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Field Trip: Homeless in Paradise: Helping Mexico's Strays

The tropics aren’t all sun and fun for animals, but local groups are lending a hand

For thousands of spring breakers and vacationers, Cancun and its neighboring towns along the eastern coast of Mexico mean sun, surf, and sipping tequila. But many visitors who arrive to play and relax get a surprise: The areas along the coast of the Yucatan peninsula are startling not only for their beauty, but for the poverty that’s all-too-apparent in areas beyond the luxurious resorts and white beaches.

As with most places coping with economic disadvantages, the animal population suffers alongside the human one. And some of the people who’ve arrived planning to do little more than lie on a beach feel compelled to try to help.

You can count Alison and Jeff Current among them. When the couple moved to Isla Mujeres—a small island northeast of Cancun—their children were grown, and the Currents planned to enjoy life and build a new home. They didn’t expect they’d come to share that home with a rotating cast of 20 or 30 of the island’s stray puppies.

“Stray animals aren’t good for the tourist industry,” Alison Current says. “When things get bad enough, the government’s answer is mass roundups. Often times it’s the nicer, trusting dogs, maybe pets, that get picked up. The strays run and hide in the woods.” Sadly, these dogs typically face poisoning or other inhumane forms of killing.

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