By Samantha Chavez
Special for the monitor
One of the main problems with the stray population in the Rio Grande Valley is that there are no strays, technically speaking. All the animals that roamed the streets had a home at some point. But, for some reason, no one will claim them anymore.
“This pet started somewhere,” said Faith Wright, director of operations for the Palm Valley Animal Society. “Maybe they had a dog who gave birth to the puppy and then the puppy escaped. Every dog started somewhere.
Wright believes the solution to lost animals is to find the owners and, if the animal is no longer wanted, to have the owner and the shelter work together until the animal can find a new home.
“Through our resource centre, we are able to help people who have found an animal and are ready to keep it. We can give them food, crates, bowls, collars, leashes and whatever else they might need,” Wright said. The resource center then works to try to reunite the animal with the owner. Microchipping and marking are important so that the animal can be returned to its owners quickly if it gets lost. Palm Valley Animal Society also uses the resource center to provide help for people struggling to maintain their pets, such as fencing and food.
Another way to help those lost pets is to understand how beneficial neutering and neutering is to the community and pets.
“Your pet will live longer. You reduce the risk of females getting ovarian cancer and males getting testicular cancer,” said Esmer Garcia, rescue coordinator for Yaqui Animal Rescue. There are also benefits beyond the animal’s health. Garcia mentioned the problem of breeding, in which new litters are now on the streets and also continue to breed and increase the number of free-ranging animals. Additionally, there are long waiting lists for most shelters, foster rescues, and sterilization services.
Despite the long wait times, owners should keep trying to have their pets spayed or neutered.
The RGV Low Cost Spay Neuter Clinic offers affordable services, and there are also often local events, such as the one hosted by Murphy’s Safe Haven.
“A while ago we had this unique program where we went into low-income neighborhoods and provided free vaccines, free microchips, and free simple screening,” said Audrey Wulf, founder of Murphy’s Safe Haven. Information about these events can be found on the social media accounts of local shelters and foster care organizations.
Residents of the Rio Grande Valley can help in many other ways, such as adoption, donation or promotion. Fostering pets for as long as possible will allow shelters to find new pet owners and keep pets off the streets.