As a result, stray dogs living on the streets and beaches of Mexico have no special names. In Puerto Rico, they're called "satos," and in the Bahamas, they're called "pot cakes." The number of street dogs may exceed the number of people in some cities.
The stray dog problem in Mexico
On the streets and on the beaches of Mexico, there are thousands of stray dogs. The number of dogs living in Mexico is not known for sure, but authorities in Mexico City estimate that they kill about 20,000 dogs a month in their city alone. Approximately 16,000 animals live on the streets of Manzanillo, a city in Colima. The dogs have few friends and many enemies due to a lack of food and shelter, the scorching heat, and the very limited access to water. Due to a lack of basic care, they succumb to diseases and serious problems such as their claws growing into their feet and their coats matting, which pulls on their skin and creates a breeding ground for insects. Many of them suffer from mange and are infested with fleas and ticks. Apathy and ignorance are their biggest challenges, not starvation, dehydration, sickness, or exposure.
Threats posed by individuals
The Internet is filled with numerous stories about street dogs in Mexico being tortured by kids, killed as sport, and tossed overboard when they sneak onto a fisherman's boat to seek scraps. Most anti-cruelty laws are ambiguous, and authorities rarely prosecute those who violate them. Additionally, the practice of spaying and neutering still has a low acceptance rate. As reported by Smithsonian Magazine and explored in a documentary about Mexican street dogs titled "Companions to None," many do not believe in neutering because they believe that doing so compromises a dog's canine masculinity.
Control of the population
Despite the fact that millions of animals are put to death in the United States every year due to overpopulation, the situation in Mexico is far more serious. The manner in which stray dogs are euthanized is not a humane "nighty night" drug. Mexican veterinarians are prohibited from prescribing phenobarbital, one of the most common drugs used in the U.S. to euthanize animals. The practice is instead electrocutions. Although it is an inhumane and painful death, it is cheap and readily available.
Mutts from Mexico
Hope is possible. A number of rescue programs and spay/neuter clinics are available. Mexican Mutts has rescued approximately 529 dogs since 2001, a figure that is not very impressive when compared with the average American shelter. Over 1,000 dogs have been sterilized, but it's a drop in the bucket in light of the huge problem. There is PATA, which works to assist these animals in Mexico City, and then there is Alison Sawyer Current, who reports that she gets "buckets" of puppies every day on her doorstep. Providing resources to local shelters is the Humane Society of the United States International's role.
Mexico City Dogs
L.A. Times: Documentary Shows the Plight of Mexico's Street Dogs
Companions to None: Synopsis
Save a Mexican Mutt
Ladies Home Journal: To the Rescue: Saving Abandoned Mutts in Mexico
Smithsonian Magazine: Mans Best Friend or the World's Number One Pest
Discovery: Harrowing Dog Tales Shed Light On Mexico's Strays
Humane Society: Take Action
Diary of an Abandoned Dog
Humane Society International: Street Dogs In Mexico
Tierra de Animales