A report by Carmela Rodríguez for Alternet.
The Caribbean has been relentlessly attacked by storms in recent months, causing catastrophic damages. While relief aid has been slow in places such as Puerto Rico, there are some organizations working to help the region’s most helpless victims of the storms: animals.
Many people had to flee their homes, leaving their belongings and pets behind. Hundreds of thousands of abandoned cats and dogs are terrified and in need of help. Equally, a lot of the Caribbean’s natural wildlife has been left in a critical state. AllTheRooms has roots in Puerto Rico—our CEO Joseph DiTomaso is half Puerto Rican—and we want to do what we can to help the Caribbean’s abandoned animals. So, we decided to dig around and find out how to help the animals of the hurricane.
Here are the organizations that are really making a difference in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Barbuda.
1. The Humane Society of Broward County
The Humane Society of Broward County has teamed up with W Aviation and Wings of Rescue to bring cats and dogs from Puerto Rico to the United States for rehoming. A plane that airlifted supplies to Puerto Rico returned to America with nearly 100 animals. The animals, many of whom were kittens and puppies, were taken to Florida and have nearly all been rehomed thanks to the organization’s efforts. There are a few left waiting for adoption. Find out more about how you can help at the Humane Society of Broward County website.
2. The International Fund for Animal Welfare
The International Fund for Animal Welfare has been sending food, supplies and experts to the hurricane-damaged island of the Dominican Republic. The island has been hit hard by the hurricanes and there are hundreds of thousands of displaced pets and much of the natural wildlife are without homes. The situation is critical. The Dominican Republic is known for its biodiversity, and there are many native species suffering from the damages caused by the hurricane, including the imperial Amazon parrot and the hawksbill sea turtle. Find out more information on IFAW disaster response and see how you can help.
3. The Sato Project
Rescue group the Sato Project has been saving abandoned and abused dogs on the island of Puerto Rico. Many dogs have been abandoned during the recent economic crisis, and even more have now been abandoned because of the hurricanes. The organization focused on the area of Yabucoa, which is the poorest of the Puerto Rico’s municipalities. There is even a beach called Dead Dog Beach, where unwanted dogs are left to fend for themselves. This beach was hit badly by the hurricane. The Sato team takes food, water and medication to the beach daily, while also providing veterinary care for the dogs who are stranded there. Since Hurricane Maria, the organization has been evacuating dogs from the island, taking them to different locations in the States, and helping to find them new homes. Sato works alongside organizations such as non-profit NYC-based Animal Haven, to help rehome the animals.
PETA has been on the ground in many of the affected areas in the Caribbean, helping to clear debris, repair enclosures, organize veterinary care, and collect distressed and injured animals. They have evacuated some of the dogs who survived the hurricane, bringing them to various locations in the States. Email PETA if you believe you could give a loving home to one of these pets, or make a donation to PETA’s emergency fundraising campaign to aid the situation on the ground.
5. The World Animal Protection
The World Animal Protection charity sent emergency teams to rescue and care for injured animals caught in the path of Hurricane Irma, which was the strongest Atlantic hurricane in history. They focused on the tiny island of Barbuda, where the situation for the animals has been described as dire. There was an exodus on the island as residents were evacuated ahead of the impending hurricane, and many pets were left behind. Read more about the work World Animal Protection is doing on the island of Barbuda and find out how you can help.
6. The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States has been flying dogs, cats and horses off the island of Puerto Rico. They have been working alongside the Humane Society of Broward County, GreaterGood.org, Wings of Rescue, and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center to evacuate animals. The organization has formed relationships with shelters on the island and is assisting in multiple areas. Due to the complexity of sending supplies to the island, the HSUS has been working with large corporations to send bulk donations and supplies. You can donate to the HSUS Disaster Relief Fund to help make a difference. In addition, if you would like to foster a displaced pet, the organization provides a detailed list of shelters you can contact.