Since the launch of Spayathon™ for Puerto Rico one year ago, the Humane Society of the United States-led coalition has spayed/neutered and vaccinated more than 34,000 dogs and cats in Puerto Rico at no cost to the pet owners and guardians.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, many residents were forced to leave their pets behind as they struggled for survival. Those animals were taken into overburdened shelters or absorbed into Puerto Rico’s stray population, which had already reached crisis levels. In response, the Humane Society of the United States spearheaded the creation of Spayathon™ for Puerto Rico: a coalition of 26 organizations aimed at helping to stabilize the island’s pet population and provide the Puerto Rican veterinary community with the training and tools needed to make lasting, positive change.
Spayathon™ was made possible by a historic agreement, signed by the Humane Society of the United States, the government of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Veterinary Association and Veterinary Board, that allowed teams of high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter veterinarians licensed in the mainland to practice on the island for the first time. All the surgical equipment and supplies purchased in connection to Spayathon™ will be donated to local veterinarians who have been newly trained in the high quality, high volume spay/neuter specialty through Spayathon™, thus allowing Puerto Rico to establish its own spay/neuter infrastructure.
“This initiative exemplifies the very best of the animal welfare movement; an historic coalition formed to address the immediate crisis of pet overpopulation on the island, but also the underlying cause,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Spayathon™ will continue to make a major difference and improve the welfare of Puerto Rico’s pets, while also serving as a model for other communities facing similar challenges.”
Spayathon™ was organized into four rounds of clinic days with multiple sites operating simultaneously across the island; these sites consisted of hundreds of clinic support volunteers and volunteer veterinarians.
In March, Governor Ricardo Rossello and First Lady Beatriz Rossello of Puerto Rico announced they aim to hold six additional Spayathon™ rounds, which will help more than 60,000 additional animals. Governor and First Lady Rossello’s commitment to animal welfare helps make this work possible.
The coalition is lead by the Humane Society of the United States and consists of the following members:
Maddie’s Fund®, PetSmart Charities, Petco Foundation, GreaterGood.org, Rescue Bank, The 20/22 Act Society, Banfield Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, Emancipet, ViDAS, Veterinarians for Puerto Rico, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at The University of Florida, Helping Paws Across Borders, the Humane Society of Puerto Rico, The Sato Project, the Government of Puerto Rico, Junta Examinadora de Medicos Veterinarios de Puerto Rico, Colegio de Médicos Veterinarios de Puerto Rico, The Puerto Rico Dog Fund, Friends of Culebra Animals, Santuario de Animales San Francisco de Asis, Wild at Heart Foundation, Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue and Coalition for Animal Rescue.