How You Can Help Puerto Rican Animals In Need

Stray Puppies on the Beach

There are a few non-profit organizations dedicated to ending the suffering of stray animals in Puerto Rico. These stray dogs (called satos by the locals) and cats (Gatos) 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 animal on their plane ride home.

Anyone who had visited Puerto Rico has most certainly witnessed first-hand the horrible stray animal 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.

Stray Puppies on the Beach

Luckily, these rescue groups provide medical services for these animals, 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.

    Stray Puppy on the Beach

  • 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 . Pare Este and a few other organizations/vets also help with low cost spay/neuter.

  • Be a travel escort for dogs or cats going off the island. If you are a traveler flying back to the States (usually east coast) from Puerto Rico, you may be able to help by being an animal escort (depending on where you are heading). Now with flights limiting animals in cargo, many of the rescue groups need “escorts”. You meet the rescue rep at the airport, they pay for the animal and hand it over, you carry it on the plane, it goes under your seat, you carry it off the plane and hand it to the rescue rep at the destination airport. Easy-peasy!. It is no cost to you and it gets another stray closer to its forever home and it saves a lot of money for the rescue organizations. There is now a Facebook group to help! Check into The PR Travelers Flight Angel Facebook group or Contact the organizations below for more information.
  • Adopt a stray instead of buying from a breeder. Contact Paradise Rescue or or any of the the rescue groups on the list below (or that you find elsewhere) for adoptable dogs/cats. Island dog has a great web page that has information about what you need to do to get your new family member home with you.

  • 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 5 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.

Rescue sites

You can read more about each rescue group and what you can do or how to donate or adopt etc on their websites:

Stray Puppies on the Beach

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Coqui's Hideaway Rainforest Villa in Rio Grande Located in the Foothills of El Yunque