What does FOMAW do?
FOMAW’s activities and programs are funded through foundation grants and private donors. They include:
- Animal Sterilization Clinic in Manzanillo, MX managed by FOMAW‘s subsidiary, Alianza Animal Manzanillo, a Mexican charitable organization (more detail here).
- Training Courses for Latin American veterinarians, surgical training and continuing education for Latin American veterinarians led by a highly skilled team of Mexican facilitators (more detail here).
- Street Animal Outreach by Animal Angels of Manzanillo, another FOMAW subsidiary which supports street animals whose untreated injuries and illnesses are causing undue suffering, as well as providing free sterilization for those animals (more detail here).
- Help Other Animal Welfare Organizations by providing financial support and medical advice (more detail here).
Spay/neuter projects within Mexico were struggling to survive … the need for funds far outstripped available resources within the Mexican community and officialdom wasn’t prepared to help.
The logical solution for increasing the effectiveness of animal welfare projects in Mexico was to step up and provide the needed funds and physical support. Concerned citizens in the US and Canada can provide this support through donations and volunteer work.
Who is FOMAW?
Is FOMAW an animal shelter?
Most Mexican cities do not have the administrative or structural wherewithal to support an aggressive animal control program. Without strict control of the street animal populations, shelters fill up immediately, but leave thousands of animals still on the streets, and those animals reproduce to create more needy animals.
Government shelters are few and generally they employ euthanasia to deal with the overpopulation problem. Privately managed shelters attempt to fill the shelter gap within Mexican communities, but with the huge numbers of abandoned street animals, they immediately fill up.
Private shelters do not receive funding from the government and so depend on donations to support the small percentage of animals they can save.
FOMAW’s philosophy is that reducing the numbers of animals through sterilization effectively controls overpopulation and therefore we concentrate in that area rather than in sheltering.
What is the outreach group, Animal Angels Manzanillo, and how are they funded?
Does FOMAW operate a spay/neuter clinic? Where is it?
Alianza Animal Manzanillo, a subsidiary of FOMAW and a registered Mexican Asociacion Civil (charitable organization), operates the clinic. Our two certified veterinarians perform sterilization surgeries by appointment only, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Appointments can be made by phone, WhatsApp, or text message to 314.10.62.080 (English and Spanish spoken).
The Alianza clinic is located at kilometer 14.5 on the main boulevard through Santiago near the cemetery and next to the Instituto Matter school. Visitors are welcome Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as are volunteers. Alianza clinic volunteers are trained in many medical and nonmedical tasks, from monitoring heartbeat and respiration in recovering patients to sterilizing surgical instruments.
In addition to their surgery schedule, our veterinarians apply their skills out in the community performing Transmissible Venereal Tumor (TVT) chemotherapy treatments and assessing the health of street animals. They also present educational talks at schools, community centers and pro-animal rallies.
How can I donate to a different animal welfare group in Mexico and still receive a US tax deduction?
When making a donation to an organization other than FOMAW (Alianza Animal Manzanillo and Animal Angels Manzanillo) specify which organization you would like your donation to support in the comments section on your check, on the PayPal page, or in a note with your cash donation. The FOMAW board consider your request within IRS guidelines.
If you have any questions about your donation please drop us a line.
What is the difference between spaying and neutering?
What is Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR)?
There is some controversy regarding how to control the population of free-roaming animals such as cats. TNR has become the alternative for massive euthanasia of feral cats, which animal rights supporters consider inhumane. Also, massive euthanasia of feral felines is not practical, so some local governments have resorted to TNR for a more natural control of the feral colonies.
The critical ingredient to the TNR program is ensuring that all animals in a feral colony are sterilized. Because of the wandering nature of cats, this is particularly challenging.
Caring for a feral colony must include sterilizing each and every member (and visiting member) of that colony in order to effectively reduce the overall numbers of stray animals. Animals reproduce when they are well fed, so as soon as food is available to a colony, that colony is guaranteed to grow. Therefore, if you don’t plan to trap and sterilize those cats, please don’t feed them!
Why do we recommend that all cats be ear tipped?
Ear tipping is completely safe. It is performed under general anesthetic and results in a flat-topped ear that is an easy visual identification of a sterilized cat, both male and female.
For feral cats, ear tip identification avoids the unnecessary stress associated with trapping and a trip to a vet clinic. For both feral and domesticated cats, the trauma of tranquilizing and in some cases, even of surgery only to discover the animal has already been sterilized, can be avoided if the animal can readily be identified as a spayed or neutered cat.
Female dogs, on the other hand, because of the many variations in their ear shapes and sizes, are identified with the use of a tattoo rather than an ear tip. Ink is placed on their bellies where it will show when their surgical incision heals to make it obvious that they’ve been sterilized.
Male dogs and cats can be identified by the obvious missing testicles.
Can I bring an adopted animal back from Mexico to Canada or the US?
United States Entry
Center for Disease Control (CDC) regulations govern the importation of animals.
DOGS: CDC regulations require that dogs imported into the United States are healthy and are vaccinated against rabies before arrival into the United States. These requirements apply equally to all dogs, including puppies and service animals.
Dogs may be denied entry if they look like they are sick with a communicable disease or if proof of a valid rabies vaccination is not provided. If a dog appears to be sick at the port of entry, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the dog owner’s expense might be required.
CATS: CDC regulations for cats do not require a general certificate of health for entry of pet cats into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. However, pet cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans. If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense might be required at the port of entry.
Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States. However, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination.
Under the National Animal Health Program, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) establishes import requirements for all animals and animal products entering Canada, including domestic pets.
These requirements apply to:
- animals entering Canada permanently
- animals in transit through Canada on their way to a final destination
- animals entering Canada for a temporary visit
The Agency can refuse entry to any animal presented for importation. Please ensure requirements have not changed by checking with CFIA and your airline. Your airline may also require a veterinary certificate of health.
Dogs over 8 months of age and cats over 3 months of age entering Canada from Mexico must have a valid rabies vaccination certificate issued, in either English or French, by a licensed veterinarian from the country of origin. There is no waiting period after the vaccination is administered. Canada does recognize the three year rabies vaccination. Please note that if a validity date does not appear on the certificate, then it will be considered a one year vaccine.
Dogs under 8 months: Due to the problems with puppy mills and the movement of puppies, Canada is very sensitive to dogs entering the country under eight (8) months of age and will assume that, if you, as the owner of your dog, are not traveling with your dog or its papers are not in your name, it will most likely be considered a commercial shipment by customs and be subject to a microchip, health certificate issued within 36 hours of entry, and possibly an import permit.
Regulation for importing cats to Canada. Cats less than three months of age are exempt from the import requirements.
Cats from countries not recognized by Canada as being rabies-free may enter Canada if they are accompanied by a rabies vaccination certificate (the United States of America and Mexico are not rabies-free).
The rabies vaccination certificate must:
- be written in English or French;
- be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
- identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
- state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies;
- indicate the date of vaccination;
- indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine; and
- specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).
What should I do about all of the dogs and cats who show up at my door for food?
FOMAW can lend humane traps and provide sterilization surgeries for the animals that you feed. If you are not equipped or willing to take the responsibility for trapping and sterilizing the animals you are feeding, there is really no good alternative but to stop encouraging their overpopulation by feeding them.
I don’t want anything to happen to the dogs/cats, but they can’t stay here. Where can they go?
Only a few very small private and underfunded shelters in Manzanillo are dealing with the problem of abandoned animals, and those shelters are overflowing.
Therefore, in Manzanillo, as in most of Mexico, there is no one to pass the problem off to. Animal welfare is underfunded and under-enforced within the Mexican government. The solution to your problem requires the involvement of everyone in the local community, including you. Your best bet is to go public and try to locate homes for the animals you are concerned about.
My neighbors (or the landlords) are complaining about the cats and dogs in the neighborhood. What can I do?
- Solicit your neighbors involvement in helping to solve the problem by helping to trap, transport and pay for sterilization surgeries. The fewer animals able to reproduce will lessen the burden on the neighborhood.
- Explain to your neighbors the benefits of keeping the neighborhood animal population healthy, and the benefits of sterilization. Ringworm, mange and other skin diseases are easily transmitted to humans. Sick and injured animals can be vicious, and can spread disease to other pets.
- Solicit your neighbors’ assistance with food, shelter and medical care for the street animals to improve their health, as well as the health of the humans in the neighborhood. Healthy, well-fed animals build robust immune systems and are less likely to contract communicable diseases, thus keeping the human population healthy, as well.
What is a feral cat?
Can cats carry rabies?
I discovered a group of free-roaming cats. What should I do?
First, look for the identifying ear-tip cut across the top of one ear that indicates the cats have been sterilized. If the animal has been sterilized, no further action is required.
For those cats that have not been sterilized, borrow a trap (the Alianza Animal Manzanillo clinic has a few humane traps to lend, as do many spay/neuter organizations and veterinarians); trap each unsterilized cat, male and female, and transport them to a veterinary clinic to be sterilized.
After a short recovery period after surgery, most likely in a cage for feral cats, they can be released back to their original neighborhood.
I can’t touch the cats, so how can I get them to the vet for spaying/neutering?
Trapping feral cats takes time and patience. FOMAW and our Alianza veterinarians are available to advise on trapping, as well as lending humane traps for use in Manzanillo.
I’ve been told that cats should live inside only, so isn’t it cruel to leave them outside?
Millions of cats share our homes, but not all cats are suited to living inside. For many community cats (also known as feral cats), indoor homes are not an option because they have not been socialized to live with humans. They would be scared and unhappy indoors. Their home is the outdoors—just like squirrels, chipmunks, and birds. They are well suited to their outdoor home.