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.”
(Photos via Sato Project and Pet Friendly PR)
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