The Brownsville Animal Advocacy Center is seeking help with the care of rescue dogs

The sound of a ringing phone is a constant for nonprofit president Tony Lopez and employee Elizabeth Dillinger as they work together in their office at the Brownsville Animal Defense Center (BAD) in Brownsville.

It’s the Monday before Thanksgiving, but Lopez says he doesn’t expect them to get any rest so soon.

“Watch the phone ring, it’s non-stop,” Lopez said, with most calls about found stray dogs or owners wanting to place unexpected puppy sitters with the organization.

Brownsville foster dog Animal Defense relaxes on the couch in a holiday shirt Tuesday, November 22, 2022, at the home of Susana Manzanares in Brownsville. (Denise Cathy / The Brownsville Herald)

Right now, most of these calls must end in rejection.

It’s been a tough couple of months for the nonprofit, which helps place rescue dogs in loving homes in the community.

Our cash donations have been slow in the past two months. “.

He hopes the community will heed their call in this time of need, especially to further some of their charges.

For now, the group has paused intake of the new animals after their dog numbers swelled to 75, with 62 dogs in their care, with an additional four tons of puppies expected.

Since they are not sheltered, Lopez explains, they rely on sitters to help provide the dogs with a safe environment until they can find a forever home. They need at least 30 foster homes — they have 10. Right now, Lopez raises nine dogs at home.

1-year-old rescue Oscar is pictured Monday, November 21, 2022, at Brownsville Animal Defense Center in Brownsville. Oscar is one of several dogs that were bred due to a lack of fosters, but the rising costs have made it difficult to keep it going. (Denise Cathy / The Brownsville Herald)

Brownsville Animal Defense has housed dogs they can’t place with a foster, but this is no longer a financially viable solution. Dogs like Oscar, a 1-year-old terrier mix, come to work for Lopez after he had to pull him from boarding after 45 days when the cost became too high.

This week, he says they have a total boarding bill of $900 for their dogs. In the previous week, there was another $800 and another $500 before that.

“Things like this just kill me,” Lopez said.

Volunteers Zoraida Urbina and Susana Manzanares have been shepherding the organization for 10 years and two years. Urbina fosters two dogs, while Manzanares has six dogs — some of which are senior dogs who may never leave. The shortage of available sitters is stressing both out as there are always new dogs in need – but there are a limited number of people to look after them.

“It became overwhelming, but what keeps us going is that we do it for the dogs,” Urbina said.

For people interested in becoming grazers, Lopez says what’s required is love and patience with their animals, which often comes from difficult situations.

He said, “All we want you to do is open your doors and give them time to feel the love of home.”

Shepherds get everything they need from the dog’s nonprofit, from food to medical care.

In return, Lopez asks that they make sure they can bring the dog to the center’s adoption events when needed and provide supervised care for their fee.

Brownsville Animal Defense, the caregivers of Susana Manzanares and Zoraida Urbina, is pictured with a quartet of foster, elderly, long-term care dogs from the nonprofit organization Tuesday, November 22, 2022, at the Manzanares home in Brownsville. Both sponsors felt the pressure because two of the 10 sponsors are available to help with shelter fees for the nonprofit while taking calls to help new dogs in need of shelter from the community. (Denise Cathy / The Brownsville Herald)

For people who want to help but may not be able to adopt, monetary and item donations are always needed. Lopez estimates that they average about $6,000 a month in expenses that cover medical care, food, lodging, and overhead for their facility.

The group is trying to start a foster program for their dogs for $250 each, which could help with medical costs and care while they try to get by.

Brownsville Animal Defense is also in desperate need of two specific dog food brands for the 15 incoming puppies Lopez expects: Purina Complete Puppy Chow and Pedigree Puppy Growth and Protection.

For the Christmas season, they are also running a pet drive-in through December 18th to provide animal-safe toys for dogs and cats at the Brownsville Animal Care and Management Center and their dogs for the holidays.

Toy donation boxes are located at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers on Morrison Road and Boca Chica Boulevard, The Weekend Vet office, Extraordinary Emergency Center – Brownsville, Learning Tree Kids Academy, and Brownsville Animal Defense Center.

On Friday, the Brownsville Animal Defense Black Friday Event Sale will be on from 4-6 p.m. on November 25 at Cricket Wireless on Boca Chica Boulevard with dogs available for adoption. Adoption fees include recent vaccinations, spay/neuter, and exact shipping at $165 for puppies and $150 for adult dogs.

For more information, visit or call (956) 551-0119.

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