Pet Patrol!

Guess what they do?
BY: HAIRY PAWTER

Leo Bravo is a young Mexican who believes pets should have pet rights right up there with humans who have human rights. Same thing to him. He’s a bit of a zealot in advocating for the rights of domestic animals, and he and his band of volunteers patrol the barrios for animals who are enduring abuse. He doesn’t have far to look.

“Driving down a random street, we can always find about five cases of animals within ten blocks who are being abused,” he tells us.

Abuse in Leo’s world includes being chained up with no human interaction, not grooming a dog, not getting it vaccinated, and, of course, not feeding it adequately. Oh, and letting the animal go on dates willy nilly with no protection for the lady dog.

While most of their efforts go into the care of dogs, they also extend their patrol to cats, birds, bunnies, and whatever animal whose rights people choose to disrespect.

There are laws against this, but they go on for many pages, they are not enforced, and most people don’t even know the laws are on the books. Even Leo admits to having difficulty understanding and interpreting the laws correctly, and he says there are no pet police nor judges who are up to speed on the laws. Pet police? Sure, says Leo, pointing out that even tourists have their own tourist police. You get the idea that Leo ranks animals a little higher than tourists.

Pet Patrol uses persuasion, he says, preferring to call it education, and he and his 15 volunteers spend a lot of time talking to abusers. He says they usually are persuaded to give up the animal or at least let the patrol take it, clean it up, and return it.

Cleaning up includes shaving it if it has long hair. “Long hair dogs have a lot of trouble with ticks and fleas, but you can’t see them if they have long fur,” he says. So they shave them down, bathe them, give them appropriate medicine, vaccinate them, and oh yes, get them sterilized. Some are then taken back, but many are not wanted back or the Patrol believes they will not be treated any better.

So they are taken to their shelter. But this is not just any shelter; remember, this is for pets who have rights equal to people. You wouldn’t put a people in a cage would you?

Pet Patrol’s version of a shelter is kind of like a chicken’s idea of free range. The organization rents a five bedroom house out on the road to Todos Santos, just outside of Cabo, where currently 36 dogs pretty much just hang out. There’s room for 50 before Leo is willing to call it unmanageable. They are free to roam around the house, hopefully going out to one of three large patios in lieu of using either of the two bathrooms or the living room.

This living arrangement is just a rest stop before they find homes, sometimes as far away as Canada. All the health care is donated, and we’re told that’s not a problem, as every veterinarian they’ve asked has pitched in their services.

Leo says this free range is not just respect for their rights, but also important in socializing the dogs. “You can’t expect to let a dog out of a cage and into a new home and believe it will know how to behave,” he explains.

Leo contacted us because they could use some help. Dog food doesn’t grow on trees, you know, and their one van needs gas. Leo took the bus down to our office, leaving the van for volunteers to go out on Pet Patrol. Both Leo and his wife hold down several part time jobs as they can around their Pet Patrol schedule. One of Leo’s jobs is working as a social director at a local hotel. He can give a volleyball class in an hour, scoop up his tips, and get back to Pet Patrolling.

Pet Patrol gathers what money then can from donations, raffles, and events, but up to now their outreach has been limited to Mexicans, and as Leo explains, that is limiting.

If you believe as Pet Patrol does, that animal rights are as important to civilization as human rights, you can get involved by calling him on his cell: 624 126 4300. They have a Facebook page at Patrulla Mascotera, Spanish for Pet Patrol. These young people truly are dedicated.