CANDi... saving the lives of stray cats and dogs through spay, neuter and adoption programs supported by the tourism industry, travelers and pet lovers.

CANDi International continues its quick growth
Saturday, 06 October 2012 15:10

Fast-rising animal welfare organization works with the tourism industry and Hollywood celebrities to find effective, humane solutions to a growing problem.

In the past few months, CANDi International has made plans for two new clinics in Cancun, Mexico for 2012 and 2013, partnered with some of the world’s largest travel industry leaders and received the support of several U.S. and Canadian companies and celebrities all to help with a cause that many people see, but few do anything about.

“And we’re just getting started,” said CANDi International President and Founder Darci Galati.

Founded in 2006, CANDi (Cats and Dogs International) is a nonprofit company that works with travel industry organizations and local governments at tourism destinations to help provide humane and effective sterilization programs where there are often no resources to help control animal overpopulation. The early focus has been on Mexico, which has millions of stray cats and dogs living and suffering on the street. Statistics show that one cat left unsterilized will produce 2,072,514 unwanted kittens (factoring in cats reproduced by its offspring) over the course of eight years. One dog will produce 67,000 unwanted puppies in six years.

“It’s a major issue and one that people don’t talk about, but they see it when they go on vacation,” Galati said. “Some of the world’s best resort destinations, especially those in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, are faced with animal overpopulation problems on their streets. Unfortunately, many of these local governments don’t have the resources to deal with the problem and it continues to grow…or they resort to other inhumane solutions.”

Galati founded the company after witnessing the problem firsthand. After selling her travel business, she took her daughters on vacation and saw stray dogs and cats all over. She made a promise to her kids and herself that she would help find a solution. Taking advantage of her contacts in the travel industry, CANDi International was formed.

CANDi has successfully run seven temporary sterilization clinics in Cancun, where they estimate they have sterilized over 5,000 cats and dogs. These clinics run for close to a week at a time with the help from other animal welfare groups, veterinarians and local and international volunteers.

CANDi wll set up its next clinic along with partner Isla Animals from Nov. 5-9 in the Bonfil community of Cancun. Their goal is to sterilize 2,000 cats and dogs over a five-day period, its most ambitious number yet. CANDi will follow up with a clinic in January in Cancun as well. Plus, Galati and her business partner Diana Webster, CANDi’s vice president of project development, are exploring clinics for Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

“We’ve already made a huge impact with our clinics,” Webster said. “But we’re ready for more. We want to expand and we’re getting the support to do it.”

CANDi has already partnered with major international players like Transat A.T. Inc. and the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA).

Plus, CANDi’s cause has caught the eye of both U.S. and Canadian celebrities. Actor/comedian George Lopez recently donated a major portion of the funds needed for the upcoming November clinic. Also, Jennifer Lee Pryor, the wife of late comedian Richard Pryor, is working with CANDi to launch the Richard Pryor International Animal Spay and Neuter Legacy Fund, whose goal will be to raise funding to empower local communities to humanely manage stray animal populations through sterilization clinics.

“The support has truly been tremendous,” Webster said. “But we’ve still only made a small dent in a big problem. There is a lot more work to do and we’re doing what we can to spread the word and raise even more support for this cause.”

CANDi is currently putting together a fund-raising campaign centered around a short film being produced with the pro bono help of a top Hollywood television director and film crew to raise awareness about the company itself. While the clinics are CANDi’s main focus, they are not the organization’s only program. More information on CANDi, its clinics and other programs and volunteer and contribution opportunities can be found on the company’s website at www.candiinternational.org.

 

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