At this year’s HSUS Animal Care Expo in Nashville, Tenn.—the largest gathering of animal care professionals in the country—there were not only animal advocates from just about every state in the country, but also advocates from 32 nations. It’s become a global training ground for those who want to learn best practices in our field. Often operating on a shoestring budget, advocates came from Armenia, Bangladesh, China, Ecuador, India, Japan, Lebanon, and other nations throughout the world. Two of the people I was so pleased to see and spend time with were Daniella Granda and Fernando Moreno from Peru.
Now 18, Fernando has been keeping in touch with me since he was 14, dutifully keeping me up to date on his work for animals. Fernando and Daniella are the leaders of Grupo Caridad: Asociación Protectora de Animales, a humane organization based in Lima, Peru.
With support from our global affiliate Humane Society International, Grupo Caridad has launched a spay/neuter program that’s sterilized and vaccinated more than 1,000 animals. They’ve also expanded their public awareness campaigns to promote pet adoptions, sterilization and companion animal welfare throughout the city, organized protests outside pet stores supplied by puppy mills, and assisted in animal disaster relief work. You can see a profile of Fernando in the September/October 2009 All Animals article “Slum Dogs by the Millions” and on our Humane Teen website (Fernando is also a member of The HSUS’s Youth Advisory Board—a team of fervent young animal advocates).
Because of their impact, at this year’s Animal Care Expo, Fernando, Daniella, and Grupo Caridad were presented with HSI’s Animal Advocate award. Never before have the leaders of the organization receiving this award been as young as Fernando and Daniella. Their story is an inspiration for others around the world to emulate, and they couldn’t be more deserving of the recognition.
Fernando and Daniella just shared some great photos taken at a free spay/neuter clinic the group hosted last weekend and I wanted to share a few with you. These are images from the small town of Máncora, near the Ecuador border, where in two days the townspeople brought 54 dogs and cats to the clinic to be sterilized.