The Humane Society of the United States and a coalition of 22 organizations have spayed or neutered 5,608 dogs and cats during the first week of Spayathon for Puerto Rico. The project took place from June 3 to June 9 in Carolina, Ceiba, Culebra, Manati, Moca, Ponce and Vieques. Each animal client left with a bag of food provided by Rescue Bank, which is a program of GreaterGood.org, and PetSmart Charities, as well as a new leash and collar provided by Lupine Pet and Chewy.com.
Spayathon for Puerto Rico is a groundbreaking initiative to provide essential vaccinations and spay/neuter procedures of the highest quality for 20,000 cats and dogs at no cost to pet owners across the Commonwealth by May 2019.
“The extraordinary collaboration of so many organizations is dramatically improving lives for animals in Puerto Rico,” says Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and president of Humane Society International. “From our work over the past few years there, we know how much the citizens of Puerto Rico care about their animals, and it was gratifying to be able to provide easy access to high-level veterinary care and services.”
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International have been working in the Commonwealth since 2015, working closely with coalition partners including Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and First Lady Beatriz Rosselló, the Puerto Rico Veterinary Medical Association and the Puerto Rico Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, to advance the initiative, which will include three additional weeklong clinics in 2018 and 2019. Upon completion, the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida will analyze all data collected to better understand the status of pet healthcare and the roots of pet overpopulation on the island.
“Beatriz and I are thrilled at the outcome of Round 1 of Spayathon for Puerto Rico. Over 5,500 animals safely and successfully being spayed/neutered is just the start of this wonderful collaboration to make Puerto Rico an example of animal welfare and initiative. We are also deeply moved by the community involvement and commitment with citizens bringing their pets in and taking the time to ensure they received quality care. We are thankful to our partners in this and applaud the Humane Society of the United States in leading this effort. Our goal is that this novel initiative will serve as an example to other jurisdictions in the United States and internationally as a way to ethically address overpopulation of dogs and cats while ensuring the highest standards of veterinary care,” said Gov. Rosselló.
In addition to altering thousands of animals, the Spayathon for Puerto Rico campaign has provided dozens of veterinary professionals with high quality, high volume spay and neuter training through the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance. At the project’s conclusion, the surgical equipment, supplies and other assets will be donated locally, part of a long-term plan to establish a lasting high quality, high volume spay/neuter infrastructure on the island.
“The interorganizational collaboration undertaken for Spayathon Puerto Rico is unprecedented. Local and national NGOs, veterinary organizations and corporate sponsors came together to bring the best in practices, procedures and care to the cats and dogs of Puerto Rico, and the impact of this will be felt for years to come,” said Tara Loller, senior director of Strategic Campaigns and Initiatives for the Humane Society of the United States.
Maddie’s Fund®, PetSmart Charities, Petco Foundation, GreaterGood.org and The 20/22 Act Society are providing the financial support necessary to carry out this initiative. Banfield Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society and Rescue Bank are providing critical supplies, such as vaccines, pet food and crates.
Veterinary teams from Emancipet, ViDAS, Veterinarians for Puerto Rico, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University and Helping Paws Across Borders are providing high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter services in locations across the island.
Ground support is being provided by Puerto Rico-based groups, including 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, Wild at Heart Foundation and Our Big Fat Caribbean Rescue.
The additional no-cost spay/neuter clinics will take place on Nov. 3–9, 2018; Feb. 3–9, 2019 and May 3–9, 2019.