The citizens of Puerto Rico are facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Damage from the hurricane as well as shortages of clean drinking water, food, and fuel are creating huge challenges for both residents and aid workers. What about the animals of Puerto Rico? The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently posted an update on the situation via their blog, A Humane Nation.
HSUS and the Humane Society International (HSI) have been working in Puerto Rico for the past 3 years on the Humane Puerto Rico program, which is designed to support animal welfare on the islands of Puerto Rico and Vieques. HSUS reports that Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares will be signing an executive order that facilitates collaboration between Puerto Rico, HSUS, and HSI on the care, transport, placement, and veterinary health of the island’s at-risk animals.
HSUS is preparing to transport homeless pets from Puerto Rico to the mainland U.S., where they will be placed with approximately 400 Emergency Placement Partners and prepared for adoption. In addition to working with U.S. shelters, they’ll also be partnering with other organizations like Wings of Rescue to coordinate the transfer of animals.
While assessment of the situation for Puerto Rico’s pets and shelter animals is still in its earliest stages because of damage to communications and roads, preliminary reports suggest that the wild horse population of Vieques has suffered major casualties, and hundreds of race horses on the main island are also facing challenges.
As HSUS notes, “Puerto Rico is part of the United States. We will double down on our work there to help them through this great crisis, with our full focus, energy, and resolve. This was a 100-year storm, and there’s been so much loss. And to be sure, there is hardship ahead. If there’s ever been a time for the nation to rush in to help Puerto Rico, that time is now.”