Utila Animal Rescue and Pet Care is a small non-profit animal care and rescue organization on the island of Utila in Honduras. The organization does not employ a vet, it is run by a group of volunteers who provide regular puppy vaccinations and similar services. Vaccines and other pet supplies are provided by generous donations from pet lovers in Utila and abroad. Veterinary assistance is provided by occasional visits from veterinarians from La Ceiba and abroad.
Until February 2016, the organization had the support of a highly qualified U.S. trained veterinarian, Dr. Loretta Potts, and her husband Rodger Mehrer. They founded the Utila Animal Rescue and Pet Care in 2007, when they decided to retire and move to Utila permanently. They not only provided weekly veterinary care, but in large part funded its operations in order to offer assistance to Utilians who could not afford the costly care for their animals. The spay/neuter clinic, regular vaccinations and high quality veterinary care greatly reduced the amount of stray and unwanted animals scavenging the streets of the island and prevented outbreaks of dangerous and contagious animal diseases. The islanders learned to appreciate the difference regular vaccinations and spay and neuter did for their pets’ quality of life, and to the life of the island.
With the departure of Dr. Loretta and Mr. Rodger in February 2016, the volunteers who worked with them for many years continued to keep the weekly clinic open in order to provide puppy vaccinations, de-worming and other non-veterinary care, as well as support visiting veterinarians from neighboring La Ceiba and from abroad.
The organization’s goal is to continue the legacy of Dr. Loretta and Mr. Rodger and the culture of regular vaccinations and spaying and neutering the islanders are now accustomed to. Without it, the island can become a victim of dangerous and contagious animal diseases, and can be quickly over-run with unwanted pets running the streets and bothering tourists. Until Dr. Loretta started regular spays and neuters, the animal control on the island consisted of massive poisoning of all street animals. Utila Animal Rescue and Pet Care enjoys generous support from BICA (Bay Islands Conservation Association), who are providing a room for the equipment and materials free of charge. The room has equipment and materials Dr. Loretta generously left behind in order to help the organization with providing facilities to the visiting veterinarians.