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Freedom ride

Erin Ryder was driving near Long Beach on the 405N when she spotted a pick-up truck transporting a dog tied up in the back with its mouth taped shut. She was horrified by what she saw and immediately jumped into action. Following the truck off the nearest exit, honking and waving at him to pull over. The man, Joaquin Cruz, obliged and pulled his truck to the side of the road. He informed Erin, in very broken English, that he was returning from taking his dog, Ringo, to the vet and only tapped the dog’s mouth shut so that he wouldn’t chew out of the ropes.  Joaquin also revealed that Ringo was suffering from cancer in his foot.

Erin was able to convince him to remove the tape from Ringo’s muzzle, but he would not turn the dog over to her. She offered money as well, but he said no. Erin did call the police, but unfortunately, it’s illegal to transport dogs tied up in the back of trucks here in California. They did however say they would check on the dog.

Erin posted the whole event on social media, which was shared by many of her celebrity friends, Kristen Doute of Vanderpump Rules being one of the most vocal. WUFAW was alerted to situation immediately through a mutual friend and we stepped in to offer advice and any help we could give.

Our first call was to Judie Mancuso of Social Compassion in Legislation because she’s well connected in the area. She gave us the number to the head of Animal Control in Long Beach, Staycee Dains, who we left a message for while we worked on a plan to save Ringo.

Thankfully Erin had taken a photo of a vet invoice that Joaquin showed her, with his address and phone number on it. In our past experience, sometimes it’s best to go right to the source and offer assistance, versus waiting for Animal Control or the police to do their job. So, we personally called the owner, Joaquin, and spoke (in Spanish) to him about releasing Ringo over to WUFAW.

When speaking to him in his native language it became very apparent that he was a nice man and didn’t think he had done anything to harm the dog. He told us that Ringo had a sister named Barbie and that they were outside “guard dogs” who lived at his place of business.  Clearly this was a case of cultural differences and a lack of education about animal welfare. He agreed to give up Ringo but wanted to keep Barbie.

Early Wednesday morning, Erin headed to Long Beach to pick up Ringo, but when she arrived, Animal Control (LBAC) was already there seizing both Ringo and Barbie from the property. That was not the outcome we were hoping for because often times dogs taken in as “evidence” can end up stuck in the shelter for weeks.

Live Love Animal Rescue (LLAR), a local group with a strong relationship with LBAC, was able to secure the release of both dogs into their care the following day.

Once in their possession, LLAR took them to the vet and sadly, the prognosis on Ringo’s cancer was bad. He was riddled with tumors throughout his body and was basically now on hospice care. Barbie was much healthier, only having a bad limp from arthritis. They are in foster care now and had their first night sleeping in a nice cushy bed with a heater. They are both receiving tons of love and will remain together until Ringo passes. We pray Barbie will have several more good years.

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TNR Kickoff

We are excited to announce that our Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) program is off to a great start with Dumpster Doggies (DD) in Turkey.  

In the past DD was mostly focusing on spaying female dogs which tends to be less effective at slowing down the over-population of strays. So when we decided to partner with them we asked to change the focus to doing TNR. Neutering males is a much less invasive surgery and has significantly shorter recovery times. Allowing for DD to sterilize more dogs at a time.

We set a goal of doing 40 dogs a month at a cost of $25 per dog – DD was able to negotiate a lower price with the vet. (They were currently paying $35.)

Because there are dogs with acute Leishmania stage at the DD sanctuary and they didn’t want to keep healthy dogs there after surgery, they found a barn nearby, cleaned and painted it, and put straw on the floor, to be used as a 48-hour postop recovery unit.

Our program officially kicked off on August 11th 2020 and over four weeks, DD was able to catch 45 dogs (37 males/ 8 females), sterilize them, and return them back to the village they were found in.

With the first mission being a success, we gave the go ahead to continue and hope to increase the number of dogs as we get more funding.

If you would like to donate towards our TNR program, please do so here.



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Kampong Chhnang Mission

We sponsored another successful wellness mission with our partners at PPAWS in Cambodia.  From September 21st-25th the team traveled to Kampong Chhnang to treat and educate the local residents. As with most missions now, the head vet Dr. Kea hosted a training presentation for the veterinary officers with the hope that access to veterinary care is improved with more knowledge and skills. 

The team worked in villages and pagodas to sterilize 27 animals, treated 15 dogs for Tick Fever, de-wormed 426 animals and vaccinated 350 for Rabies. 2 dogs needed tumor removal and 3 dogs were treated for Mange.

The dollar goes a long way in SE Asia. These missions cost as little as $1000 for the entire 5 days including travel expenses!

Bit by bit we are making a difference in so many animals lives.



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Kampong Cham Mission

Another wellness retreat in the books! Our partners at PPAWS traveled to Kampong Cham Province from August 24- 28th

Unfortunately, many of the local vets didn’t want to get involved and the residents weren’t willing to have their animals spay/neutered, so the team was only able to do 13 sterilizations.  But thankfully the community was open to their pets treated by our vets, with an impressive 248 Rabies vaccines given and deworming treatments administered.  2 dogs had surgery for Pyometra, and 1 dog had a prolapsed vagina needing attention and care.

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Cambodian Dog and Cat Wellness Mission

Earlier this month, we sponsored a 5 day wellness mission to Ratanakiri by our partner group PPAWS in Phnom Penh. 3 vets and 2 volunteers traveled to the North Eastern region to treat the dogs and cats in the impoverished community.

They were able to sterilize 28 dogs and cats; vaccinate, deworm and give flea medication to 256 others. Along with several other surgeries, including one for a gunshot wound. The team was also invited to give a presentation to the Department of Agriculture about the dog and cat meat trade.

These trips cost roughly $1100, so a little goes a long way. Making a huge difference in the lives of animals and the residents who love them.

The city of Siem Reap BANNED eating dogs just last month, which was a big win in the fight against the trade. Times are slowly changing and we look forward to the day that it’s the law for the entire country.

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