What Happened To PV's City Pound?
By David Rohde
The answer is A LOT. Through the efforts of individuals, groups, staff and the city a remarkable change has taken place at Puerto Vallarta's City Pound. This facility opened in 2004 and was a horrible place. It was named CENTRO DE ACOPIO ANIMAL; acopio meaning collection or collection point in Spanish. That is exactly what it was. Stray and unwanted animals were collected from the streets and dumped there awaiting an owner's rescue. That rarely happened. It was a kill shelter which is standard practice in shelters in this country. I volunteered there before any change and it definitely was a sad situation.
In 2012 Adriana Riestra got involved with the facility by building 4 new kennels as a project for a social welfare course she was enrolled in at the time. She started walking dogs and at the same time met Lorna Gordon Brown from Toronto. Both are interior designers having more in common than just the love of dogs and cats. Around this time period a new administrator took over the reins and turned Acopio into a NO KILL shelter, the first of its kind in all of Mexico. At the same Adri's clients, hearing of her endeavors, started making donations to her cause of bettering the lives of shelter animals. Together Adri and Lorna founded FRIENDS OF PUERTO VALLARTA ANIMALS and were joined by Kim Dewar as treasurer and website overseer. I joined the group in January or February of 2013. The organization had its ups and downs but we are thrilled at how far our efforts have materialized. We now have a group of a few volunteers that walk dogs every week of the year and a dedicated group of winter volunteers have been with us for a number of seasons. We actually count down the days until they arrive. Great friendships have arisen over the years.
We were joined by a brother and sister team from Vancouver, Greg and Deb Barsalou, whose passion for dogs has translated into many wonderful projects. With separate ideas they formed DOG FOR LIFE and expanded the world of volunteering in PV. We desperately needed new kennels and they saw to it that a dozen new airy one were constructed. The block across from the shelter was assigned to Acopio but no one had funds to develop it. They stepped in, cleared and fenced the property and we now have a dog run’ besides the daily walks our canine friends are given.
FRIENDS has grown and developed over the years and many improvements beyond our original dreams have come true. After the new kennels were built it was pointed out that more needed to be done to better the lives of shelter cats. The generosity of Pam and Frank Sullivan greatly improved the situation. Some switching of buildings and additional room construction resulted in a much healthier cattery. Now we have 2 rooms of individual kennels for intakes enabling the staff to quarantine, test and vaccinate before cats are allowed into the general population.
FRIENDS started out as a walk and dog/cat socialization organization but has blossomed into what it is today. Here is what FRIENDS now entails.
- We feed, walk, bathe and socialize dogs every Tuesday and Friday.
- We cuddle and socialize cats and help clean cat and dog kennels if extra help is needed.
- Thanks to our wonderful sponsors we are able to pay for: an extra cleaner, a dog walker, and 2 medical follow-up personnel, one for dogs and one for cats. These employees are second eyes and ears to the vet staff and do most of the adoptions off campus every Saturday and Sunday usually at Plaza Caracol.
- We provide flea and tick medication for all animals thereby lowering the occurrence of disease.
- Originally the city had funds for only 2 weeks of food per year and that is where FRIENDS has helped out the most. The situation has gotten much better with the city's share but still does not cover all the food needed. FRIENDS has also raised funds for medicines and, at times, bags of special diet foods for particular dogs. VALLARTA ADVENTURES contributes with a monthly donation that provides half the food for the shelter. VALLARTA ADVENTURES also donates on a monthly basis to PEACE, the weekly traveling spay and neuter clinic. Please, please, please keep them in mind when planning your next outing.
Other BIG NEWS.
CENTRO DE ACOPIO no longer exists. Two years ago the name with a better psychological bent to it became CENTRO DE CONTROL, ASISTENCIA ANIMAL Y ALBERGUE MUNICIPAL. The important word is ALBERGUE which means SHELTER.
Through the efforts of FRIENDS and DOG FOR LIFE dogs and cats are being flown to the U.S. and Canada for fostering and adoptions. Both organizations raise funds to cover flight costs. The ADOPT, DON'T SHOP campaign has taken hold in Puerto Vallarta as many families come to find a pet for themselves or their children. Laws have been passed, prosecutions have taken place and criminals punished for animal abuse in Mexico. A federal law outlawing dog fighting is also one of the great signs of progress here.
The ALBERGUE is headed up by Dra. Giuliana Aguayo1 assisted by Dra. Miriam González1 and with government support by Silvia Álvarez. We are delighted to be working with this talented and industrious staff.
Our website, www.friendsofpvanimals.com, contains a link that displays all available cats and dogs. By clicking on each photo all pertinent information can be found...date of intake, guestimate age, vaccines given, date of sterilization. Another link displays photos of all cats and dogs adopted since July of last year. If interested in volunteering or donating visit us on Facebook or our website.