More than 25 organizations have come together to serve tens of thousands of animals and provide training and infrastructure for permanent, lasting change.
Puerto Rico is facing a growing animal welfare crisis: Many individuals vacating the island after Hurricane Maria have had to leave their pets behind, adding to the population of unowned animals currently estimated at more than 300,000 dogs and one million cats. Zoonotic diseases like leptospirosis are spreading, posing a threat to both animal and human populations and veterinary resources on the island are already stretched beyond capacity, particularly given the extreme levels of poverty across the island.
We responded to this crisis by establishing SpayathonTM for Puerto Rico, a coalition of 26 national and international groups coming together for the first time to spay, neuter and vaccinate at least 85,000 dogs and cats across the island. Spayathon is founded on a historic agreement signed by the Humane Society of the United States with the Puerto Rico government, Veterinary Association and Veterinary Board, allowing teams of high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter veterinarians to practice on the island for the first time ever.
In March of 2019, the Government of Puerto Rico announced that they would grant the HSUS six additional Spayathon rounds beyond Round 4 (May 2019), extending the initiative to 2021, which will help more than 60,000 additional animals. Clinics welcome both owned and TNR/rescue animals. The HSUS and the Government of Puerto Rico will be solidifying the new MOU and Executive Order for this work.
Spayathon will have an immediate positive impact by preventing hundreds of thousands of unwanted litters, many of which would undoubtedly contribute to the street dog and cat populations and shelter intake numbers. Round one, completed in June of 2018, altered 5,594 pets. Round two, completed in November of 2018, altered 8,088 pets. Round three, completed in February of 2019, altered 8,513 pets.
Since the launch of Spayathon, and in conjunction with other HSUS-sponsored spay/neuter clinics, a total of 25,627 pets have been altered and vaccinated across the island at no cost to their owners. Moreover, each of those animals was vaccinated against diseases that could pose a pressing danger to the human population, like rabies and leptospirosis. Longer term, Spayathon will provide specialized high quality, high volume, spay/neuter training, provided by the ASPCA, for approximately 100 veterinarians and technicians across the island.
In November of 2018, the historic initiative was recognized by Clinton Global Initiative’s “Commitments to Action,” which recognizes efforts to address significant global challenges that are innovated, specific and measurable.
All of the surgical equipment and supplies purchased in connection with Spayathon will be donated to trained veterinarians, allowing Puerto Rico to establish its own spay/neuter infrastructure for the first time. What’s more, data collected from the pet owners served during Spayathon will contribute to the knowledge base of academicians and advocates worldwide.
The goal of SpayathonTM is to spay/neuter and provide medical care for tens of thousands of dogs and cats. Your donation will fund direct care for animals, equipment, supplies and training for current and future generations to ensure a brighter future for Puerto Rico’s animals.
Our heartiest thanks go out to our coalition members who are sponsoring and participating in SpayathonTM for Puerto Rico: