Air Transat, Cvet’s Pets and CFLPA Members Team up with CANDi to Tackle Pet Overpopulation
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Air Transat, Cvet’s Pets and CFLPA Members Team up with CANDi to Tackle Pet Overpopulation

  • December 10, 2012


Eight Football Players and Animal Advocates Set to Follow in the Footsteps of Actor/Comedian George Lopez and Support an Animal Welfare Non-Profit Reducing Animal Suffering and Overpopulation in Mexico

(Monday, December 10, 2012) They may look like guys you wouldn’t want to mess with when they are on the football field, but eight guys representing five teams from the Canadian Football League (CFL) are showing their softer sides as they gear up to help with the ninth Cats and Dogs International (CANDi) sterilization clinic in Bonfil (an economically-challenged area of Cancun, Mexico) running January 11 – 16, 2013.

Spearheaded by Chris Cvetkovic, long-snapper for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and founder of Cvet’s Pets, the players – all who are passionate animal advocates – will be lending their brawn to help control animal overpopulation in a desolate area near Cancun overrun with suffering street animals.

Unbeknownst to most tourists, off the pristine resorts in the Cancun area, nearly one million animals are suffering from starvation, abuse and disease.

All animal owners and lovers, the players will be teaming up with CANDi spokesperson, country-recording artist, Craig Moritz, to help with CANDi’s ninth sterilization clinic – the fourth in the Bonfil area just outside of Cancun.

“I was alerted to the work Chris was doing with Cvet’s Pets in the Winnipeg area, and really admired how much he was doing to help our furry friends,” said Moritz. “I really wanted to bring Chris down to see first-hand how big a problem this is in key tourist destination areas in Mexico and the Caribbean, and see if we could start to garner a bit more awareness of the issue back in Canada. When Chris learned about the work being done by CANDi, he really outdid himself in assembling a team of guys who became passionate about wanting to help out too.”

CANDi’s goal is to create more awareness while controlling the animal population, and their clinics have been helping. At the November 2012 clinic, over 1,500 animals were spayed or neutered thanks to funding by actor/comedian George Lopez, who helped to fund the clinic with Jennifer Lee Pryor and her organization, Pryor’s Planet, in honour of her late husband, actor/comedian, Richard Pryor. With this record number of animals sterilized in less than one week, millions were prevented from being born into lives of suffering in that one area. And it’s making a difference. The pet overpopulation in the Bonfil area is slowly starting to decrease due to these programs. Many people question why CANDi’s focus is on Mexico and the Caribbean when there are many stray dogs and cats needing homes in Canada and the USA.

“Mexico lacks the humane programs that are available in Canada and the United States,” says Darci Galati, president of CANDi. “Ourgoal is to bring about change to issues of overpopulation both internationally and in our own backyard. By offering these spay/neuter clinics, we are providing an affordable and humane solution to the problem in the areas, and giving a second chance to so many adoptable animals who otherwise may face being euthanized.”

Galati adds that many people are simply unaware of how many animals are destroyed every year.

“Education and awareness are key, and those are areas where Craig, Chris and the other players are critical to helping us achieve this.”

So while the efforts for this project started in Winnipeg with Cvet’s Pets and a few supporting teammates, there are now players representing almost every CFL team, with an acknowledgement of support from the Canadian Football League Players’ Association (CFLPA).

In addition to Cvetkovic, the all-star team will include:

  • Ian Logan – Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Andre Durie – Toronto Argonauts
  • Marc-Olivier Brouillette – Montreal Alouettes
  • Keon Raymond – Calgary Stampeders
  • Chris Getzlaf – Saskatchewan Roughriders
  • Buck Pierce – Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Brady Browne – Winnipeg Blue Bombers

“When I learned about CANDi and the work they do with animals, I knew I wanted to be involved, and as I started talking to some friends across the league, I found seven stand-up guys whose hearts are close to the animal community,” said Cvetkovic about his team. “Through Cvet’s Pets, we’ve done a lot to help animals locally, but it’s especially important to get involved helping in an environment where sympathy and compassion for animals is dwindling or nonexistent.”

The team will start the five-day clinic on January 11, 2013 with a goal to spay/neuter at least 1,000 dogs and cats. The clinic is made possible through corporate and personal donations. Long-time CANDi supporter, Air Transat, has provided flights and accommodation for the clinic volunteers. A generous contribution from Bill Simpson of Impact Racing has also been made to the clinic. However, CANDi still needs to raise nearly $10,000 to cover the cost of supplies for the clinic. Donations can be made through Cvet’s Pets or CANDi via their websites.


Print quality photos can be downloaded here:

Photo Credit: Supplied

For interview requests, please contact:

Natalie Harper

Harper PR




Founded in 2006, Cats and Dogs International (CANDi) is a nonprofit organization that works with the travel industry and local governments at tourism destinations to promote the humane treatment of animals, and to provide free sterilization programs where there are often no resources to help control animal overpopulation. While it’s an issue not many think of, it has become a huge problem for the industry, communities and tourists. Statistics on the number of strays that are suffering near these resorts are staggering. It is estimated that at the tourist destination of Cancun alone, there are more than 1 million stray dogs.

CANDi’s programs, to date, have focused in Cancun where they have sterilized more than 6,500 cats and dogs. CANDi’s work has attracted help from organizations like Air Transat, RIU Hotels & Resorts and celebrities like actor/comedian George Lopez, who helped to fund the recent clinic in honor of Richard Pryor, the late comedian’s wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, and her organization Pryor’s Planet. More on CANDi and its programs can be found at


Cvet’s Pets is a 100% volunteer run, not-for-profit organization, which helps local Winnipeg No Kill Animal Rescue Programs.  The program was started by current Winnipeg Blue Bomber Long-snapper Chris Cvetkovic, and has raised thousands of dollars through signature fundraising events like Poker for a Paws and Paintball for a Purpose. Visit to learn more.


Craig Moritz is an Alberta-based country-recording artist and touring musician who has become better known for his animal advocacy efforts than his music. Craig joined CANDi as their volunteer spokesperson on 2010, and has since been involved in five clinics in the Cancun area. He has introduced his music community to the importance of animal compassion, and has personally delivered adopted cats and dogs to many loving homes in the Alberta region. Craig was part of the emergency rescue efforts of Hule – a cocker spaniel who was hit in the head with a machete by its owner. The dog was saved by volunteer vets at a January 2011 CANDi clinic and later adopted by a loving couple in Ontario after weeks of rehabilitation in the Toronto area. Learn about Craig by visiting