center
With the HSTJ Center open during regular business hours, rescuers do not have to wait for our monthly clinics to treat or spay & neuter new rescues. 

 The average for each of the past five years has been approximately 600   sterilizations per year. The overall increase is noticeable, but more so is the increase in the cat-to-dog ratio, as more and more people are convinced of the need to sterilize their cats as well as their dogs.
We are firmly convinced that all the effort volunteers put into organizing and carrying out these programs is completely worthwhile because this resource is continually available to the people who need it the most.

The Importance of Itchy-Scratchy Clinics
The “Itchy-Scratchy Clinic” is a street clinic for the community where volunteers are trained to provide treatment for internal and external parasites as well as minor injuries; pet owners are given 3 lb. bags of dry dog/cat food. All of this is a free service, yet those with resources are asked to consider a small donation to help with the cost of medicine. This program is essential. Through it we touch the lives of many animals who desperately need these services. It also gives us the opportunity to educate the public and encourage them to bring treated animals to our Spay/Neuter Clinics.

On behalf of Friends of HSTJ, we would like to thank our many supporters because without them, programs such as this one would not be possible.
-Spring 2015

Mateo gets a second chance

While cars were stopped at a red light, Mateo, a dark brown lab mix, limped through the crosswalk with a blood soaked face and neck.
A man in one of the vehicles quickly rescued Mateo and took him to an HSTJ vet who discovered that Mateo’s right ear was sliced in two.  In addition, an old injury was causing the limp, and he had severe dental problems and a skin infection as well.
Mateo received treatment for all of this and is making a steady recovery. He is currently in a foster home and is looking for his furrever home.

For information on adopting Mateo, please email

Junior the Pitt

HSTJ continues to support individual rescuers with food, supplies, and veterinary attention. The stories you are about to read are true and are happening right now. As your eyes read on, keep in mind that it is only thanks to our many supporters that this labor of love can continue.

Junior, a two year old pit mix, was abused and abandoned by his original owner and lived on the streets for several days before making his way to a small food cart. The woman who owned it fed Junior and noticed a large wound on his forehead. She took him to a vet who cleaned the wound and put him on antibiotics. But even with plenty of food and rest Junior was not showing any visible recovery. His rescuer sought help amid social media.
HSTJ volunteers responded, making arrangements so that Junior was immediately reevaluated. X-rays were taken and revealed a skull fracture and partial bone loss that left part of the brain exposed.
Some neighbors recognized Junior and exposed his abuser, who had repeatedly beat him on the head with a hammer before leaving and abandoning him. His whereabouts are not known.
An HSTJ vet performed surgery twice and was able to repair the damage. Junior is in a foster home and under strict and continuous observation for any possible signs of neurological problems. He continues to recover and is thriving with the affectionate care of his rescuer.  -Spring 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Support our spay & neuter clinics. Your contribution of  $5 per ticket will help us continue to make our clinics possible and you will have the chance to win one of the following exciting prizes:
1)      Gift Card to Warby Parker ($95 value)
2)      Gift Card and Beauty Product Box ($120 value) courtesy of Whole Foods
3)      Gift Cards to Tower 23, Crest CafĂ©, Lotus Thai and other ($125 value)
4)      Surprise gift (fun and exciting = priceless)
Play and Win while you help animals with Friends of the Humane Society of TJ!