It's an election year for Coahuila and Vanguardia News asked Alms Salinsa, animal activist and president of ADAC, what she would do if she was governor regarding animals. Vanguardia published her reply below.
In the last six years we have observed the number of incidents of animal abuse increase in Saltillo, the capital of the state. Inhabitants of Coahuila, Mexico, as well as those in the most remote municipalities are silent since they consider animals as things of no value, and without rights. Where barbarities are committed against animals that are supposedly protected species such as the black bear, in full sight of the authorities.
Dogs and cats are mutilated, burned, hanged, dismembered, sexually violated, and suffer countless other forms of grotesque murder. Not to mention the reports of animals living in deplorable situations by their owners who keep them severely malnourished, without water, living on roofs, tied up outdoors, and without physical contact. Forgetting that they have a responsibility to a living being.
Coahuila stood out at one time for being a pioneer state by enacting a law to protect animals. The Law for the Protection and Dignified Treatment of Animals for the State of Coahuila was published in the official gazette in 2013. Since then, it has been used as a banner for associations dedicated to animal rescue and by defenders of animal rights. Unfortunately, this law was not duly legislated criminally in order to apply the weight of the law to anyone who threatens the life of an animal. And it did not protect a fellow independent rescuer who saved two puppies and was sued. The prosecution went against her to the point of bringing her handcuffed before a judge.
Hundreds of complaints are filed with the state prosecutor's office for animal abuse and yet they increase the requirements for us to achieve justice for the death of an animal at the hands of a psychopath who in the not-too-distant future will become a danger to society. By punishing and arresting an individual who shows signs of highly dangerous violence, we could prevent a major crime. Seeing an animal suffer to death and enjoying how it cries and screams is not normal!
When will the authorities take the reins of a law that exists and enforce it? Why are they afraid of facing murderers and animal abusers? They cannot even fine offenders since there is no exclusive budget section for this type of collection. Why haven't they? Is it a lack of will?
Why do animal abuse cases continue to rise? Abusers are more and more bloodthirsty, without remorse, in the public light. What are we becoming? The indifference, the lack of action on the part of the population to arrest or denounce judicially is increasingly notorious. Observers only report on social networks or ask third parties to step in and take action. The prosecutor's office must provide this service to any citizen who feels offended by the violent death of an animal.
As long as the population does not see justice implemented by prosecuting cases of animal abuse until reaching a prison sentence, violent cases against animals will continue to increase. This will later lead to murders, rapes, and major crimes against the most vulnerable.
The governor should take what is happening in his state very seriously. We are reported in international news for many cases of abuse towards animals. What message are we sending to the world? That we are a population without values? That we are a primitive society without reason?
Click here to see the Vanguardia post.
ACAD recently signed an agreement of support with IDEA Saltillo. Throughout the month of March, donations of food for dogs and cats will be received at the IDEA facility in Camporrendondo. We invite the entire university community to join this noble cause.
The Open Learning Institute is an educational option different from other school systems. It is an official school of the Autonomous University of Coahuila, which offers Baccalaureate services in an open modality. It allows students to start or continue their baccalaureate with a series of advantages that make it easier for them to complete their studies in the time they determine.
Every animal we rescue deserves a loving, safe, forever home. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously at ADAC. We are grateful to receive messages from individuals interested in adopting one of our cats or dogs, but we must take certain steps to ensure their safety, as best we can.
Every potential adopter must fill out an application and answer questions that help determine their suitability. Many of our enquiries come from outside of Mexico and we are unable to conduct a home visit. Therefore, we ask for photos of the residence as part of our due diligence. For example, if the dog in question is an escape artist, we would need to know if the yard is fenced in and a photo would assure us of this.
This information we obtain from potential adopters is shared only with members of the adoption team involved in the application. Our database is only accessible by select ADAC members, and we never share any personal information with any other organization or business.
If you are not willing to share the information we need to finalize an adoption, we invite you to explore other organizations. These animals are our family and we need to know they will be cared for as such.
We are proud to have connected many beautiful animals into loving homes.
Here are just a few examples.
The following article was written by Stephanie Rombough; a second-generation dog trainer who works with dog owners to address obedience and behavioural issues through positive methods.
The dog training industry needs to change. Methods that use fear, pain, intimidation or force to "train" dogs are outdated and harmful. I would like to explain why I believe punishment-based training is unfair, and why force-free dog training is the future.
First: do you want to hear an upsetting and surprising fact? Dog training is not a regulated industry. Anyone can decide to call themselves a dog trainer. There are many amazing organizations and individuals working to change that, but regulation has not happened yet.
I feel like that's important to know in our age of easy-information-access. That "expert" you're seeing online may have zero training or knowledge about dogs. Simply "working with dogs for years" does not make one an expert. It's very possible to practice the wrong thing over & over, so duration of practice does not necessarily mean actual skill.
Imagine if you needed a doctor. Would you prefer medical advice from someone who has a medical degree and formal knowledge, or would you just want advice from that guy on social media who has strong opinions? Perhaps you should consider the same thing when you're looking for dog training advice!
Years in the industry does NOT necessarily equate to good advice.
Dog training advice is everywhere these days. It seems like with a quick Google search or scroll of social media you can find the answer to anything you want to know about your dog! This is amazing in many ways because it allows everyone to access information that might be helpful. The dark side of it however is that anyone can call themselves a dog trainer and post whatever they want as "advice". I see videos daily of "trainers" suggesting cruel, harmful practices in the name of dog training. It's hard not to feel upset when terrible information spreads virally. The dogs are the ones who suffer.
I became a dog trainer because I love dogs & want to help change the industry. A common theme you'll notice is that force-free dog trainers WANT industry regulations, whereas balanced dog trainers do not. Why? The simple answer is that no one who understands dog behavior and loves dogs would choose balanced training methods. Therefore, regulation would threaten their incomes.
Countless studies show that positive reinforcement dog training is the most effective. Studies have also shown that using aversive methods (such as shock, choke, and prong collars or heavy corrections) causes dogs stress, fear, and pain.
Force-free training works better while also causing less anguish for the dog. In a regulated industry, force-free training would be the accepted method. So why does balanced training even exist?
Where did dog training go wrong?
Have you heard of dominance or alpha theory? It's an incredibly unfortunate theory that was developed in the 1930's and has forever changed how dogs have been treated. The worst part is that it's been debunked. It was never true in the first place! In the 1930s Swiss scientists were studying zoo wolves. They noted that the wolves would fight for dominance. The terms "alpha wolf" and "pack leader" began.
In the 1960s a renowned scientist named Dr. Mech wrote a book agreeing with the concept. His work went mainstream and became wildly accepted as true. His research was extrapolated from wolves to dogs. All of a sudden if your dog was misbehaving they must be trying to be the "alpha" and needed to be shown their place. Ludicrous concepts such as alpha rolling your dog, making sure you eat first to show them you're pack leader, or using a heavy hand to put them in their place became mainstream.
Two gigantic research issues that no one noticed at first:
Wild wolves form families. There is little aggression or fights. In fact, they depend on each other for survival!
Somehow this misguided information about wolves has been used for decades to justify abusive dog training methods. Trainers like Caesar Milan, Monks of New Skete, and the like became so mainstream that the abuse they suggest as "training" has been widely accepted. Putting dogs in situations where they're over threshold so they act poorly (often on camera) then punishing them until they shut down is NOT proper training. Yet many people still believe that this is the only way to train a dog!
In the 2008, Dr. Mech himself stated the previous research was wrong. Yes, THE scientist that wrote the theory in the first place admitted it's incorrectly used.
Yet, cruel dog training methods continue to this day. The inaccurate dominance theory won't die.
I aim to be part of the movement away from "balanced" dog training. I hope by reading this article you'll make the same choice when it comes to training your dog!
The difference between "balanced" and force-free dog training
I fully agree that there are many effective ways to train your dog. However, NO training method should use fear, pain, or intimidation as a technique.
At it's simplest form, dog training uses operant conditioning or "learning by consequence". Consequence might sound negative, but there are both enjoyable and unpleasant consequences.
If a dogs behavior has an enjoyable consequence they will want to repeat it. An example is when you ask your dog to sit, and then give him a treat when he does.
Dog: I put my butt on the ground and I got something delicious! I will put my butt on the ground more often!
If a dogs behavior has an unpleasant consequence it will happen less often. An example would be jerking on your dogs collar when they pull on the leash.
Dog: When I walked in front my neck hurt. I don’t like my neck hurting. I won’t walk in front next time.
Force-free (also referred to as positive-reinforcement based) dog training sets your dog up for success.
It involves teaching the dog to make the right choice by rewarding what we like (such as offering a treat for sitting). Positive reinforcement training uses a reward (treats, praise, toys, anything the dog finds rewarding) to promote desired behaviors. Force-free training doesn't use physical force to make dogs do things. Dogs are put in situations that are fair, and they are taught the proper skills using rewards. This results in engaged, happy canine learners.
Now, what about balanced dog training? “Balance” sounds like a good thing….. right?
However, balanced dog training often uses positive reinforcement along with physical punishment. This can be highly stressful (and even painful or scary) for your dog. Leash jerks, choke & prong collars, or electric shock might suppress a behavior you dislike in that moment, but they do not teach your dog what they SHOULD do instead. Harsh corrections can lead to very stressed, scared and shut down dogs because they're constantly concerned about doing the wrong thing and being punished again.
Imagine how nervous you would feel around someone who physically punished you for "mistakes". Now imagine if you also had never been taught the "correct" way, so you had no way to avoid making those mistakes. It's constant stress.
Punishment-based "balanced" dog training is not humane or fair way to teach new skills.
Force-free, positive reinforcement based training results in dogs that are better trained without causing unnecessary stress, fear, or pain.
Since you can train without inflicting mental or physical harm on your dog, why WOULDN'T you choose that? There continues to be people (and trainers) that do not believe a dog can be properly trained without corrections. Let me explain why this is wrong.
Dogs do not need to get something wrong and be "corrected"
Sometimes we get so used to a concept or technique being “normal” that we never ask if it’s wrong. Let's look at how unnecessary punishment-based balanced dog training is.
Here are examples of two different methods of teaching the same thing. Which would you prefer?
Example 1- Punishment based training:
Let’s say that you and I are going for dinner. You need to learn my favorite food.
You’ve never dined with me before and have no idea what food I even like.
Instead of telling you, I decide we should play a game.
I ask you to guess which item on the menu is my favorite food.
You look down at the massive menu and have no idea. Oh well! You guess spaghetti?
No, I hate spaghetti.
All of a sudden I bring out a electric prod and zap you in the neck for guessing incorrectly.
Next guess? Are you a little hesitant to even speak?
You don’t have a choice but to try again…. I’m expecting you to learn what my favorite food is!
You try to guess better to avoid pain. I didn’t like spaghetti, so maybe I don’t like noodles?
You guess that steak is my favorite….
Wrong! Since you’ve gotten it incorrectly a second time I zap you a little harder. Why haven't you learned my favourite food yet?!?
How many wrong guesses would be required before you are too scared to try again?
Punishment does NOT result in you just "knowing" the right answer. It's a terrible way to learn!
You finally guess burgers right on the 7th try. Your neck hurts and you're scared.
How comfortable would you be around me after that? If I wanted to teach you something in the future, would you want to learn from me?
This is exactly what using a shock collar to train your dog is like. You haven’t taught them the right "response", yet you punish mistakes. Using physical punishment to train is inhumane and unfair.
How else could you teach my favorite food though?!
Example 2- Positive-reinforcement dog training:
The scenario starts the same way.
You and I are going for dinner. You need to learn my favorite food.
You’ve never dined with me before and have no idea what food I even like.
Instead of telling you what my favorite food is I decide we should play a game.
I ask you to guess what item is my favorite on the menu.
When you look at the menu this time, it looks a little different.
The only option on the menu is a burger.
Slightly confused, you guess burger? I reward you for being correct with a bite of cake!
Another menu comes out, and this time it shows either a burger or spaghetti.
You already know burger is the right choice, so you guess that.
Another piece of cake!
We can continue to progress your learning until the menu is exactly the same size as example 1. However, in this scenario you’d know exactly which item to pick because we’ve practiced progressively more difficult scenarios.
Which version would you rather play?
Can you guess which one your dog would like more?
This is exactly why positive-reinforcement, force-free dog training is the future.
By starting in situations where our dogs can make successful choices (and rewarding those choices!) they can learn anything!
There's an odd stigma that force-free dog training is permissive or results in a poorly trained dog. This simply is not true. My expectations for my dogs are high, but I also teach those skills in fair & fun ways. I think the best kind of training is the style that results in both the dog owner and the dog feeling bonded and happy.
There's also a fallacy that certain breeds (such as shepherds, rottweilers, huskys, etc) require a heavy hand to be trained. For whatever reason, some people do not believe that these larger working breeds can be trained with force-free positive reinforcement methods. This is not true at all! Positive reinforcement is used to train species ranging from bunnies, birds, cats, and all the way to killer whales in aquariums! Dogs have been bred for many years to co-exist with humans. Does it make any sense that a large dog would require harsher training methods than a killer whale?
Please consider force-free methods if you're training your dog!
I hope that I have persuaded you to consider using more humane methods to train your dog. If you're searching for help, try to find a force-free dog trainer in your area. There are also many amazing resources available for free online!
We owe it to our dogs to train them nicely and practice caution in where we get our advice.
The more informed dog owners are about their options the more pressure there will be on the industry to drop outdated, harmful methods. This makes me excited to see how the dog training industry changes over the next decade!
Happy training :)
In October, in addition to canceling adoptions of black and white casts, posts are not allowed in their social media groups
An article from El Siglo Coahuila
ISABEL AMPUDIA / EL SIGLO COAHUILA / SALTILLO Tuesday, October 19, 2021, updated 1:35 pm
Alma Salinas Barrón, president of the Alliance for Animal Rights in Coahuila (ADAC), explained that in October, in addition to canceling adoptions of black and white cats, no publications are allowed in their social media groups either by request or to offer them up for adoption.
"In October," Barrón explained, "the 'euphoria' for black and white cats is unleashed since there are people who due to ignorance or despair believe that rituals in Santeria or witchcraft, will return a loved one or that they will win the lottery. Desperate people believe this and that is why they are looking for that type of animal."
“In the months of October we have found dead animals, mainly kittens, with their stomachs opened and stuffed with a thousand things. They are victims of that type of use and in the end nothing happens because these rituals are a lie. People should stop deceiving themselves. They should not believe that they gave a black or white animal as an offering,” Barrón revealed.
Barrón stated that cats should always be indoors and they should not walk outside. They are always in danger regardless of their color, since they can be poisoned, beaten, attacked by dogs, or become infected with any disease. This is especially true in October and if you are owner of a black or white cat, you should not allow them to go out, as they may be a victim of people's ignorance by wanting to use it as an offering for witchcraft.
Barrón maintained that every year, between four and five cases are reported to them where they are alerted not to give a feline for adoption to a person, since it is common that in October they seek to adopt. However, there are more unreported cases.
"Right now we have stopped many adoptions of black kittens because we want to protect them. Sometimes people are offended, and they say that these rituals are ignorant and we will not use them for witchcraft, but people do. And we have to protect them from those dangers," Barrón concluded.
You’ve decided to adopt a cat or dog. Fantastic! You’re already awesome. But when you’re at the shelter or looking online, you may have passed by an amazing, loving animal for reasons you’re not even aware of. Reasons like Black Dog Syndrome, which is an unconscious bias towards black dogs and cats.
Most of us already have an idea of what we’re looking for in terms of size, breed, and temperament. And while we don’t normally consider the colour of animal, it may still influence our choice. Black dog syndrome is a phenomenon which suggests that potential adopters pass over these dogs because of the colour of their coat and their portrayal as aggressive and intimidating. It’s difficult to capture a black dog’s expression in a photograph which can make them appear less approachable than a lighter-coloured dog.
For centuries, black cats have been portrayed as evil bringers of bad luck and a sign of impending death. Black dogs were seen as a spectral or demonic entity, often connected with the devil. So you may walk by that crate at the shelter or scroll past that online photo simply because of a long-held stereotype.
But we can’t blame this unfair generalization totally on ancient folklore. Black dog and cat bias still persists in current, mainstream media. For example, Harry Potter's The Grim was a black dog alleged to bring about the demise of the person who encountered it.
Awareness is the key to prevent black dogs and cats from being adopted last – or not at all. October 1 is National Black Dog Day which encourages the adoption of dogs in darker shades.
Initiatives like this will go far to dispel the myth of the mean, black dog, but these animals are still being abused. ADAC will not adopt out any black cats during the month of October. There’s a risk they will be subject to ritual killings. And sadly, ADAC is not the only rescue with this policy.
As animal lovers, you have an opportunity to balance the scales and give every animal a chance to find a forever home. Animals like Mateo and Samantha who are still waiting to be adopted. You may have to look a little closer, but these beautiful black cats or dogs are reaching out to you, and asking for a chance.
Lenchitas One and Lenchitas Two are twin sisters who have suffered a lot since birth. They were born in a town in Coahuila, Mexico, daughters of a stray dog who gave birth to six puppies. At the age of a month and a half, they were left in a garbage dump. They were spotted by someone and rescued, but were infested with parasites, malnourished, and hypothermic. Sadly, only three survived.
Since their rescue, the twins have been in a municipal shelter where they recovered. They have been spayed, vaccinated, and cared for thanks to a program implemented by a foundation called Second Chance. They are currently eight months old and still waiting to be adopted.
Lenchitas One and Lenchitas Two are a mixed breed of Greek Harehound and will probably not grow much more. They are extremely caring, funny, full of love and very positive.
The only home they have known is a cage, but despite that, they are always happy, playful, and always waiting for the moment to go out to play and have contact with humans and their companions in the shelter.
The Second Chance program normally keeps animals for two months. At that point, if they are not adopted, they are euthanized. They decided to extend that time for Lenchitas One and Lenchitas Two because they never lost their hope of being adopted and knowing what a true home is full of love, patience, care, and dignified treatment. But euthanization is still a possibility for these two beautiful animals if no one is willing to make them a part of their family.
We are looking for a home that wants to adopt both of them together since they are very close, but we are also willing to have them adopted individually. Prior to adoption, interviews and meetings can occur via Skype, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, etc. The adoption application and fee would be finalized prior to transport.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Many of our dogs will receive numerous applications, and we ask for your patience during the process of finding the very best match.
Our dogs are fostered in Texas or Saltillo, Mexico, but available for adoption in the Pacific Northwest.
If you are interested in adopting these lovely animals, please submit your adoption application at: https://form.jotform.com/210878227621861
UPDATE!! We are very happy to report that Lenchitas One and Lenchitas Two have both found their forever homes! Thank you to the families for bringing these deserving dogs into your home.
Today, Alma Salinas Barron presented a request to the Coahuila State Congress to discuss animal abuse and cruelty. As a representative of animal associations and independent rescuers, Alma hopes to work with the State Congress to provide solutions to controlling the stray pet population. "We continue to fight for the dignity and respect of animals."
ADAC will always be there to rescue and rehome as many stray animals as possible, but they advocate for animal rights and share their message of respect in many other ways. ADAC members speak at all levels of schools from kindergarten to university, and give presentations at companies. ADAC has organized conferences and invited lawyers, rescuers, and government officials to discuss animal abuse and the laws that protect them.
ADAC regularly holds adoption fairs and invites independent rescuers and other associations to participate. At these events, you may see an exhibition of police dogs, learn a few tips from a dog trainer or get your pet vaccinated for rabies at no charge. Pet food and supplies are often available for sale and funds raised are distributed among all rescues.
The key to controlling the pet population is to spay or neuter animals. ADAC organizers many local fundraisers in order to offer free and low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Such events include lotteries, auctions, and raffles. On one occasion, we offered 10 yoga classes with cats to raise funds to spay and neuter 100 cats. This was a great benefit for shelters, low-income cat owners, and a step towards reducing the number of stray cats.
In 2019, we made 100 dog houses for homeless dogs to protect them from the elements. Everything we do is for the animals. Our goal is to make positive changes in our community and improve the quality of life for our four legged friends.
Evidence suggests that cruelty to animals may be an early sign of psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder. One of the stranger characteristics of psychopaths is their choice of pets. They are almost never cat people because unlike dogs, cats are willful and not easy to manipulate. When looking at the case of the accused "Cat Killer" of Saltillo, early warning signs of psychopathy are present.
ADAC has filed complaints against an individual accused of killing three kittens he received through adoption. Investigators completed an assessment and moved on to formal hearings. Evidence was brought forth by a friend of the accused documenting the abuse of a kitten.
Despite this evidence and many complaints, after two years of hearings, a judge decided that because this individual had no previous criminal record, he was not charged. This is disappointing for several reasons. Not only has this individual launched threats through social media to continue mistreating animals, he has allegedly begun harassing women. This is a typical progression of psychopathy as individuals make the jump from abusing animals to abusing people.
ADAC continues to appeal to the individual to stop hurting animals and to work within the legal system regarding penalties for those convicted of animal abuse. This, in conjunction with better support for those with mental health issues, would make this community, and our world, a much safer place.