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End Suffering in the Streets — Puerto Rico's Stray Pets Need Help

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Thousands of stray animals in Puerto Rico endure hunger, disease, and cruelty. Join us in demanding urgent action to rescue and protect these innocent lives.

The streets of Puerto Rico are overrun with stray animals. Dogs and cats roam urban areas, rural towns, and even abandoned naval bases. These animals face unimaginable hardships every day. The situation has steadily worsened since Hurricane Maria in 2017. Thousands of pets were abandoned when 300,000 people fled the island1. The Humane Society of Puerto Rico estimates there are now over 500,000 stray dogs and more than 1 million stray cats2.

The Plight of Puerto Rico's Stray Animals

These abandoned animals suffer from hunger, disease, and exposure to harsh conditions. Many face cruelty and neglect. Economic challenges mean many pet owners can no longer afford to care for their animals, leading to more pets being left on the streets2.

Animal shelters and rescue groups are overwhelmed. Most shelters operate at capacity and must turn away animals2. The Spayathon initiative has provided free spaying, neutering, and vaccinations, performing over 50,000 surgeries3. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted many operations, leaving organizations like the Sato Project and Save a Gato struggling4.

Local communities play a crucial role in addressing this crisis. Residents like Ana Victoria Pardo feed stray dogs daily, relying on donations to support their efforts2. Despite the dedication of these individuals, the problem persists.

Legislation and Enforcement

Governor Ricardo Rosselló signed an executive order in 2017 allowing the Humane Society of the United States to take control of animal welfare on the island2. However, enforcement of animal welfare laws remains inconsistent. The Animal Protection and Welfare Act of 2008 banned cruelty to animals and abandonment, but enforcement is often lax5.

Shelters like Amigos de los Animales and the Humane Society of Puerto Rico provide sanctuary for abandoned animals, offer training for animal control officers, and educate the public on responsible pet ownership2. Adrienne Galler Lastra, director of Amigos de los Animales, transformed her home into a shelter, housing dozens of dogs6.

The challenges facing animal welfare in Puerto Rico are significant. Economic difficulties, natural disasters, and the recent pandemic have all contributed to the crisis. However, there are reasons for hope. Initiatives like the Spayathon, community involvement, and the dedication of local shelters are making a difference4.

Long-term solutions will require education and prevention.

Take Action For Animals

The stray animal crisis in Puerto Rico is complex and multifaceted. It requires coordinated effort from the government, animal welfare organizations, and the community. With continued dedication and support, there is hope that the plight of Puerto Rico's stray animals will improve.

You can make a difference. Sign our petition urging the Department of Animal Control to work with local shelters and rescue groups. Together, we can address the stray animal crisis and ensure a better future for all.

More on this issue:

  1. Grace King, Claudia Perez Brito, WUSF (22 September 2018), "Abandoned Animals Strain System In Puerto Rico."
  2. Caitlin Lee, Penn State Bellisario College of Communications (2019), "Abandoned: Stray animal population booming in post-hurricane Puerto Rico."
  3. Scott Smith, Multi Briefs (13 April 2019), "Helping the animals of Puerto Rico."
  4. Monica Diaz, Latin American Science (6 April 2020), "Stray animals abound in Puerto Rico following crises."
  5. Kirk Semple, The New York Times (9 March 2008), "Scrutiny for Puerto Rico Over Animal Treatment."
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The Petition:

To the Department of Animal Control, San Juan, Puerto Rico,

We, the undersigned, write to urge the Department of Animal Control to work in collaboration with local shelters and animal rescue groups to address the pressing issue of stray animals and animal cruelty on the streets of Puerto Rico.

The stray animal population on our island has reached a critical level, with over 500,000 stray dogs and more than 1 million stray cats, as reported by various organizations. This situation was severely worsened by Hurricane Maria, which left thousands of pets abandoned when their owners fled the island. Economic hardships further exacerbate the issue, leading to more animals being abandoned daily.

These animals endure immense suffering, facing hunger, disease, and harsh environmental conditions. Many are left to fend for themselves on the streets, where they are often subjected to cruelty and inhumane treatment. Shelters and rescue groups are overwhelmed, operating beyond capacity and with limited resources.

We urge the Department of Animal Control to take the following actions:

  1. Collaborate with Local Shelters and Rescue Groups: Form partnerships to create a coordinated approach in rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming stray animals.
  2. Implement and Enforce Animal Welfare Laws: Strengthen the enforcement of the Animal Protection and Welfare Act to ensure that cases of animal cruelty and abandonment are addressed promptly and effectively.
  3. Support Spaying and Neutering Programs: Increase support for initiatives like the Spayathon, which provide free spaying, neutering, and vaccinations to control the stray population.
  4. Public Education Campaigns: Launch widespread educational campaigns to raise awareness about responsible pet ownership and the importance of spaying and neutering pets.

By taking these actions, we can significantly reduce the suffering of stray animals and ensure a more humane and compassionate environment for all creatures. These measures will not only improve the lives of countless animals but also enhance public health and safety and promote a positive image of Puerto Rico as a community that values and respects all living beings.

We believe that with the Department's leadership and collaboration with local organizations, we can make a profound impact on the stray animal crisis and create a better future for both animals and residents of Puerto Rico.

Thank you for considering this urgent request. We look forward to your positive response and immediate action.


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