Federal ban forces dog owners to leave their pets behind when fleeing Puerto Rico

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As if escaping the island of Puerto Rico hasn’t been stressful enough for Americans who can no longer cope with the lack of electricity and the necessities of life, citizens from the island have been ordered by federal authorities to leave their pets behind.

According to the Daily Beast, commercial airlines are not allowing family pets weighing more than 20 pounds to accompany them out of Puerto Rico. Federal authorities have taken control of cargo compartments to transport supplies and unless the pet can fit into the cabin of the aircraft and weighs less than 20 pounds, they are forced to stay behind. Sylvie Bedrosian, president of the Pet Friendly Puerto Rico stated more than 2,000 pets have been left behind because of the embargo.

“I understand that most planes coming from the U.S. to Puerto Rico are filled with goods, but what bothers me most is that planes leaving the island are mostly empty. Why take custody of an empty cargo?” Bedrosian questioned.

The No Pet Left Behind Fema Act after Hurricane Katrina “authorizes FEMA to provide rescue, care, shelter, and essential needs for individuals with household pets and service animals, and to the household pets and animals themselves following a major disaster or emergency.” Still the federal ban has continued to be ignored.

“Our animal shelters were already at full capacity before the hurricane and now beginning to feel the burden that María left behind,’ Bedrosian said. “Our rescue missions have completely changed. We used to wonder for abandoned pets on the streets and now have to worry about those left on the airports.”

As of Wednesday Jet Blue and Southwest have been allowing up to eight pets on board at a time, but that doesn’t provide any solutions for dogs weighing over 20 pounds. United Airlines stated the embargo has been waived for them until the end of the month.

“United removed your pet embargo via charge until October 31 You can call 1-800-575-3335 to make your reservation.”

Pet Friendly PR, with the help of the Sato Project have been helping to not only help stray dogs find new homes by flying them to various rescue organizations in other states, but also have been helping pets and families to be reunited with special projects and flights:

“Call to action! We have been inundated with messages and emails from people who want or need to leave Puerto Rico but refuse to leave their dogs behind. We applaud you for your compassion and for standing by your family members and we want to help keep families together.
The Sato Project has secured a small private plane on Thursday that will fly to PR with humanitarian supplies. We want to send that plane back to NJ filled with owned animals. We have space for approximately 8 crates.”

To help these shelters – remember none of them have power and are struggling to help these pets, donations can be sent by clicking here and here. 

(Photos via Sato Project and Pet Friendly PR)

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

Watch a joyful reunion between a soldier and her ecstatic dog

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  1. Why are the people of Puerto Rico being treated so differently than everyone else who’s endured a disaster since Katrina? Why are they considered less than everyone else? Not hard to figure out, given the racism of the current administration and its attitude toward ‘those people’.

    But ignoring a federal law that was put in place because of EXACTLY the same situation we have here? Are you kidding? The disgust I have for this administration grows exponentially every single day. I hope the animal lovers who voted for this national disgrace (especially the a*****e who called me all kinds of names and blocked me on FB -many of you probably know her- telling me how wrong I was and how full of hate because I TOLD her what this thing’s attitude toward both people and animals, especially animals, which she claims to care about, was) understand now how wrong you were to vote for this monster. This is appalling and heartless, just like the creature who’s allowing it to happen. *** BTW, he just gave his response team a 10. That’s not what I call this.***

  2. More total BULLSHIT from our present – incompetent – “poseur” , and his utterly dysfunctional minions (or unstaffed departments)!!!

  3. This is disgusting!, As stated above plane’s cargo areas leaving Puerto Rico are not being used to transport supplies and to make people leave behind their pets is insensitive and cruel! Never mind some people don’t give a damn about their pets to begin with but the ones that do shouldn’t be made to abandon the pets they love! It’s a travesty that these people there are still without proper living conditions and now they are forced to uproot their lives to begin again in the US without their pets!

    • Call your politicians and request planes go into PR to help pet owners. They are clueless as to what is happening to pets. Both parties, not just one.

      • Tell you what, you call Senator Tom Reed and see what kind of response you get from him about saving Puerto Rican family pets. I’ve been a few rounds with him concerning medical insurance, medical benefits for military retired working dogs, Social Security and Medicare to know he doesn’t care about his human constituents let alone their pets. To think he will care whether Puerto Rican pets are left behind to die is dubious at best! Actually, your assessment of the Puerto Rican government sounds about status quo with the US government as far concern for the “people” goes. Unless you have a 6 figure income, you or your concerns are not worth bothering with! I worked my whole life to retire and live on about $900 a month social security and measly pension. I’m just a poor “baby boomer” whose life is over and whose voice isn’t recognized anymore and last I knew this is still a “free” country and if I want to complain I will!

  4. It has nothing to do with this President but rather the government of PR and their corruption and lack of doing anything to take care of their island all these years. Homes made of sticks and buildings not reinforced or hurricane prepared. Remember, PR is an island, and as such there is only so much that can go on a plane going in to drop off supplies. Any of you aware they couldn’t even find workers to drive the trucks to disperse the supplies. People who hate this President really do not understand the gross graft and corruption on this island. FEMA is doing exactly what it did for the other states. Only difference is those states with each hurricane or disaster, have worked to support building structures,windows,etc., for the next disaster. PR has done nothing because their government and those running the country get kickbacks. Water coming into the island are first dispersed to government officials before the average person. Know what you are talking about before finding fault with anyone and stop bringing in politics. A contractor from PR will not let his crew to work with the PR government because of the mismanagement of funds that goes into the pockets of government officials before being used for the people. Why do you think PR is in such economic disaster even before this hurricane? Read up on it before you spew such hatred for one person. I would love to see tons of planes going into PR to retrieve all the pets, yet you are talking about money and I don’t see any politician, both parties, fighting for this. call your Senators and House members and do something to help instead of complain.


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