The tragic dogs at the Cozumel dump

Andrea for the Cozumel Humane Society asked me to document the plight of the dogs that live in the island dump. Here she is climbing the only shady hill in the area to rescue a mother dog and her 7 puppies. The puppies were born in the trash and broken glass and now the mother's milk was dried up so it was it was critical that they be gotten to the Cozumel Humane Society to be treated. The path up the hill is steep and covered with broken glass and other dangers. One of the men gave me a hand on the way down.

Here is one of the dogs on the trash hill. The ones we saw were pretty subdued and not aggressive, but the men that live out at the dump were with us and they have relationships with the dogs. Most of these dogs are friendly, just scared. People's pets that were unceremoniously taken from there homes and the people they love and left in this godforsaken place.

The condition of some of the dogs is not too bad, considering. But many of them have mange and I am sure other parasites. The type of mange that most of these dogs have is the kind that is often a life long battle to be rid of and often is never cured. The collar indidcated they have been spayed or neutered, treated for parasites and vaccinated. The Cozumel Humane Society is also treating several dogs for TVT abbreviated for: transmissible venereal tumor. This is a contagious cancerous tumor of the genitals. Several in treatment are receiving chemotherapy. And several are in treatment for mange. Funds are needed to help maintain the health of the dump dogs.

Here is a dog in one of the holes they dig on the hill to stay cool. I noticed the pecular "smiley" look they have. It is the squinted eyes that give them that look, but it is from the all the smoke in the air with the dump constantly burning. Not because they are happy.

Here is a man bringing the mother dog down from the hill. She has that same smiley look but she is really all done in. The puppy raising has exhausted her.

Some of you are readers of the website chat pages called

Recently there was a story of Scoobie, a great dane that was sent to live in the states. We all noticed this dog and believe it is part great dane. It is possible it could be Scoobies son.
The dump dogs that are healthy do have people that care for them and many are actually thriving despite the conditions, this is why they are being returned after being treated and neutred at the CZM Humane Society. Many of these dogs are quite happy, unbelievably where they are at. This is the best that can be done. What the CZM Humane Society is trying to do is stop horrible deaths that many puppies endure at the dump. Most puppies born there die slow suffering deaths. This is what is wanted, to stop breeding and help them maintain a stable fairly healthy pack of dogs.

The momma dog seems to really trust this man. I hope she will be able to be adopted. I am going to keep up with the progress of these dogs and update these pages as I know anything.

As soon as we parked our cars dogs started crawling under them for shade. They all seem to be the color of the dust that is everywhere here.


Most of these dogs are intact and able to reproduce.

One of the other HS volunteers that was there that day.

This man lives at the dump and this is his special dog. I think the man's nickname is Don Juan. The HS took the dog to be spayed and was going to try to adopt it. But both the man and the dog were miserable without each other so the dog was returned. Neither has a great life, but they have each other and that is something anyway.

Here are four of the pups rescued. They were in varying states of health. Quite a few of them had mange. By the time they got them back to the Humane Society they were in pretty dire straights and the smallest had to be put to sleep as it was beyond hope. All the puppies taken from the dump are treated for their illnesses, vaccinated, spayed and neutered and put up for adoption.

And the other 3. The blond one in the middle has wrenched at my heart!

As of Monday, August 24, all but one of the puppies has survived and they are doing well. There are lots of health problems, but Andrea said they are hopeful.

A close-up of one of the pups with mange. It is still alive as of this day.

Update 8/31/09
6 of the puppies are still alive and doing well. Although the skin issue with some of them is giving them trouble. I saw them but my camera battery was dead, so no photos. But they look plump and happy and are with their mom.

While we were there a very mangy puppy staggered up to drink water. The HS volunteers quickly said to get him. I tried, but when I put my hands on him the screamed and tried to bite me. This man was able to get him and put him in a carrier. He was skin and bones with very little hair. Never having experienced human touch, when they got him back to the HS he would scream when anyone touched him. Here he is trying to bite the treats the man is holding to keep the pup from biting his hand.

Sadly, he was too far gone to save and was humanely euthanized. My guess is that he would have died in the next day or so, so at least he didn't have to suffer any longer.

This was the worst thing I have seen in a very long time. When I got home I immediately took a HOT SOAPY shower, then got into my bathing suit and went into the chlorinated pool and I still didn't feel clean

Update 9/10/09

Much to my amazement 3 of the puppies rescued from the dump are still surviving. 2 of them have blue eyes. The one in the back of the crate is one that caught my attention right from the beginning, a real cutie. They are still battling skin issues, but when those are resolved they look to me to be quite adoptable. The mother has been returned to the dump. Her photo is below

Photo by Andrea Sekula. Andrea provided me with photos of the happy reunion of the mamma dog with one of the men from the dump. I guess everyone wants a place to call home and people to love and for dogs that is no exception. She looks genuinely happy to be back. I guess maybe I will have to revise my opinion on the quality of life there.

And the beat goes on... Here is another puppy rescued this week from the dump. It really looks to be in pretty good shape and should be very adoptable. I stopped by the CZM Humane Society this afternoon and found this pup to energetic and friendly.

And just too cute.

This situation really must stop. I really don't know what to do personally other than to give money to the CZM Humane Society and hope that they can educate enough people that this dumping stops. What the CZM Humane Society would like to do is to have a monthly health day at the dump to provide treatment and monitor the population. The hope is to keep a stable healthy pack there. Signs need to be put up at the entrance to the dump that it is illegal to dump animals. There is an organization that has worked with the local HS in a campaign to spay and neuter street dogs and we are hoping they will help with the dump dogs. I am told they are very expensive to treat because of so many problems that they have. Here is a link to IFAW (click here) which stands for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The Cozumel Humane Society is also looking for a Cozumelanian to take the time to visit the schools and start an education program to try to change the attitudes about animals on Cozumel.