Huellitas de Acero
Huellitas de Acero

Puerto’s Dog Shelters

By: Arlene Prunkl Photos: Julie Stupac

IT’S NO SECRET THAT PUERTO HAS A DOG PROBLEM: A large number of strays, some sick or injured, on the streets and beaches. But there are now three dog shelters coming to the rescue with the help of volunteers, including tourists who want to make a difference. There are also free monthly sterilization campaigns.

Perros en Puerto A.C. (PEP) was founded by Annette Bodier in 2008 and now has nearly 100 dogs available for adoption. Annette relies on the support of local and foreign volunteers and donations to maintain the property, cover costs of food and medication, and assist community dogs whose owners lack resources. @perrosenpuerto or visit their website:

Huellitas de Acero
Huellitas de Acero

Huellitas de Acero A.C. Puerto Escondido. In 2014, Maria de Lourdes Pérez Escobedo began rescuing abandoned and abused dogs. Since then, the shelter has expanded to over 120 dogs. Volunteer manager Cheryl Sortwell ensures the dogs receive food, care, medical attention, vaccinations, sterilization and socialization. A small team of volunteers works at social media, fundraising, awareness-building and finding foster homes and adopters. In the last year Huellitas has successfully placed more than 140 dogs in forever homes in Puerto, Canada and the US, often finding volunteer flight escorts with the help of the Furry Fliers program.

Furry Fliers, @huellitasdogshelter
Huellitas de Acero
WhatsApp 954-207-1858.

Huellitas de Acero
Huellitas de Acero

ARCA Dog Shelter was founded in 2013 by Alejandra López Agustín and Miriam Ramírez. In 2019, they teamed with Jen Hanson’s converted bus project, the Waggin’ Wagon, busing over 300 shelter dogs to forever homes to Canada and the US. With over 80 dogs, the shelter’s basic expenses are similar to the other shelters’: $50,000 pesos a month, all coming from donations. Besides rescuing dogs, ARCA held two massive sterilization campaigns in 2023 and recently organized a two-day campaign with Snipsisters.

For more about volunteering, donating, fostering and adoption, visit the ARCA Dog Shelter Facebook page, @arcadogshelter, or email

Snipsisters runs monthly dog and cat sterilization campaigns in Puerto Escondido and surrounding communities. This nonprofit was founded by Heidi Wagner in 2010 to provide free sterilizations in and around Huatulco. In 2019, under Susan Allison’s initiative, campaigns began in Puerto Escondido, and in November 2020 monthly campaigns began. To date, Snipsisters Puerto Escondido has completed 7,187 surgeries, one-third of them for street animals. Surgeries are free, but donations are welcome. The campaigns are run entirely by volunteers.

If you’d like to volunteer or donate, WhatsApp Karen Gerbasi at +1-403-493-4120.

Colotepec Dog Pound

From our archive of Spring 2023

Photos: Ernesto J. Torres

All dogs in Puerto must be kept on a leash on the beach and on the street, and you must carry a small plastic bag to pick up your dog’s poop. That’s the law.

If your dog gets lost in the San Pedro Mixtepec side of town, good luck. But if it’s picked up by the police or fire department on the Colotepec side, because it’s not on a leash, it is taken to the municipal dog shelter in El Vitonchino. The dogs are kept in the refuge for 30 days and neutered. They are available for adoption after 30 days. You pay a fine to get your dog released that covers the cost of upkeep.

Contact council woman, (regidora de ecología) Melissa Güendalain Sánchez, 951 168 1789 for more information.

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