Day 28: Shelters Outside U.S. Inspire Green Ingenuity — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Continuing the theme of Day 25 and Day 26 of the Green Cat Challenge, today I’m looking even further afield for green inspiration.  And I found it with The Animal House Jamaica and Paraíso Felino located in Mexico.

sas4The Animal House Jamaica

The Animal House Jamaica is the only animal shelter located on the north coast of Jamaica and one of only two shelters in the entire country.  The Animal House provides assistance to the island’s many abused, abandoned and injured animals.  They provide food, shelter, medical care and adoptive services to approximately 500 animals each year.  And, they even help owners in need who might otherwise have to abandon their pets.

In spite of the overwhelming need for their services and a limited budget, the Animal House has found creative ways to be eco-friendly since being founded in the 1990s.  Some of their green activities include:

  • Reusing old towels donated by local hotels instead of paper towels.
  • To supplement the dogs’ diets, they planted a two-acre organic vegetable garden.
  • They store of all of their records electronically (backed-up of course) and thus avoid the need for  paper copies.
  • While it might not be as convenient for clean-up, the Animal House chooses not to use any plastic garbage bags.
  • They are also investigating wind-power and solar systems to replace electricity.  While it’s beyond their budget right now, they’re determined to make it happen in the future.

The Animal House Jamaica runs a very efficient operation with 98% of all donations going directly to the animals.  Donations are used to for food, medical care and supplies, carriers, kennels, and facility maintenance.  Unfortunately they don’t get a break from local veterinarians and have to pay from $100 to $150 USD to neuter or spay each animal.  The Animal House Jamaica has been formally registered as a charity for five years in Jamaica and they recently obtained 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.

Paraíso Felino

A little closer to home is Paraíso Felino, a cat sanctuary located in the small town of San Juan De Abajo, about 25 miles northeast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  They house an average of 100 cats at any given time, most of whom have been victims of terrible circumstances including abuse and starvation.   Their goal is to provide a temporary place to stay for homeless felines.  Paraíso Felino actively works to find adoptive homes for their cats and is able to place between 20 to 30 cats each year with responsible families.

Because they strongly believe that spaying and neutering is the answer to unwanted homeless animals, they also sponsor Spay Day campaigns in the area and work with other non-profits to provide this service free of charge to the locals.  Their educational efforts have helped to shift local attitudes as more and more people are opting to sterilize and vaccinate their pets.

eco-friendly animal shelterParaíso Felino has come up with a creative way to be green.  They raise money by handcrafting items for sale using recycled materials.  They transform old magazines, cereal boxes, cardboard and fabric scraps into greeting cards, potpourri boxes and little handy pouches.  Check out these beautiful handmade pot pourri satchels and pouches.  You’d never guess that they were made from discarded items.

For this cat sanctuary, every dollar makes a difference. It costs $20 USD to spay or neuter a cat, $25 USD a year for vaccinations and $8 USD a week to feed each cat. This might not seem like that much in American dollars, however it’s a much greater expense when you consider that their local economy is based on the peso and that most of their supplies are imported form the U.S.  Not only are donations used to feed and care for the cats, Paraíso Felino is also paying for construction costs to build a new shelter.

While they are a registered non-profit in Mexico, they do not have 501(c)(3) status.  However, if you’d like to make a donation, they have an agreement with P.E.A.C.E., Inc. in the U.S. to process donations on their behalf, which makes them tax-deductible.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TODAY

  1. Please consider making a small donation to one of these very deserving organizations.  The economy is in bad shape, but there’s a worldwide recession going on.  To quote President Obama from his eloquent inaugural speech, “And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders”.
  2. If you are part of an animal welfare organization, open a discussion within your group about how you can implement greener practices.  Also, check out Day 26 where I featured an organization that saves the money by saving the environment.  As well, if you’re interested in a fun and easy way to raise money that also supports the environment, please check out the Charity Partner Program that I’m creating as part of my eco-friendly cat toy book.
  3. Last, but not least, share this post with any other animal welfare groups you know of who are looking for ways to be more eco-friendly.  Click the “Share This” link to email this article to a friend or post it to your favourite social networking site.

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Green Little Cat is the only blog that's all about eco-friendly ideas for cats and cat lovers. This blog is a labor of love, created by Holly Tse, author of Make Your Own Cat Toys.