Since 2001, Isla Animals Rescue has worked tirelessly to rescue and sterilize street dogs and cats on the island of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, offering vital free and reduced cost services to a community that desperately needs them.
“Isla Animals is the REAL thing,” said founder Alison Sawyer. “Nobody’s being paid for administration; no one’s going to lunch or staying in five-star hotels. All the money goes to the animals. No one is making any kind of profit.”
But in April, the brave efforts of Isla Animals Rescue were upended by the government of Isla Mujeres, which reclaimed the space inhabited by Isla Animals, leaving the rescue organization homeless like the abandoned animals they work so diligently to protect.
In spite of the unthinkable setback, Sawyer and the organization’s director, Trina Noakes, remained steadfast in their commitment to taking animals off the streets.
“Twenty-two years and tens of thousands of dogs and cats saved — passion, sweat and tears — all of that will not be thrown away at the whim of an ungrateful government that doesn’t appreciate how we have taken care of their problem,” said Sawyer, who still buys her clothes at the Salvation Army so she can put everything she has into helping the animals.
After taking a step back to rethink and regroup, the organization decided that moving to the mainland, Cancun, will offer them the best chance of building an optimal shelter — that they will own independently — and that will have an impact where it is needed most. The new shelter will meet international standards for water, sewage, electricity — and they’re going to try to get solar power as well.
“The need on the mainland is much greater than on Isla, with extreme cases of abandonment and abuse and a much higher number of street animals,” said Noakes. “Not only will IA have something that no one can take away from the animals, but we will also have outdoor space, a place for on-site surgeries, isolation areas and a lot more!”
But the move comes at an immense cost that Isla Animals can’t tackle alone.
“Since we didn’t plan to go through all of this, we are struggling financially,” Noakes added.
“Building is expensive, and we know we can use your money better building on the mainland.”
Isla Animals is in critical need of the public’s help. They have launched a Go Fund Me campaign (https://gofund.me/7fe42686) to raise money for the new shelter. More information can be found (and donations can also be made) at https://www.islaanimals.org/.
Watch a short video explaining the full impact of Isla Animals here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOv5Qx0ag1Q.
Photos available upon request.