Homeowners and the Department of Ecology have identified options for moving the shelter, money and bureaucratic obstacles remain, but a compromise is on the horizon
Dogs in shelter.
Patrick O’Heffernan and Domingo Flores, Ajijic. After interviews with representatives of homeowners impacted by the government animal shelter established in west Ajijic and the Director of Ecology, José Jaime Ibáñez, Laguna has learned that possible alternative sites have been located, a financial agreement has been floated, and the parties are working together – although in fits and starts – to move the shelter and create a new one that better accommodates stray dogs.
The shelter was established on land donated to the municipalidad sometime ago for a cemetery, but was not usable for that purpose so it remained on the books until the Department of Ecology, which supervises animal protection and control, decided to use it for a shelter for stray dogs and other animals in the area. However, the 24-hour a day barking of the sheltered dogs has upset the residents of nearby developments of Puerta Arroyo, Sierra Viva, Los Abinos, Villas Colorado, and Los Alebrijes and La Canacinta.
The residents of those developments – about 200 households, half of which are estimated to be Mexican by the HOA officers, submitted a petition to 7 government agencies to solve the noise problem and met with Jaime on July 28 to find solutions.
Since that meeting, the frustrated HOAs have filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and scheduled a meeting with Mayor Moisés Anaya (which was canceled at the last minute), and met twice with Director Ibáñez. They have also located 4 possible sites for a relocated shelter, two off the Libramento, one near Santa Cruz la Soledad and one near the international university. One of the sites is quite large, has access to water and can be rented for 5 – 10 years, a cost which might be shared between the government and the residents.
The existing shelter is currently managed by Ana Luisa Maldonado, an advocate for animals and a staff member of the Department of Ecology. While her salary is paid by the Department and she has been given wide authority to manage the shelter, she has the responsibility of raising the $75,000mx a month needed to operate the shelter. To do this, she has recruited local volunteers for staffing, and for funds has turned to local donors and to the Meximutt Project, a 13-year-old Oregon-based organization that transports dogs from Jalisco to the US for adoption. The organization, which also partners with Lakeside’s The Ranch dog shelter, provides about $150 per dog plus other costs, according to its website…
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