World Vets Drive Progress for Animal & Wildlife Welfare

World Vets is an international veterinary aid organization with programs in 39 countries on 6 continents. Developed using research by the WHO and WSPA, the Latin America Veterinary Training Center is a year round training program based in Granada, Nicaragua that focuses on providing surgery and anesthesia training to veterinarians and upper level veterinary students from Central and South America. The program was recently chosen by the Leadership Council as the CLASSY Award Winner for Animal and Wildlife Welfare.

To determine the winners, the Leadership Council applied their own expertise to judging criteria developed by the CLASSY Awards in partnership with the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, a recognized authority on analyzing social impact within and across causes to assess programs that are poised to drive social progress. The criteria looks at (1) Scale and Scope of the Problem or Issue Addressed, (2) Strength of Strategy Employed, (3) Impact To-Date, and (4) Organizational Effectiveness and Resource Management.

Veterinary Field Service Programs
Program Name

Granada, Nicaragua

Start date

Cathy King DVM MS Phd
Program Director


“The most impressive attribute of World Vets was really the strength of their strategy to empower the local communities to address the proliferation of street dogs by educating them on how to manage and ultimately minimize the problem,” said Sara Boyd, President & CEO of the Omaha Community Foundation, and Leadership Council member on the Animal & Wildlife Welfare board. “Beyond training local individuals, World Vets was conscious to not just set up a program, but rather a system that allows local leadership the ability to train successors which spoke to the sustainability, ability to scale, and ownership of their solution locally.”

In Granada, an estimated 90,000 street dogs suffer from malnutrition, starvation and disease as a result of overpopulation. These dogs pose a major public health threat to humans through the transmission of parasites and diseases like rabies. 79.9% of the population of Nicaragua lives on less than $2/day. Because of this, veterinary care for animals is cost prohibitive to most of the population, which results in thousands of stray and starving dogs roaming the streets.

“Especially in countries and communities where systems to address issues like dog overpopulation are absent, these issues tend to grow exponentially. By dealing with the source of the problem, the proliferation of street dogs, World Vets is not only moving the needle in the right direction on street dog overpopulation, but ultimately addressing and preventing more wide spread public health issues that stem from street dog overpopulation,” said Boyd.

Understanding the problem factors within Granada, the program has established a proven system for “Field Condition” spay and neuter surgeries that can be adapted when conditions are less ideal. Before World Vets, a typical Nicaragua veterinary practice was nothing more than a vet pharmacy and feed store with no hands-on animal care. Now, veterinarians are able to offer surgeries and consults.

World Vets stands out as a worthy CLASSY recipient because the organization respects the local communities in which it operates, it trains and empowers local leadership to manage the problems and thereby not only addresses the current issue at hand, but does so in a sustainable, scalable, and culturally relevant way. These attributes are not often found in such a strong, well-aligned combination within the nonprofit sector.

Since inception, over 7,000 animals have received free care through the program while hundreds of Latin American veterinary professionals have been taught proper techniques for safe spay and neuter surgeries along with proper anesthesia and pain management. In 2013, the program trained 298 veterinarians and students and performed 1,980 surgeries at the Latin America Veterinary Training Center. The program is inspiring a new generation of veterinarians to make a difference in their own communities.

“World Vets is honored to be selected as the Top Animal and Wildlife Welfare organization at the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards. The recognition is a validation of the hard work and dedication of our volunteers and loyal supporters who have shared our vision of making the world a better place for animals,” said Cathy King, the Program Director. “It was also very inspiring to be a part of the Collaborative and to share ideas with a visionary group of people who are really making a difference.”

About World Vets

World Vets is an international veterinary aid organization with programs in 39 countries on 6 continents. The organization’s mission is to provide veterinary aid in developing countries and disaster relief worldwide, utilizing their network of over 4000 volunteers and nearly 1000 veterinarians. Programs range from community wide spay and neuter programs, equine welfare programs, Improving livestock health especially among small and medium size farms and training veterinarians in developing countries.

A major focus of World Vets work is building local capacity to improve veterinary infrastructure and capabilities in developing countries. World Vets also provides disaster relief services on large scale disasters where animals are impacted, providing such services as field rescue, direct veterinary care, zoonotic disease control, donation and distribution of relief supplies and assisting local governments and agencies with assessments and response.

About the CLASSYs

Since it’s inception five years ago, the CLASSYs have recognized the efforts of thousands of exceptional organizations and individuals, providing public insight into our world’s greatest achievements. With the insight and participation of experts and institutions, the CLASSY Awards has established a new way of measuring social impact across causes at a global scale. This methodology provides insight into the program strategies, outputs, outcomes and growth of these bold solutions relative to the problem being addressed.

The yearlong initiative to discover the most innovative and effective models identifies and evaluates organizations in eight major cause categories, including Active Duty & Veteran Services, Animal & Wildlife Welfare, Educational Advancement, Environmental Protection, Health Services, Human Rights & Social Justice, Poverty & Hunger Relief, Disaster Relief & Public Safety.

CLASSY Awards Nominees are selected through an intensive evaluation process created and developed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Center for High Impact Philanthropy. For the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards, organizations were evaluated through a five-step process that began with 3600 organizations. After a pre-application form was submitted, applicants completed a 20-minute phone interview. From there, those that passed were asked to complete a Nomination Profile in order to be eligible for a CLASSY Award. The Top 5 Nominees in each of the 25 cause categories were announced, narrowing the pool down from 3600 to 121. The 121 Nominees were then passed onto the Leadership Council, whose respective boards collectively determined the 25 Finalists and ultimately the 8 Winners.

Photo: World Vets, on stage with Wayne Pacelle of The Humane Society of the United States, accepts the Award for Animal & Wildlife Welfare at the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards in San Diego, CA.

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