Blog > Hope for the Animals Events > Hope for the Animals Supports "World Spay Day" 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015
Hope for the Animals Supports "World Spay Day" 2015
Grace White

Thank you to Nancy Hewett, volunteer and enthusiastic supporter of the Mayan Families Mission, for the contribution of this blog post.

In honor of the 21st annual “World Spay Day,” Mayan Families is pleased to join the international community in supporting the mission to decrease the epidemic of global overpopulation of domestic pets and stray animals.  The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association have declared this annual campaign, celebrated every last Tuesday in February, as a “call to action” to reduce and reverse the worldwide trajectory toward the crisis of the ever-burgeoning pet population.  Their guiding principle, and one that we wholeheartedly agree with, is that sterilization is the only viable means toward a long term solution.


In a period of six years, one female and one male dog and their offspring can produce up to 67,000 puppies; and one female and male cat and their offspring, up to 420,000 kittens.  The magnitude of this problem puts at severe risk the health and potential of a community and further exacerbates the life-threatening effects of extreme poverty.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the indigenous cultures who reside in rural areas in Guatemala, just like Lake Atitlan.

Many reputable sources have cited moral responsibility and compassion as qualities of a good and civilized society, but beyond these basic rules of decency are the well-documented findings of the negative impact of animal overpopulation on public health.  Strays are very often the carriers of diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, scabies and ringworm, all of which are easily transmittable to humans. Due to their proximity to street animals, people living in extreme poverty are even more vulnerable to these diseases. In fact, many of the children may not even have shoes, and the cost of basic preventative hygiene practices is prohibitive. 

The economics of a region can also be adversely affected in terms of its strain on the infrastructure and, in the case of Panajachel and surrounding villages, its impact on tourism -- a major source of income for many indigenous people.

We unfortunately hear stories of cruel and savage methods used to control animal overpopulation, but these cannot provide long term results or solve the problem at the root cause. The only compassionate and viable solution is spaying and neutering.  We believe that through monthly sterilization and timely vaccinations, we can help reduce the number of street animals and attacks. To carry out this vision, we sterilize as many street animals per month in collaboration with the few licensed, practicing veterinarians in the Lake Atitlan region.  

Our goal is to expand and refine our current system and to develop the ability and resources to sterilize 40 animals per month.  We intend to further study and model effective systems that facilitate the safe and humane capture of strays to sterilize, vaccinate, and identify them. We also hope to expand our current pet adoption program, but will release those back into their neighborhoods that cannot be placed.  They will be stronger and healthier, and will not add to the animal population.  This model has been proven to be an effective method of protecting these animals while humanely reducing their numbers.

Taking action to reduce the numbers of strays interfaces with the overall philosophy and vision of Mayan Families.  Creating awareness and providing education aimed at fostering empathy, balance and respect for all life within our indigenous communities has a positive impact on the emotional and mental health of our children and the community at large.  It helps us create a “new norm” that rejects the inevitable suffering and abuse of innocent animals

Your gift and your donations to our “Hope for the Animals” program can help us to help them and to reverse the plight of so many innocent animals in our part of the world.

 For just $27, you can help sterilize one cat or dog and help us curb the massive population of street animals in the region. Click here to donate today! 

To learn more, visit our Hope for the Animals Program's page or email







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