SANTA ROSA (CBS 5) – A Bay Area couple combined their skills to help thousands of animals and their guardians from Mexico to Sonoma County. Now they’re improving animal welfare on both sides of the border.

Veterinarian Christi Camblor held a small blonde dog, who stretched to lick her chin.

“This is little Ramiro,” she said. “He was rescued off the streets of Juarez, where he was actually starving.”

Camblor’s husband Moncho held another small canine, whose white curly fur was wrapped in a pink dog coat.

“This is Bonita,” he said. “A volunteer in Mexico found it near the side of the road. She was hit by a car.”

The Camblors have not only named these rescued dogs, they’ve given them new lives, rescuing them from the streets of Mexico where they were barely surviving under the harshest conditions.

“You’ll see just a large number of homeless street animals,” Christi Camblor explained. “They are not spayed or neutered so they are actively breeding… so the problem just increases exponentially.”

The Camblors met ten years ago in Mexico while both were volunteering at an animal control crisis center. They now live in Santa Rosa, but have never forgotten the suffering they once witnessed.

“Homeless, starving animals… just the magnitude of the problem was overwhelming,” Christi Camblor remembered.

So together they founded Compassion Without Borders and held their first free clinic in Mexico.

“Our main emphasis is on spay/neuter and training local vets and local advocacy groups to keep their own sustainable spay/neuter programs going,” said Christi Camblor. “Because that’s the only thing that is going to stop this problem.”

Four times a year, the Camblors drive south of the border to hold free pet clinics, education seminars, and humane euthanasia training. Each time, they return bringing rescued dogs, something they say is a controversial part of their program. So far they’ve brought back 2000 dogs.

“I don’t see a difference rescuing an animal – a life is a life – no matter what side of the river it is,” explained Moncho Camblor.

Unfortunately, most of the dogs that end up in animal control centers in Mexico are electrocuted, but that is beginning to change.

“We’ve been able to get electrocution stopped in one entire state in Mexico, Chihuahua, and in some surrounding areas,” Christi Camblor reported. “And we provide the training and supervision and supplies needed so they can do humane euthanizing by injection as practiced in the states.”

This year, the Camblors expanded their mission to Sonoma County, bringing free health services to the local Latino community.

Kiska Icard, Executive Director of the Sonoma Humane Society, says the pair brings a much-needed service.

“We have a lot of Latino residents and what we found is that they’re a very underserved community. It’s been wonderful for Sonoma County.”

So for working to reduce animal suffering both here and in Mexico, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Christi and Moncho Camblor.

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