While many dogs (and their human families) are having a hellish time trying to evacuate from Hurricane Maria-devastated Puerto Rico — with some pups unable to flee with their humans due to size and other restrictions — there is a ray of light. Charitable organizations like the John and Wendy Neu Family Foundation and The Sato Project are working to give street dogs and orphaned pups who were surrendered by their owners a second chance at a happy life.
On Sunday, 53 stray dogs were crated and transported via plane to New York City, where they were taken to Animal Haven, a no-kill shelter in Manhattan.
The John and Wendy Neu Family Foundation chartered a cargo plane to Puerto Rico and stocked it with humanitarian and animal aid supplies, such as generators, gas stoves, water filters, diapers, feminine hygiene products, dog food and horse food. The supplies were donated by the John and Wendy Neu Family Foundation and by Companion Animal Placement, an animal welfare nonprofit led by Wendy Neu.
Once the plane delivered the much-needed goods, Good Samaritans helped fill it with more than 50 stray dogs for its return trip Stateside. The dogs, rescued by volunteers from The Sato Project — a Puerto Rico-based nonprofit that has saved more than 1,600 dogs since 2011 — were brought to Animal Haven and will be available for adoption on Tuesday, Oct. 24, though the shelter is accepting applications in advance now.
The fee to adopt is $400, covering the cost of rescue and veterinary services (tests, vaccinations, spay/neutering, microchipping). According to the organization, each rescued canine costs The Sato Project about $1,000.
Anyone interested in adopting the dogs or donating to their care can visit Animal Haven’s website for more information; those who want to support The Sato Project in its efforts to rescue dogs from Puerto Rico can click here.
Most of the dogs are on the younger side, and were found in the island’s eastern region of Yabucoa, according to The Sato Project’s Facebook page. The non-profit has evacuated more than 100 dogs from Puerto Rico since Sept. 30, and has also helped families keep their dogs, by flying in supplies and other necessities.
“Pets bring their owners joy and help them relax, especially during the stressful aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Maria. This effort will provide comfort to those who are reunited with their beloved pets, and help stray dogs from the island find some respite here in New York City after all they have gone through,” said San Juan native and Speaker of the New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Meanwhile, another plane chartered by the John and Wendy Neu Family Foundation, also packed with supplies, flew down to Puerto Rico and returned with seven dogs last Thursday. These pups were reunited with their owners, who evacuated the island during Maria but were unable to bring their pets with them.
Animal Haven has recently taken in dogs displaced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as cats from Turks and Caicos. All the organizations expressed their hopes to continue working together and rescuing more needy dogs from Puerto Rico in the weeks and months ahead.