Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 9, 2023 by Crystal Uys
The devastation in Puerto Rico following hurricane Maria is staggering, and the territory will need our help for a long time to come. As with all disasters of this kind, animals are suffering, too. Animal rescue groups from all around the country poured into the areas affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma relatively quickly after the storms passed, but logistics to help humans, let alone animals, in Puerto Rico have been complicated due to its location.
The following organizations are in Puerto Rico and are working as hard as they can with often very limited resources, and they desperately need help. I don’t include major national organizations on this list: I prefer to donate to local organizations so I can be sure that my donations are used for the intended purpose.
Save a Gato posted this update on their Facebook page on September 21:
“Never could we have imagined that our beautiful island that we call home would be ripped apart by two separate category 5 hurricanes in less than two weeks. Hurricane Maria came straight across Puerto Rico Wednesday destroying everything in her path.
We have little to no communication with our volunteers who opened up their hearts and homes to take our kittens and cats during the storm. Most of the communication systems are out across the island and no one on the island has electricity or water. Flooding and mudslides are widespread and the entire island has been declared a disaster zone.
Save A Gato tried to take in as many of our outdoor colony cats as possible but we know that many did not survive the storm.
In the coming days and months, we will be working tirelessly to send as many cats as we can out of Puerto Rico. We hate to ask for this plea twice in less than 10 days but any amount donated will directly go to help and rescue as many cats as we can and get them off the island as soon as possible.”
Click here to donate to Save a Gato.
The Humane Society of Puerto Rico needs volunteers and donations to help the animals affected by the storm. Their website and Facebook page are in Spanish, which I don’t speak, and Facebook’s translations are a bit sketchy, but it’s obvious that they need help. Click the “Donar Hoy” button on their website, which will take you to Paypal.
The Sato Project is mobilizing to provide supplies and support to their team on the ground in Puerto Rico, and to transport as many dogs as they can to safety in the coming days and weeks. Maria made landfall in Yabucoa, the exact location of Dead Dog Beach where The Sato Project has focused their rescue efforts for the past 6 years. The mayor of Yabucoa has issued a statement that 99% of its municipal buildings have been destroyed. The Sato Project wants to make sure that countless animals are not left behind to suffer on their own during the long road to recovery ahead. Click here to donate.
Wings of Rescue has flown 1,800 pets to safety after Harvey and Irma. They are now operating daily flights to bring in critically needed humanitarian supplies, and on the return flights, they are taking abandoned pets that entered shelters prior to the storm back to the U.S. mainland to make room for pets displaced by Maria. Click here to donate.
My guess is that all these organizations will need money rather than goods since the logistics of getting relief supplies into Puerto Rico are so challenging. Also, keep in mind that there is going to be a long term need for donations for months and possibly even years, so take that into consideration when planning your donations.
I will update this post as I learn of more organizations in Puerto Rico that are helping with animal rescue.
Photo via Save a Gato Facebook page
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.