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Exciting Announcement – Municipal Partnership In Puerto Rico

It is an important and exciting time for us at Homeward Trails and our Puerto Rico-based GuaniCARES program. On Wednesday, September 11, 2019 HT officially signed a contract with the Guanica Mayor’s office to take over operations for animal control. This is a truly amazing opportunity that we hope will give more dogs in Guanica life-saving outcomes. This has been several years in the making.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
There are hundreds (likely thousands) of dogs and puppies living in the streets, the forests, on the beaches of Guanica. We see them every day as we drive through the area. We see puppies, ranging from newborns to older. We see friendly dogs. We see feral dogs. We see dogs cared for by the community and dogs that are horribly neglected. We see gravely injured dogs and dead dogs in the streets. It is a very, very, very difficult environment for dogs here.

To date, when the community was faced with “nuisance” dogs they called the Mayor’s office and “dog catchers” from a nearby jurisdiction would come to to town and round them up to be taken to a shelter and killed. With few resources, these catchers were most likely rounding up the friendliest and easiest dogs to catch. And these dogs stood no chance at life.

For four years now we have been working in Guanica. Since 2017 we have taken 633 dogs and puppies from Puerto Rico and brought them to the US for adoption. We have also provided Trap/Neuter/Return services for almost 500 cats. And we have provided more than $15,000 in supplies including food, traps and other animal supplies, thanks to our amazing donors.

We currently have one full-time staff person. So our accomplishments to date have been remarkable on the little resources we have.

We know that rescue is not a long-term solution to the dire situation of homeless animals anywhere. Especially here. We must have government involvement and support. We must have community involvement and support. And we must have the support of our loyal followers and donors.

Puerto Rico faces tremendous challenges and while there are so many people here who care about animals they simply do not have the information and resources to help. We want to change that.

https://www.mightycause.com/story/Guanicareslaunchofficial

With this contract we hope to achieve three major things:

1. To provide more dogs in the community with life-saving outcomes. This will mean adoption in the US or TrapNeuterReturn (TNR) to the community. Our TNR efforts will stop the reproduction of puppies, minimize aggressive behaviors of dogs towards other dogs and people, aim to eliminate the poisoning of dogs as a means to control the population and allow the dogs to live in the community safely and under the watch of community care givers. TNR will be used when the dogs are not deemed potential candidates for adoption due to a lack of socialization

2. To engage community members to join our efforts by helping us to identify priority dogs, fostering puppies, sharing our efforts to stop poisoning and other harmful methods currently used and recruiting and training volunteers to assist with TNR. We have our first community meeting this Sunday.

3. To hire individuals from the emergency response division and the police department, many of whom have had their hours cut by 50% due to budgetary issues, to work as GuaniCARES Animal Resource Officers (AROs). These people will be trained to go into the field to trap animals, respond to community calls and further our outreach and education efforts.

We are already overwhelmed but energized by the opportunities this partnership will bring to save more lives and make what is a huge community problem a community collaboration for life saving.

In the 3 days we have been here this week we have trapped 8 puppies living in the woods, taken in 4 dogs abandoned in Guanica recently and neutered 3 additional community dogs. In addition to caring for the dogs in our care, which takes an average of 4 hours daily.

This new partnership will have its challenges for many reasons. But we will endure for the animals and remain positive and committed. And we will share each step with you in hopes you will be a part of it. We would not be where we are today without your support.

The contract comes with a $2,300 annual payment. Yes, you read that correctly. $2,300. So we cannot be successful without our donors.

Our goal for Year One is to raise $20,000 for the following:

Hiring of two part-time AROs asap. $10,000
Secure additional large traps and trapping supplies $5,000
Print materials for community distribution $750
Training for youth outreach interns $500
Vetting costs for TNR dogs $3,750

We hope you will consider supporting this worthwhile project and helping GuaniCARES become a MODEL PROJECT for other areas. Long-term solutions are our goal.

Please stay tuned for photos and updates of our activities in live time this week as we are out in the field.

We recognize the TREMENDOUS support and partnership of the following people who have gotten us here today and will play integral roles as we move forward.

Clínica Veterinaria, La Suiza who vets our animals, boards them while

they recover and has provided countless hours of veterinary support and guidance for our efforts. Without them we would have no program here.

Ricardo Guzmán our San Juan-based attorney and CPA who meticulously guided us through the very detailed 24 documents and filings with 7 departments that were required in order to sign the contract. And for his tremendous help writing and negotiating this contract.

Lynn Descoteau who started our involvement here in Guanica by reaching out to ask for help for the dogs she saw everyday during her 10 years on he island. He care and concern and efforts are what brought us here.

Animal Welfare Institute who so generously donated our transport van. Without it, none of our transport to/from the vet and to/from San Juan airport would be possible.

Barks of Hope and Leo the BOH Director here in PR who we are lucky to partner with and have her amazing support. Collaboration truly does save more lives.

Doris Draeger and Bonita Stoudt who continue to help us engage community members and support our efforts every day.

And so many more people who we know only by phone. And to all of our donors, fosters and adopters. These animals would not have a chance without you.

Get started here: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Guanicareslaunchofficial

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