END the SUFFERING of DOGS in Puerto Rico
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Puerto Rico has become known as "dead dog island". There are stray dogs all over: on beaches, in parks and by the roadside. Dogs are left to die in vacant houses and dumpsters. Day old puppies tossed in cardboard boxes along busy roads.
The problem is getting worse as Puerto Rico's economic crisis deepens. People are literally fleeing Puerto Rico because the island's economy is so bad, The island's government has run out of money and is $72 billion in debt.
The island has one no-kill shelter that operates on donations and receives no government help. With few adoptive homes to be found most dogs at shelters are put to death. Many others don't reach the shelters at all. They slowly starve or are hit by cars. There are many hard working, compassionate, local rescuers on the island that do so much with so few resources. Theirs is a daily uphill battle to take care of the thousands of strays that roam the island. Hundreds of angry tourists have sent letters to the islands authorities and Puerto Rico's Tourism officials estimate that Puerto Rico loses millions annually in travelers who refuse to return.
Puerto Rico's government is heavily at fault.
Veterinarians licensed in the continental U.S. are willing to come help -- for free. They offer to treat and spay and neuter strays, but technically, they are forbidden from operating under Puerto Rican law. These "foreign" vets would need a license issued by a Puerto Rican board, but the Puerto Rico Veterinary Board - has refused such requests from countless high volume sterilization vet groups based in the US
A simple stroke of a pen by the Puerto Rican government to accept veterinary licenses from other U.S. states or grant temporary permits to visiting doctors would make a big difference.
Former governors have said they are aware of the problem but it fell to the bottom of the "to- do" list.
Mrs. Beatriz Rosello, as an animal lover and first lady of Puerto Rico, we ask you to please be the voice of these animals that desperately need our help. We ask you to intervene and have the Puerto Rican government lift its restriction on veterinary licenses. We understand that the island is in a dire economic crisis and that many people are suffering as well. But our request does not require the government of Puerto Rico to allocate any funding towards animal welfare, only to allow much needed and available outside help to perform spay and neuter services on the island.
*Please remember to use your words wisely. Respectful yet passionate pleas are what will get us heard. Thank you!
*This explanation of the animal crisis in Puerto Rico has been rewritten from a wonderfully informative report by Heather Long for CNN Money.
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