• The San Juan Daily Star

Animal sanctuary seeks help with glut of abandoned pets


By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


Dellymar Bernal, the executive director of the San Francisco de Asís Animal Sanctuary, asked citizens for help on Wednesday with handling the large number of abandoned animals, which has led the organization to exceed its operational capacity and threatens its financial solvency.


“In these last six weeks, we have had to cope with the abandonment of about 60 dogs and cats, many of them days old and requiring 24/7 care. We are exhausted and very concerned because we need the contributions of citizens to continue caring for these innocent creatures who are victims of those who have abandoned them,” Bernal said in written statements.


She said that so far this year, the sanctuary has had to handle almost 600 abandonments of dogs and cats of all ages, temperaments and particular conditions, despite the fact that this action is classified as a crime under Law 154 of Aug. 4, 2008, known as the Animal Welfare and Protection Act, as amended. Currently, the shelter’s enrollment is some 260 pets in need of a permanent home.


The animal sanctuary in Cabo Rojo does not receive recurring funds and finances its operations with private donations, which fluctuate between $8,000 and $12,000 a month.


“We depend on giving and loving hearts that believe in the welfare of animals,” Bernal said. “We ask those hearts to shake hands with us through donations, volunteering and temporary homes.”


The animal rescuer also urged people to report acts of animal abuse and to sterilize their pets.

“The only way to end this problem of cat and dog overpopulation is spaying,” she said. “Likewise, I call for reflection because the arrival of an animal in our home represents opening the door to one more member of the family. If you do not have the commitment to unconditionally love an animal, do not have it and do not condemn it to mistreatment.”