Local effort helps stray dogs in Puerto Rico


The call went out in South Florida to help stray dogs in Puerto Rico, and Weston dog trainer Susan Claire said even she was surprised by how many people wanted to help, as Julie Levin reports in this article for The Sun-Sentinel. Within weeks, she was inundated with donations of pet supplies and gift cards.

“It was an amazing response,” Claire said. “I got phone calls from people all over South Florida.”

Claire organized the collection of new and gently used supplies for Pets Alive Puerto Rico, a 6-acre sanctuary dedicated to the rescue of abused and abandoned dogs. Claire recently traveled to the island to help the staff with their efforts. There she found many of the donated items that were shipped from South Florida in 13 large boxes — metal bowls, leashes, beds, medications, supplies and toys — being put to good use.

“I saw many of the toys that we sent. They especially like the hard rubber ones because they can sterilize them,” Claire said.

Her efforts began last year after a visit to see relatives in Puerto Rico. She noticed many stray dogs roaming the streets and beaches, neglected and uncared for.

“Dogs wander the streets, roads and beaches in very poor condition,” she said. “The ones that survive long enough breed and have litters who then get into people’s garbage looking for food, bark at night, and when the population becomes a ‘nuisance’ in any one area, someone puts out rat poison and kills them en masse.”

When she returned, she began to get the word out about Pets Alive, which she said is one of the few facilities on the island equipped to rescue the dogs. The facility nurses the dogs back to health and then ships them to a sister agency in New York so they can be adopted.

Claire said more than 100 dogs have been sent to New York, which is why leashes and kennel loops are in big demand.

“When they ship the dogs when they are well enough, the airline requires a leash be attached to every kennel,” she said.

Pets Alive also wants to bring educational programs to Puerto Rican schools. According to the group, there are an estimated 250,000 stray dogs in Puerto Rico, with only a handful of shelters to care for them.

Claire said the group is still in need of help, and she invites residents to look at their wish list online to see what is most needed.

For more information, visit Petsalivepr.org or call 954-349-5969.

For the original report go to http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/weston/fl-cn-rescue-0303-20130301,0,5684286.story

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