Despite of the growing number of animal rescuers who work along the California-Mexico border areas, life for stray animals has shown little to no improvement over the decades.
Back in 2010, CNN published an article about the plight of stray animals in this area, stating that “[a]n estimated 7,000 animals spend their days dodging traffic, looking for scraps and living – and dying – in the streets of Tijuana, Mexico.” CNN could not officially quantify this number, but did come up with the following estimate:
1.4 million people from about 750,000 households – from where about 1 percent have an animal that roams the street. Source.
It is 2019. Animal rescuers in this region will tell you that the estimation from nearly 20 years ago remains the same, or maybe even worsened. Although public perception of animals among many of the residents have changed, the situation is still dire. The homeless animal population is critically high. Homeless animals are deemed as pests or vermin by many.
There are simply not enough resources to save them all. The best that many animal-lovers can do to help homeless animals in these areas is provide them with food, water, and bedding; and, then, follow that up by posting a plea for help on social media in the hopes that a rescue organization or someone with the means to help, can oblige.
This article features some of the victims of homelessness at one of the most busiest borders in the U.S.
The puppy on the featured photo was shared by a man who told her story after she perished. According to the man, he found the puppy in a basket on the side of the road, took a photo and left her there. He went on to explain that when he walked the same path the following day, the puppy was dead. This man’s story is suspect, since the photo appears to have been taken inside a home or some other structure, rather than on the side of a road. But, the real story is actually irrelevant. Even if you believe his story, his inaction to at least reach out to the rescue community is unconscionable to just about any animal-lover. The little female puppy – wearing tattered garb and looking into the lens of the camera with pleading eyes set upon a pitifully haunting face – died the day after this photos was taken.
Here are a few (yes, just a few) of the nonhuman victims of homelessness.* (Click on photo for a short description.)
This female was described as being skin and bones and suffering from scabies. The woman who took the photo said that she could not catch her at that time. The dog has not been seen since.
This elderly dog was abandoned and had been living on the streets for months. He had an injured paw, infected skin and “white eyes.” A little boy furnished the senior with food, water and a towel to be used as a temporary bed. It wasn’t until an adult saw the dog that a plea for help was posted. Upon request, an update was not provided.
Just a 1-year-old puppy, a woman took him in thinking he belonged to her neighbor. She was mistaken, so she just tossed him outside, saying “I am not allowed to have more dogs.” She found him that night sleeping outside of her security doors. She took a photo of him and asked for help. Whether help came is unknown, since no update was upon request.
This lady took a photo of what appears to be a sick dog, saying, “It’s raining and she’s cold.” She asked for help. No update was provided.
Someone who no longer wanted his dog tied his leash (rope, actually) to a tree. The woman sent out a plea, but no update could be provided as to the status of the dog.
Two stray dogs – one described as “golden” and the other described as “negrita with a very ugly wound and hurt paw.” The person asking for help said she did not know how to save them, so she gave them food and posted them on social media to get help. No word on whether or not the dogs received help.
This is the “negrita” dog described in the previosu photo. He has an injury to his leg, as well as his paw. It looks as if he was run over. No status provided, upon request.
This description may be inaccurate as the translation was poor. According to an indy rescuer, a woman said this dog was attacked and she got around by crawling – at least until she was too weak to do even that. She then became pretty much unresponsive. Euthanizing her would have been more humane than allowing her to suffer so long. Status, unknown.
This is the same dog described in the previous photo. Unresponsive.
This dog had been roaming the streets for quite awhile. An indy rescuer asked for assistance. A plea went out and many offered to help and donate. After repeated requests for updates, the woman who put out the plea said she could not catch him, but that her neighbors said they still saw him on the streets. The indy rescuer has made no further attempt to catch the stray. Status is unknown.
Seeing a homeless mama with her puppies is common. An animal-lover spent an hour with the puppies and mom shown on the photo, and was broken-hearted when she had to leave them. She simply didn’t know what to do, except post their photos and ask for help. Status, unknown.
This dog was abandoned in a dam at the “coconut stand” (whatever that is). The person asking for help said the dog was dying of hunger, so she gave her cat food because that was all she had with her. No word as to the status of this dog.
This stray dog was seen at a Chevron gas station. The person asking for help said the dog has a severe wound on her head. (See following photo.)
This is the dog described in the previous photo. The wound is clearly visible. No update provided. Status, unknown.
The description of this stray little dog was unclear or unintelligible. The person posting this said the stray was on the Benton Bridge; that it is a “battle to walk;” and one would “run the risk of crossing fast.” No update was provided.
Unable to walk, this dog was marked as “urgent.” He had not moved from this place for days, according to the person who posted him. Status, unknown.
Obviously abandoned, someone took pity on this dog by leaving him with a towel or little blanket on which he could rest his weary body. An update was not provided upon request.
This abandoned dog was given food and water. Unlike the others, he was taken to a vet. Unfortunately, it was too late. The ravages of homelessness and street life took a toll on his body. He died.
The smaller dogs are especially susceptible to being killed on the streets. This little Chihuahua was attacked by a bigger dog. Funds could not be raised for his vet care and he succumbed to his injuries.
This, right here. You come upon a scene or an image like this and it feels like you’ve been punched in the gut. This teeny-tiny, emaciated pup was sleeping on a thrown out piece of cardboard in the parking lot of a convenience store very late one evening. Indy rescuers looked for him the following day. He hasn’t been seen since this photo was taken. Status, unknown.
Puppies galore! Somone took this photo of 4 stray puppies with their mama. There were 8 puppies the day before. Status, unknown.
Someone didn’t want his dog anymore, so felt it was necessary to literally bind his entire body with rope up against a tree. No response about the status or whereabouts of the dog was given.
Concededly, the homeless population of companion animals is a serious problem in every jurisdiction around the globe; but, some places are worse than others. The border areas would be in the “worse” category.
Rescue organizations that have any room to take in a Border Stray, or two, are encouraged to reach out to the rescue organizations that work in this neck of the woods. When people and rescues work together, beautiful things happen.
Although Crossing Guardians website has not been updated for years, photos of just some of the animals saved on the “Happy Tails” page of the website are illustrative that happy endings can be achieved. (Before-after photos can be seen only on a desktop computer or Smart pad.)
*Full disclosure: Unless indicated otherwise, the status of the dogs is unknown. It is possible that a couple of the dogs was/were later rescued, but that information was not provided to the author upon request as of the writing of this post.