Concerns about Causes

by Lydia Linton Pontius


Sac-Be identifies itself as a news outlet. We welcome stories, articles, and news from many sources and ask only that people use their real names; you can see the bios on many of our contributing writers. We ask that people submit factual information about a wide variety of issues. We know everyone has different interests in the area and, in this way, we can find stories of interest to a wide variety of readers.

We also promote many local and international causes. In doing this, we felt we were being fair to everyone. Each month we ran stories, promoted events and shared information like Pets of the Month, as our way of supporting the efforts of these great causes, whether they are environmental groups, educational groups or animal welfare groups.

Recently we were in the Yucatán writing and filming first-hand stories and videos. We approached Peanut Pet Shelter, which had recently moved to a ranch in Akumal, so we could do a story. We were there for three weeks and at first were told that they were not ready for visitors, which was understandable. After that our correspondences were not answered so we were unable to visit. Once we returned to the States, we again heard from the folks in charge with information about funds needed, etc.

We were concerned that a shelter didn't have official business hours and that it was so difficult to visit, but we ignored our concerns and focused once again on helping to bring light to all organizations willing to help.

This is where I must admit Sac-Be fell short. It is irresponsible to promote any group that we have not personally seen and researched more closely; however, it is not always possible to do so. That said, we highly recommend that all our readers take a moment before they give so generously to organizations and check, ask for documentation, be sure the group is keeping good records, has a business plan in place, can easily show the names of staff or board members, and is something you feel comfortable donating to. You can't go back after the fact and ask the where, how, and why about your donations; that needs to be answered up front. There are a lot of good-intentioned people who are not business people, and many great ideas and causes do not always translate to successful organizations. In today's tough economy we must all be wise.

Recently there has been a movement by a number of animal welfare people to hold Peanut Pet Shelter accountable and to try and help protect the numerous dogs in its care. This was not received in a positive light by Peanut Pet Shelter and a lot of time and energy has been spent fighting instead of working together. Who suffers in this?—the dogs! It is truly unfortunate that we as human beings have such strong egos and that we get emotional so easily and lose track of our missions.

I am writing this article as a way to give many of the players a chance to share their concise views—and hopefully this will be one place, without the comments flying on message boards and Facebook pages which are hurtful, if not slanderous in nature. Please read this article with an open mind and open heart. Remember, the dogs still deserve the best we can offer. And let's cross our fingers, or bow our heads, whatever works for you, and hope and pray that not one animal is unduly neglected in the process.

We asked Steve Nelson, CEO of NACER to comment on why they supported Peanut Pet Shelter in the beginning yet recently withdrew their support.  This is what he told us:
Secondary to sterilization and humane education, supports rescue and adoption. We also recognize that immense care must be taken to ensure that rescued animals receive competent and compassionate rehabilitation, in order to prevent the transmission of disease to both humans and other animals, to restore the health and vitality of the rescued animal, and to prevent future problems for the adoptive family.

We are adamantly opposed to any form of animal warehousing, or rescue programs which do not have a clear and effective exit strategy for the animals.

When we first encountered Peanut and their fledgling operation, they appeared to be firmly grounded in these principles, and we thus gave them our wholehearted support. Unfortunately, over time, their focus seems to have become diverted, their energies misplaced, and their standards of care drastically deficient. We feel the need for teamwork is critical for the accomplishment of the mission. We feel that Peanut has not only squandered the good will of their sister organizations in the region, but also precious resources given to them to do the job, and has shown little willingness to reform their practices. Thus we completely and unequivocally withdraw all support from them, with regret for the implications for the animals which are our first concern. To read more, visit

We asked Lucy James, owner of the ranch where Peanut Pet Shelter recently moved, to explain why she served Andy and Peanut Pet Shelter with an eviction notice. Her reply to us was:
In July 2010 I signed a lease with Andy McDonald of Peanut Pet Shelter(PPS). I was moving to the USA in several days. After visiting the Playa del Carmen PPS site, I suggested my property to Andy. He told me PPS or he was then paying for both the site and a house for him, and this would save him money. He visited the ranch, liked it and we signed a lease.
In January 2011, after visiting the ranch, I found that several terms of the lease had not been complied with. Among the terms broken was the condition of the animals. The lease stipulates he may maintain the number of animals I deem he can properly care for and in no way were these animals being properly cared for, some lacking water on multiple occasions I visited. He also had allowed another person to live on the property without written consent (Andy was on a three-week vacation when I visited).
I sent a notice of eviction to him on January 10 and to the other PPS board members several days later. To this date I have had no personal response from any of them. To read more, visit

We also asked Coco's Cat Rescue to explain their long-term relationship with Peanut Pet Shelter and they referred us to this link

We approached Andy, who runs Peanut Pet Shelter, and a former board member, to ask them to comment, but at this time they are unwilling to give us a comment. To read more about them, visit

In closing, we want again to remind folks that there are so many great animals waiting for forever homes. We know many of you, ourselves included, have experienced the unconditional love that comes from sharing your life with one of them. At Sac-Be we will continue to highlight the Pet of the Month but, in addition, we want to add Success Stories, such as Maya Alux's, so please feel free to submit your loved ones' stories.
Additional information can be found on the following sites:
Hoarding or Helping?
Facts about Peanut Pet Shelter
Humane Society International – Animal Rights and Cruelty Issues

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