Many visitors to Yucatán are dismayed by the numbers of stray dogs and cats on the streets. As there is no official government-operated Humane Society or SPCA, several private organizations have stepped in to help these animals in need. (In case you are wondering, the Ayuntamiento of Mérida does take action if you call in to report a stray dog… but they may take up to a week to pick up the animal. After 3 days, if the animal is not reclaimed or adopted, it is euthanized.)

Here is information about five organizations which help stray cats and dogs: 

This organization is located in Pacabtun, near the Periferico on the east side of Merida: Calle 46 No. 400 x 21 Fraccionamiento Pacabtun. They handle adoptions, surgeries, and advice. They do neutering on weekends at low cost: 250 to 500 pesos (appointment required) and they help if someone cannot pay the whole cost. They have puppies for adoption. Email: [email protected]  Tel: 294 4292, cel: 999 748 7079 (24 hours for emergencies). They are looking for volunteers! Website coming soon.


In Mérida, one of the most effective animal rescue and shelter operations is AFAD, Albergue Franciscano del Animal Desprotegido AC. This non-profit organization was created in 1994. Sustained only through donations and volunteer work, AFAD works to improve the situation of animals by rescuing animals in danger, investigating allegations of abuse, offering an adoption service for rescued cats and dogs, and creating education programs and services about animal treatment, sterilization, etc.

Once an animal is rescued, either from the street or from owners who abuse or no longer want their pets, they are taken to the shelter facility which is located on the highway to Cholul at km. 4.5 across the street from Modelo University. They are open Saturdays and Sundays
 11 am to 2 pm. If you need assistance, call them at 920 5019 or 9999.47.63.19. Visit their website at   Email:  [email protected]

There are many ways you can help these animals, from going to the shelter to take them for a walk to finding them a family. You can make financial donations or donations of food, medicines, and other needed items (see the website for details). AFAD promotes animal sterilization as a way to help reduce the overpopulation of unwanted animals.  


Evolución, founded in July 2006 by Silvia Cortes, is a sanctuary for abandoned, abused and neglected dogs located just south of Mérida, Yucatan on the road to Uman. At this moment, we are home to more than 190 dogs who are in need of loving homes. We have many, many wonderful dogs (and sometimes kittens) available for adoption, so before you buy, consider adopting. We are operating at full capacity right now and cannot accept any more animals for adoption at this time.

Evolución is a small, not-for-profit organization consisting of founder Silvia Cortes and a handful of volunteers. We receive no government assistance, and the sanctuary exists only through the kindness of individuals who care for the welfare of these animals.


 Sanctuary Evolución is a volunteer-run organization working to protect animals from abuse and neglect. While Evolución exists as a dog sanctuary, the organization focuses on educating the public about responsible pet ownership, provides no charge spay/neuter clinics to low income families, and conducts anti-violence and environmental awareness campaigns.

Sanctuary Evolución houses more than 190+ abused or abandoned dogs waiting for their forever homes. While at the sanctuary these dogs have a safe haven, including basic medical and preventative care, and food to ensure they don’t go to sleep hungry.  Although adoption rates are improving, for every dog that finds a loving home, there are two or more left outside the shelter gates or rescued from the streets.

With the proceeds from fundraisers, we have been able to make much needed improvements to the facility, spay and neuter most of the dogs and ensure that every dog receives basic medical care. However, food is our biggest expense and even with a discount from our supplier, the sanctuary needs 5,800 pesos for food each and every week.  If you care about animals, we are asking you to lend your support and become a monthly food donor. 

YOU CAN HELP… 150 pesos feeds a shelter dog for a month / 300 pesos feeds 2 dogs / 900 pesos feeds 6 dogs.  Go to and donate online,  or, if you live in Merida and would like to make a cash donation, please email [email protected].

Evolucion is a non-profit organization, registered with Hacienda – RFC #EKU110127FRA.

While Evolución exists as a shelter and sanctuary for unwanted animals, our focus is primarily on education. We promote spay/neuter clinics and community outreach programs, as well as anti-violence and environmental awareness campaigns.

Education. Education is the key. We cannot be successful if our only job was to take homeless animals off the street. There are far too many. We must have a proactive education program aimed at both kids and adults to increase awareness of the responsibility of pet ownership and the prevention of animal cruelty. We offer various programs, including scouting programs at the sanctuary where children can learn and interact with the animals, as well as adult-focused programs where we visit different communities to promote anti-violence and the importance of respecting all forms of life. We are fortunate to have a very talented artist and cartoonist on our staff who publishes a weekly cartoon feature in a popular local magazine (La I), aimed at children and designed to help kids learn to respect our 4-legged friends.

Spay/Neuter Programs. In order to reduce the overpopulation of these homeless animals, we must have in place aggressive and on-going spay/neuter programs. We were very pleased to have partnered with Planned Pethood and other area organizations, to be part of the very successful spay/neuter program this past January, 2010. But even this is not enough. We must continue to promote and provide for regular, on-going spay/neuter clinics both in the city as well as in the smaller communities who need this service more than anyone. Only through regular, low-cost (or free) and community-friendly spay/neuter programs can we really address the overpopulation problem and reduce the suffering of so many animals.

Law Enforcement/Governmental Regulations. There are animal protection laws that exist here in Mérida although they are not always enforced. At Evolución, we help individuals file a “denuncia” whenever it is believed that animal cruelty has occurred. Additionally, Silvia Cortes works tirelessly with governmental entities to help strengthen the existing laws and to create new laws and regulations for the prevention of animal cruelty. Evolucion now has an attorney on board who is here to help people file denuncias against animal cruelty.  So, if anyone would like to report a situation of animal cruelty, but they don’t know how or they feel intimidated by the system, they can contact us.

Lic. Laura Victoria Díaz González
Voluntaria, Area de Denuncias
cel (9992) 42-61-17
iusa (9992) 92-57-33
Mon.-Fri. 4:00 pm-8:00 p.m

Violence Prevention.
Violence in one area gains greater acceptance when violence in another area is deemed permissible or acceptable. One form of violence may be the stepping stone for another. The goal in this area is to educate the public to a zero tolerance philosophy of violence in all its forms. The child who abuses his pet today may grow up to abuse his spouse and/or children. The public that witnesses and encourages bullfighting, dog fighting and other forms of animal violence may become desensitized when that violence escalates to human violence.

Environmental Protection and Conservation. The goals in this area include an increased awareness of human impact with respect to our environment; to promote sustainability practices and environmental responsibility; and to promote the protection and conservation of our environment and natural resources. This includes the protection of our ocean, aquifer, soils and air through education, reduced contamination and energy consumption campaigns, promoting “no-littering” campaigns and best practices for trash disposal and encouraging energy conservation measures.

Interview with director Silvia Cortes: /en/topics/face-face-silvia-cortes
Contact info for Evolución:
Silvia Cortes – Cel. 9991-93-06-28 (Spanish or English). Jill Benson – Cel. 9991-43-47-11 (English).

Click here to see their pet adoption of the week.

Here’s a video tour of Evolución:

Here is a list of the most important donations needed by these 3 animal shelters:

·         Small, medium, and large pet carriers –NEEDED URGENTLY!!
·         Old collars and leashes
·         Old dog or cat bowls (preferably stainless steel but will take any kind)
·         Medicines – mostly need doxiciclina, available at any pharmacy
·         Fabric  like old towels, sheets, and bedding, old jeans, t-shirts
·         Old buckets, large
·         Dog food  – Pedigree or Sportsman’s Choice (available at Sam’s Club: yellow bag, not blue)
·         Cat food (Whiskas or Costco’s Maintenance)
·         Shampoo (cheap kind is OK)
·         Bleach and Baking soda (available by the kilo at Farmacia Comercia)
·         Amitrax (to get rid of ticks), available at Planned Pethood


In Progreso, the organization Protección de Perros y Gatos de Progreso has completed the construction of their clinic near Rancho San Pedro in Chicxulub. With support from the City of Progreso, and donations from the public, heir policy is to carry out sterilization campaigns for stray animals ONLY, or for those people who are on the very lowest socio-economic rung. This policy means that the street dogs require rounding up, cleaning up (and often fattening up) at least a week before surgery, transport to and from the clinic and another week of post-surgical care before being returned to their communities or, for the lucky few, being adopted. Donations will always be needed for the surgeries and other ongoing costs. They estimate the average cost of materials to sterilize an animal at 400 pesos (anesthesia and antibiotics are expensive), thus, your US$32 donation will neuter one dog or cat and prevent hundreds more from ever being born into lives of misery and suffering. The organization’s president, Veterinarian Beatriz Carvajal, generously performs sterilizations and provides other medical services to many strays. Many of the volunteers not only round up strays, but also care for them before and after surgery, and help to place the rescued animals in new homes. Their dream is coming true of a low cost community animal clinic to serve Progreso and the surrounding beach communities. If you want to help, you can mail your US or Mexican check, payable to Protección de Perros y Gatos A.C., to Apartado Postal 30, Progreso, 97320, Yucatán, Mexico. Email:  [email protected]


As Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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