Monday, December 8, 2014
Overview of Puerto Rico's Dog Situation
On my first trip to Puerto Rico I saw a dog in the street and said to my friend, Gloria, “Quick let’s go pick up that dog and take it to Animal Control.”
Gloria laughed, which I thought strange from a fellow dog lover.
“This isn't like Illinois,” is all she said and so the subject was forgotten. She showed off her island home. We fell in love. Soon we were living in our new island home, watching a Border Collie chase cars at the bottom of our driveway.
Whereas the states have coyote, raccoon, and fox, the island has free ranging dogs and cats, most obviously the dogs.
Picture twice a year the chaos of gang banging bitches on the street corner and elsewhere; followed by dazed starving pups wandering in the road – not nature’s finest moment.
Unlike truly feral creatures like fox, raccoon, and coyote, dogs just want to hang on the porch, bark alarm and be fed. Most belonged to someone as a puppy.
Since 2005 I’ve seen many dogs including Chi-Ping be dumped by their people. This sadly is the single largest source of dogs wandering our streets. Strange observation is that I've never seen a neutered animal dumped by an owner.
Discarded pets with little chance of survival wandering the beaches and roads in search of a meal, water, and a safe place to sleep, compete with seasoned street dogs. Life in paradise is harsh, but nature being prolific their numbers increase to the point that for health and safety; something must be done.
Historically, and not just here, some guy mixes up a poison cocktail, ameliorating the dog population problem for the moment. This practice outlawed by law 154 seems to have decreased.
I would love to know the number of dogs collected and euthanized each year. If anyone reading this knows, please, tell.
The way this was explained to me is that each pueblo has a dog collection fund. At I believe the amount is $50 per dog, the dog collection outfit contracted with the municipality collects and euthanizes dogs until it hits the limit at which time work ceases, until the next funding cycle. This I believe is the government’s answer for Animal Control in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico has a large population of animal lovers and advocates. Adrienne Galler Lastra, the president of Amigos de Los Animales de Puerto Rico, mentored me through my earliest days learning about the dog problems here.
I am in awe of the rescuers, so many loving people, who take in an unbelievable number of stray dogs. They spend their lives caring for hundreds of dogs in their homes and making them available for adoption; it becomes their life.
The Satos, Puerto Rican Island Dogs have guardian angels, who make regular rounds feeding feral dogs.
No overview of the dog situation in Puerto Rico would be complete without acknowledging Animal Cruelty Investigators like Alma Febus or Iris Quinoines, President of OICA, the Organization of Animal Cruelty Investigators.
Spay/Neuter Clinics sponsored by various organizations like Amigos de Los Animales and PAWS are popping up all over the island.
I’m encouraged to see the love and level of involvement coming from the people. This island has a big heart.
Yesterday on my drive to San Juan the roads were littered with moms and puppies searching for food.