We take our rescue mission very seriously. Rescuing dogs means more than just pulling them off a beach or the streets. We are dedicated to each and every one of our dogs and we want to give them the greatest chance in life. After what they have been through, what they have witnessed, we never ever want them to suffer again.
The Sato Project is currently primarily working on Dead Dog Beach. We are the dogs’ ONLY source of food, fresh clean water and most importantly LOVE on a daily basis.
Our wonderful beach volunteers, Sandra and Ivette go to the beach EVERY DAY – rain or shine even during hurricanes and storms. A log is kept of every dog on the beach and medications given. Each and every dog is named. As funds and space allow we rescue and take them to our vet. Very young, injured and sick dogs take priority.
Once a dog gets to our vets office they are tested immediately for parvovirus, parasites, heartworm and distemper. Their skin is scraped and tested for mange and they are de-wormed. If a dog tests positive for any of these infections or diseases then we begin a treatment regime immediately. Dogs that are deemed ready by our Veterinarian begin a vaccination schedule of 7-way DHLPPC vaccines. We spay and neuter. The average stay on our vet’s office for a ‘healthy’ dog is between 4-6 weeks. Those undergoing treatments stay as long as it takes to get them healthy, free of communicable disease and ready to travel. Our vet, Bianca is incredible. Bianca and her team go above and beyond for all of our dogs. They make sure each and every dog is socialized, handled and gets plenty of love every day. Bianca and her vet techs foster some of our more ‘special’ cases. We could not ask for better care of our dogs.
When a dog is ready to travel they receive a final check up and ‘physical’ from Bianca and travel and health certificates are issued. The dogs are booked onto a flight to either JFK or Newark. Volunteers get our dogs ready and take them to San Juan airport (learn how you can help with driving dogs to and from the airports).
At this point we have averaged $500 per dog. Those that require longer treatment can cost thousands. Then we have to pay for their flight (price depends on many parameters, and costs an average of $200 per dog).
Our dogs average 2-4 weeks in foster care before going to their forever home. We commit to every dog we rescue for LIFE. At any time and for any reason if the dog’s adoptive family cannot keep them then The Sato Project will take them back.
Q: Why are you flying the dogs out of the island? Can’t you adopt them out in Puerto Rico?
A: If a dog is taken to one of the 5 Municipal Shelters in Puerto Rico they will not make it out alive. The euthanasia rate at these shelters is 99%. Currently the adoption rate in Puerto Rico is very low. ‘Satos’ are not revered on the island. The Sato Project will be addressing these issues and will fight for change with our planned Educational, Spay/Neuter and ‘Puerto Rican Treasures’ programs.
Q: What if I am traveling to Puerto Rico and I find a dog I want to rescue? Can you help me?
A: Although our priority goes to Dead Dog Beach for now, and our resources are limited, we are always willing to help rescuing a dog. If you are vacationing in Puerto Rico and you find a dog that you would like to rescue then we will do our utmost to help you. We operate completely on donations so whilst we cannot help you financially with your new family member we can help with advice on vetting and transporting your pet.
Q: I follow you on Facebook and everyday I see you post photos of dogs on the beach. Sometimes you say you could not rescue them. But if you could photograph them, why couldn’t you rescue them too?
A: The key to our success is that we are very serious with our rescue efforts. We do our best to save all the dogs, but unfortunately we are also limited by resources: space at our vet’s clinic, opening hours of their facility, and most of all finances to cover the dogs’ vet’s bills. Although we don’t make our decisions based on money only, we do have to be responsible. If we are not following our own rules strictly, we will most likely become hoarders, overwhelmed by bills, and will not be able to operate anymore.
Q: Why is the police/government not doing anything to stop the dumping and abuse of dogs on DDB?
A: Unfortunately, there is a huge problem of violence in Puerto Rico: drugs, gangs, firearms. The government has its hands full with human to human violence, and dogs come in second. As for the police, if you are lucky enough to find a policeman willing to take your complaint, then they have to find a Prosecutor willing to prosecute the case. It almost never happens. Puerto Rico has the strictest laws in terms of Animal Cruelty and Abuse (Law 154) but unfortunately, no-one really applies them.