Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Drones are Tracking Houston's Stray Dogs

Houston, apparently, has over a million stray dogs, more than any other city in America.

One of the Strays of Houston
When I came across an article about drones being used to track stray dogs, I had no idea of the scope of the Houston's problem and of the efforts being made to solve it..

The drones are playing their part in preparation for a new TV series that will begin airing in May. The show, "Operation Houston, Stray Dog City," will have 12 episodes chronicling the lives of Houston's stray dogs and the efforts being made to save them. The man behind the effort is Tom McPhee, executive director of the World Animal Awareness Society.
Image result for tom mcphee
Tom McPhee
"Operation Houston" is not McPhee's first documentary. In 2007, he produced "An American Opera," a film that documented efforts to rescue pets left stranded by Hurricane Katrina.
An American Opera Poster.jpg
Movie Poster for An American Opera
McPhee founded WA2S (World Animal Awareness Society) with the mission of filming contemporary animal/human interactions. "Operation Houston" is (I think) the second in a projected series on urban strays all over the country that began with Detroit..
Poster for the American Strays Project
The Houston project is a co-operative effort among at least 10 animal rescue operations and as many volunteers as they can muster to find and film stray dogs in Houston.

Among the participants:

Volunteers from Forgotten Dogs of the Fifth Ward have a regular feeding route in their section of Houson and work in tandem with rescue groups to get dogs off the streets.
A Fifth Ward Stray
Southside Street Dogs performs essentially the same services for the dogs in the Sunnyside and South Union Area
Sunnyside Street Dogs
Volunteers at Unity for a Solution are launching an effort to spay or neuter 1000 homeless dogs. They lead a steering committee that plans to do an annual 3-day survey of homeless dogs in the Houston area.

Alex Pacheco's charity, 600 Million Dogs is working to develop Spay Food, a pet food that will sterilize any dog who eats it in just one feeding. Their product is currently in clinical trials.

Who could resist donating to the cause after seeing this drawing?
Over a million homeless dogs in Houston. 70 million in the United States. Over 200 million worldwide, according to the World Health Organization..

If we have 70,000,000, I bet 600 million is closer to the actual number worldwide.

It's a monumental task.

The American Strays Project aims to go far beyond filming the strays of the cities it visits. Its mission is to help solve the problem. It provides information and resources to the Humane Society and others who care for homeless animals. Working with teachers in Detroit, it developed Good Pet Guardian lesson plans for Michigan 4th graders
Image result for good pet guardian lesson plans
They are hoping to start this program country-wide.
More power to them!

For more information on homeless dogs and the efforts being made to save them, see the links below.
Interview with Nathan Winograd, no kill advocacy center
Michigan project
lots of statistics