Central American dogs and cats getting some help from SNIP




By Sharon St Joan


When an elderly Guatamalan man brought his young pup to be spayed, both looked hopeful, though a little apprehensive, but all went well. She sailed through the surgery with flying colors, and he was grateful that he won’t have to worry anytime in the future about having too many puppies to care for.


SNIP works with many other animal organizations throughout Central America to get community dogs and cats spayed/neutered – or “snipped.” Carla Ferraro, SNIP’s Founder and Executive Director, has developed an amazing, highly successful program.


Veterinarians are trained in the Small Incision Field Surgery Program, then they conduct low-cost spay/neuter clinics. The clinics benefit the vets too, since they gain new clients when the dogs and cats are brought back to them for vaccinations and any vet care that’s needed.


One of the unique features of SNIP’S program is that their first step is to identify a few community leaders in every new city they go to. It only takes a few, very committed local people – then these leaders organize events and act as a bridge to the rest of the community – explaining what spay/neuter is and why it’s a great idea. With the help of volunteers, these community leaders set up spay/neuter clinics, raise funds, and make sure everything is running well for the benefit of the dogs and cats and their people.


SNIP’s emphasis is on community animals living in low-income neighborhoods, where they often roam the streets. Dogs and cats may have one person who cares for them – or they may rely on several families to feed them and keep an eye on them. People want to do what’s best for their animals, but sometimes they’re not familiar with spay/neuter and its benefits in preventing a situation where there are too many animals to feed and care for – so explaining why it’s such a good idea is essential.


Now, 30% of the community dogs and cats in Costa Rica have been spayed and neutered – and SNIP’s goal is to bring it up to 70%. 30% is already a huge leap forward – from a time not so long ago when spay/neuter was almost unheard of in many rural communities. And Costa Rica is already a no-kill nation!


SNIP, working with local animal groups, conducts many clinics in Costa Rica and Panama. The recent clinic in Guatamala was a wonderful success, with many people bringing their animals.


To visit SNIP’s website, click here.

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Photo: Courtesy of SNIP


Costa Rica: Homeless people line up to get their pets spayed/neutered



By SNIP  (Spay Neuter International Project)

We are very happy to report that we have completed our first two spay & neuter clinics!


Barrio Nuevo is one of those poor neighborhoods so common in developing nations. These Barrios originated a while back as shantytowns, a clutter of simple shacks made of flattened oil drums, plywood, aluminum sheets, plastic tarps and whatever recycled construction materials the “developer” was able to put his hands on at the time.

They first attracted the poorest of the poor, most often former Campesinos (farmers) who left the rural areas of their countries for the big city, in hope of escaping poverty and hunger.

In Costa Rica, the capital is surrounded by such Precarios, neighborhoods that were once temporary as their name indicates, but that are now well established components of the Central Valley, where the big city of San José lies.

Junior, a homeless man who calls the streets of Barrio Nuevo his home, is well aware of the challenges that every resident faces. He spends the day looking for work and caring for several of the furry wanderers that follow him around, wagging happily in the sticky tropical heat.

One dog in particular is very attached to him. Bigotica, which roughly translates to “Costa Rican moustache”, decided that Junior needed a guardian angel and takes her role very seriously, never leaving his side. When Junior heard over the Coconut Telegraph – the grapevine, as it is nicknamed around here- that the SNIP Foundation and the Asociación Nacional Protectora de los Animales (ANPA) were organizing the first ever spay and neuter clinic in his neck of the woods, he made sure to be first in line on the morning of the event.

“I know firsthand what the dogs have to do to stay alive here. We need a lot of things in Barrio Nuevo, but one thing we do not need is more puppies suffering in the streets”, says Junior as we check his beloved Bigotica in.

At the end of a very long day, after many Juniors came and left cradling their spayed/neutered pets in their arms, we sat down feeling beat and yet proud of what we had accomplished. Now the challenge is to follow up, continuing with our outreach education efforts and promoting responsible ownership.

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Photo: Courtesy of SNIP



Costa Rica: A second chance for Katrina





By Davide Ulivieri

Cycle 4 Strays


Her coat had once been shiny and white, but now was matted and streaked with grease. Her ribs showed and she was panting in the sticky tropical heat. Still, she smiled. She ambled inside the indoor Futból 5 stadium where we were hosting a local spay and neuter clinic without hesitation, eyes bright and tongue hanging sideways.


She drank at length from the water bowl we promptly offered and let us gently nudge her inside a pet carrier. Less than half an hour later she started to stir, waking up from the anesthesia, spayed, vaccinated, nails trimmed, dewormed and Frontlined. Her surgery had lasted not quite three minutes, one of Dr. Rivas best times ever.


We gently loaded her onto the back seat of a small sedan and drove her to Carla’s home to give her a chance to rest and recover.


The next morning she wolfed down a nice helping of food and introduced herself to the other resident dogs with such playful enthusiasm that they cheerfully accepted her as the new member of the gang.


We named her Katrina and promptly set out to find her a good, permanent home.


Young and energetic she played, ate, rested then played some more. When she slept, she did so soundly snoring softly and twitching her legs, lost in doggie dreams. Overnight, she went from dodging cars, scavenging for food in the gutters, curling up to fend off the chill of the night to the life that every sentient being should have…



When we invest our resources in preventing suffering, we turn off the flow of puppies and kittens slowing it to a trickle, one that is easier to handle.


Low cost mass spay and neuter does exactly that…


When you support our programs, you extend a helping hand to dogs like Katrina, making sure that she won’t contribute to creating another generation of homeless beings.


…Without animal welfare, there is no community welfare and, vice versa, our own welfare begins with theirs.


Less than $20 does it. It covers the cost of Katrina’s surgery, her vaccines and deworming treatment. It prevents misery and suffering. It gives hope to the hardworking volunteers that tirelessly continue their advocacy work, delivering without asking anything, simply because they care, because it is the right thing to do.


Thank you on behalf of Katrina and her never-to-be-born puppies. Deep down in her heart she is forever grateful. And so are we, grateful that is. Help us continue to do the right thing: one community, one surgery, one Katrina at a time.



To read this story in its entirety, as well as other success stories on the SNIP website, click here.



Photo: Courtesy of SNIP