Women Who Inspire (Part 1) : Laura Raikes

Women Who Inspire Series : Part 1 Laura Raikes of Coco’s Animal Welfare in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

We meet so many wonderful, hardworking woman in our work and we want to share their stories with you and hopefully inspire others to follow their passion in the animal welfare field, because the more people fighting for all animals the better!

Your mission/goal with your organization:

Coco´s Animal Welfare mission is to be able to prevent the birth of unwanted dogs and cats as well as to raise awareness of adequate guardianship of dogs and cats.

Coco’s is dedicated to reducing and controlling cat and dog populations in Playa del Carmen (PdC) and the Riviera Maya (RM), Mexico, through our permanent clinic facility and mobile spay and neuter clinics throughout the region. Low cost or free sterilization is provided for pets, street dogs and cats, and animals rescued by local rescue groups.

We work with families and communities, providing on-site spay and neuter, or transporting animals to and from our clinic, for those without the means to do so. Control of feral cats and community dogs is achieved through TNVR (trap, spay/neuter, vaccinate and return) programs in local neighborhoods and includes implementing the Cat Café program in hotels and resorts, providing TNVR for their feral cats and community dogs, with annual follow up to ensure the health of their stable, non-reproducing populations.

Although our kitten space is limited, whenever possible we shelter, treat, tame and sterilize kittens less than three months. Our objective is to find adoptive homes for all Coco’s kittens in our care. When kittens are rescued by other people, we offer free vaccines, de-parasite, kitten milk, sterilization, and general medical care, helping the rescuers who take responsibility for adoption of kittens in their care.

We are committed to education to ensure responsible pet ownership and challenge negative attitudes and behaviors towards feral cats and street dogs. Our long term mission is to greatly reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats in our mission area, and to continue to expand our model.

When did you start?

I founded Coco’s Animal Welfare nearly 11 years ago.


What motivated you to start your organization?

The desperate need I saw and love for animals motivated me to start an organization that would focus on the solution and make the biggest difference possible.


Biggest accomplishment/proudest moment:

My proudest moment was opening the first permanent low cost/free spay and neuter clinic in Quintanna Roo, Mexico.


Biggest hurdle/challenge with what you do:

The biggest challenge we have had is to encourage people to focus on and donate towards education and spay and neuter, which although is the solution doesn’t pull on the heart strings of people, making it difficult to fundraise for our programs.


Advise you would give yourself when you started, knowing what you know now:

Trust your instincts and persevere

Any other info you want to share:

Since we began nearly 11 years ago we have spayed and neutered over 34,000 dogs and cats.


Facebook organization name to link to your organization:
Coco’s Animal Welfare

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