How You Can Help Puerto Rican Dogs In Need
There are a few non-profit organizations dedicated to ending the suffering of stray dogs in Puerto Rico. These strays (called satos by the locals) are in need of medical attention, food, water, and, more importantly, a loving home. Sometimes, that new home will be in the States, in which case tourists can help by escorting a dog on their plane ride home.
Anyone who had visited Puerto Rico has most certainly witnessed first-hand the horrible stray dog problem that we have. Though some low-cost sterilization for pets is available, many pet owners here do not see the need for the procedure. As a result, we have an over-abundance of pets roaming the streets searching for food, shelter, and a loving touch from a human.
Luckily, these rescue groups provide medical services for these dogs, including sterilizations and vaccinations. Some have even broadened their programs to provide low-cost vaccination and sterilization services for all pets in Puerto Rico. They are also beginning a public awareness program, which includes radio and television spots, to increase awareness of the cruelty imposed on these animals. They are preparing programs to take to the schools to educate children about animal cruelty and the ethical treatment of animals.
How You Can Help
- As you can imagine, providing care for these animals does not come cheaply. Though a number of vets offer reduced rates to volunteers who rescue strays, spaying/neutering and vaccinations are not free. Donations of money, time, airline Frequent Flyer miles and/or supplies are always needed.
- Write a letter to Puerto Rico Tourism Company about the horrible stray animal problem in Puerto Rico and insist they do something to help solve the problem. Tourists need to let them know seeing neglected and abused animals does affect their experience.
Spay and neuter your pets, and encourage others to do it also. In my opinion, this is the biggest/best solution to the problem! For PR dog owners, contact Island Dogs to get a certificate for low cost vaccinations and a spay/neuter for your pet.
- Be a travel escort for dogs going off the island. If you are a traveler flying back to the States from Puerto Rico, you can help by being an dog escort. It is no cost to you and it save a lot of money for the rescue organizations. Refer to our article about being an escort for a stray for more information.
- Adopt a stray instead of buying from a breeder. Look into Island Dog for adoptable dogs/puppies. They can provide transport to the States if needed for one of their pups.
- If you have the time and/or space, you can get more personally involved providing a foster home for animals while they are awaiting adoption. Or even just visit the shelters and lend a helping hand with walking, cleaning, and providing love! Please contact them for more information.
We know from experience that adopted strays make wonderful pets. We have 4 dogs and 2 cats – all adopted strays. You will see Coco, one of the satos we adopted here in Puerto Rico, in the photo above. We couldn’t ask for nicer, more loving pets. We only have so much room, otherwise we’d end up with many, many more. We’re suckers for a cold nose and big brown eyes.
You can read more about each rescue group and what you can do or how to donate or adopt etc on their websites:
- Island Dog
- The Sato Project
- Save a Sato
- Amigos de los Animales
- El Faro De Los Animales
- Animal Recue Foundation Rincon
- Animals In Need
- Second Chance Animal Rescue
- Villa Michelle Animal Rescue
- Ciudadanos Pro Albergue de Animales de Aguadilla
These are just a few of the great groups doing work to help these dogs. But they need your help!