San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

McKee Project Taking Action in Paso Canoas

The McKee Project, which teaches veterinarians low-cost, humane methods to curb reproduction of street animals, hopes to spay or neuter 200 dogs and cats at the Costa Rica-Panama border town of Paso Canoas in January.

The six-year-old organization normally doesn’t do the surgical work itself, but rather trains Central American veterinarians in a method promoted by the organization Spay USA, said McKee Project founder Christine Crawford (TT, Oct. 15, 2004; Aug. 4, 2000; March 10, 2000). So far, the group has trained 135 Costa Rican vets in how to use a “spay hook” to make tiny, accurate incisions that are quicker and less traumatic than the traditional cuts.

On a recent trip from Costa Rica to train 13 veterinarians in David, a coastal city in northwestern Panama, McKee workers saw that the border area was out of control with stray dogs. They decided to return to Paso Canoas for a special series of operations.

The location is unique, Crawford said, because the border itself lacks a local community that could chip in for the surgical campaign. The McKee Project plans to bring in three veterinarians that would train two others, putting some 200 animals under the blade, and subsequently assisting in their recovery.

The McKee Project is against animal shelters – on the organization’s Web site, Crawford called underfunded shelters “concentration and death camps.” Sterilizing animals is cheaper, Crawford said, and addresses the problem more directly, even if the animal goes back on the street.


Costa Rican street

dogs, it’s no longer uncommon to be spayed or neutered, Crawford said, pointing to the success of the McKee Project approach.

The Paso Canoas activity, set for a yet-to be- defined date in January, will cost about $2,000, Crawford said. The McKee Project is soliciting donations via its Web site,


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