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A Letter from Cuba Animal Welfare

My name is Georganna Gore.  I am president of Cuba Animal Welfare in Cuba, NM. Most of the pups we rescue come to us from the Navajo Reservation. There are also a smaller number of pups coming from the Jicarilla Apache Reservation and the Pueblos of Zia and Jemez. An even smaller number of puppies is surrendered by locals from the Village of Cuba. Our problem here is multifaceted. People from larger metropolitan areas drive out to the wilderness to drop off their unwanted pets. Many of these dumped animals go wild and become a part of the breeding population of feral dogs, so that even if we manage to convince everyone here to spay or neuter there will still be unwanted puppies. Although we never pay for puppies, to call the reservation a puppy mill is correct on the face of it. There is a huge population of dogs, both feral and domestic, who breed without hindrance. Cuba Animal Welfare works with the local people to identify and remove the feral animals and to encourage people to spay and neuter their own pets. We can’t force people to spay and neuter. All we can do is try to raise awareness and hope people will do the right thing. CAW’s focus is more on removing the adult dogs and getting them spayed or neutered, which is why we transfer almost 100% of our puppies to Colorado Puppy Rescue. For the adults, we provide transport to veterinary facilities where they can be sexually altered and either returned to their owners or adopted out to other families. As I said, one of our ongoing efforts is to trap and spay the feral (wild) females. I have two here now who are obviously sisters. We can prove they are from the same general area of the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation, Ojo Encino Chapter. These girls are likely the first generation from a dog who was dropped off in the schoolyard many years ago. There are other indicators that the two are sisters, including that they were able to produce litters of ten pups every three months or so. Getting the two of them trapped and spayed has removed that many puppies per year from an area where they would have interbred, possibly leading to genetic flaws. We do our best to trap and spay every feral female, but there are only so many of us equipped and trained to do so. Also, this is more dangerous than it sounds. I have been bitten numerous times. Like most vet techs, I am vaccinated against rabies, just in case. That does not address stitches, infections and downtime from my “real” job made necessary by those medical issues. Dogs breed and escape into the wild quicker than we can trap them, but I assure you we continue to try in spite of the danger. My favorite saying is that rescuing from here is like standing in front of a forest fire with a bucket. That being said, after a concerted three-year effort we are starting to see a little progress. Being able to transport puppies to Colorado Puppy Rescue helps our area immensely. In 2013 we transported approximately 600 pups out of the state of New Mexico to homes in Colorado where spay and neuter laws are stricter. In 2014 the number was around 400. This year we have only transported around 150 from our immediate area, and we have been able to take stray pups from further south and west. Part of the money taken in by Colorado Puppy buys our vaccines and pays for the transport of these hoards of pups. That money pays for efforts to educate the public and for veterinary bills, both for the pups who come to them in less than perfect health and for the health certifications necessary to bring them into Colorado. It’s an expensive proposition. 

Georganna Gore
Cuba Animal Welfare
Cuba, New Mexico

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