The devastating effects of Hurricane Maria are still being felt in Puerto Rico, but help is being provided in various ways for all those who inhabit the island, including its pets.
On March 28, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced that it would be launching a spayathon in Puerto Rico, an initiative that has set its sights on spaying and neutering over 20,000 cats and dogs in the region.
According to a press release, the HSUS will be providing spay and neuter services in underserved communities in the area. In addition, the cats and dogs will receive essential vaccines, including rabies and leptospirosis. The HSUS will also donate equipment to areas in need to help further animal welfare efforts on the island.
"This is the first time our government has participated in such an ambitious and comprehensive sterilization mission,” says Governor Ricardo Rosselló, who is a partner in the process. “We are thankful to The Humane Society of the United States for its vision and its unwavering commitment to helping the animals of our island.”
First Lady Beatriz Rosselló, who collaborated on getting the initiative (which the Puerto Rico Veterinary Medical Association and the Puerto Rico Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners will also participate in) underway, says it is a step in the right direction in reducing the number of stray animals on the streets of Puerto Rico.
The spayathon is anticipated to roll out over the span of a year, beginning in early June. The first rounds will take place in Ceiba, Culebra, Manati, Moca, Ponce, San Juan and Vieques. Kitty Block, president and CEO of HSUS, described the effort as "what can happen when government agencies, nonprofits and veterinary medical professionals come together for one cause."
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Read more: The Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Pets