Seven days after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International arrived in Vieques delivering humanitarian and animal aid to thousands, mainly in low-income neighborhoods. In an effort to continue its work on the island, the HSUS and its partners are collaborating on a multi-pronged outreach initiative aimed at helping the Viequanese and their pets.

“The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International did not shy away from the enormous task of caring for the many animals injured and displaced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Vieques and across Puerto Rico,” said Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. “The people and Government of Puerto Rico are grateful for their reassuring and continuous presence.”

Through the work of the Humane State Puerto Rico program, the HSUS has developed programs and partnerships with key players in the Commonwealth and have identified how to best help the animals of Vieques and the people who care for them. In December, “Operation Viva Vieques” will launch to address the areas of greatest need: providing free spay/neuter and vaccine clinics for both domestic animals and equine; transporting existing shelter animals off the island; and engaging and educating Viequanese youth on animal care and wellness.

With the help of Puerto Rican veterinarians and vet teams deployed from around the world, the HSUS will host 20 free spay/neuter and vaccine clinics throughout Vieques and anticipate providing care for over 1,000 animals during the first week of December. Free horse wellness clinics will also be available. Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue, Vieques Animal Clinic and the Vieques Humane Society are providing much-needed on-the-ground support.

With the help of, Wings of Rescue, Two Mauds and the Sato Project, the HSUS and its partners will transport more than 100 shelter animals from the Vieques Humane Society, Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue and others from the main island. This transport will allow on-the-ground partners to accept more homeless animals. The plane will land in Morristown, N.J. with pets going to the HSUS’ and The Sato Project’s emergency placement partners.

The week culminates with the “Celebration of Vieques Animals” a joyous festival where The HSUS and its partners will celebrate the locals and their love of animals. Entertainment such as clowns and face painting will be provided and kids will receive treats, books and much more.

Since Hurricane Maria, the HSUS, HSI and their partners have carried out the following work in Puerto Rico and Vieques:

  • distributed more than 250,000 pounds of humanitarian and animal aid
  • helped 1,000 households with pets, mainly in low-income neighborhoods, which have received food, water and essential care items
  • transported over 2,000 dogs and cats, who had been living in animals shelters, off the island
  • worked with 70 Emergency Placement Partners on the mainland United States, each taking in shelter animals to be adopted out

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