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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Bills filed to address problem of stray horses

A resolution will be filed in the island Senate to evaluate areas of available land for the development of a horse sanctuary where nonprofit organizations that care for the animals will have the space they require.


New Progressive Party Sen. Carmelo Ríos Santiago announced on Sunday the filing of several measures that aim to address the problem of stray horses.

“Many people have approached us to say that a horse sanctuary needs to be created in Puerto Rico, an area where legitimate nonprofit organizations can care for horses that are saved from the street,” Ríos Santiago said in a written statement. “For example, at the Humane Society shelter in Guaynabo there are six horses they picked up from the street, but there is no room for more. The resolution we filed is aimed at finding a viable area for this type of activity.”

“Another aspect is the lack of funds, something that we are going to work on in great detail, but to mitigate the problem now, money is needed so that the municipalities with the greatest problem of horses in the streets can operate their programs to support nonprofit organizations,” the senator added. “We are going to tackle this problem at its root.”

The first measure seeks to amend Law 154-2008, better known as the Law for the Welfare and Protection of Animals, in order to amend subsection (b), subsection (i) of Article 1 (Abandonment of Animals) to increase the fine for abandoning an animal on the street to a minimum of $5,000 up to $10,000.

The bill also creates a registry of offenders of Law 154, establishes parameters for continuing education for law enforcement officers and orders the Puerto Rico Police Bureau to create a regulation for attending to abandoned horses.

In addition, a resolution will be filed to evaluate areas of available land on the island with the purpose of developing a horse sanctuary there so that all nonprofit organizations that care for the animals have the necessary space.

“In Puerto Rico there is a real problem with real animals, particularly horses,” Ríos Santiago said. “For the past few weeks, our legislative team has been given the task of finding solutions to this problem, and after evaluating the alternatives we believe that there are three areas to impact in this first phase of measures. The first is deterrence, which is why we increased the minimum fine from $1,000 to $3,000. Meanwhile, we created a registry of Law 154-2008 offenders. This is simple, when you acquire a pet or animal, you also acquire the responsibility of its care.”

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