Life wasn’t always as simple for the six kittens recently rescued from deplorable conditions in hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico. Still suffering the effects of Hurricane Maria, the Category 4 storm that crippled the tiny island last year, countless people and animals are in desperate need of assistance. Needless to say, life would have been vastly different for these little felines if not for the recent collaborative rescue efforts of North Shore Animal League America and Proud Rescuers of Puerto Rico, a group of private citizens doing all they can to improve the lives of homeless animals in the area. The valiant efforts of these groups helped to pull these kittens from the brink of death and propel them into a life of hope and promise.
Living on the streets, scrounging through trash cans and garbage bags for whatever scraps they could find to nourish their empty bellies was the norm for them. They had no access to veterinary care. Nobody to protect and watch over them. And no place to call home. Simply put, these youngsters were lost – struggling just to survive. But that all changed the day they were flown to the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization by dedicated volunteers, who personally transported the kittens in comfortable, ventilated carry-on bags from Puerto Rico to Animal League America. These selfless champions of rescue flew into Philadelphia International Airport before making the drive to our Port Washington, N.Y. campus with the little survivors in tow.
“The damage the tiny island endured as a result of Hurricane Maria is unfathomable. Not only were so many human lives impacted, but countless animals were also killed or displaced from their families and left homeless,” said Karla Agostinello, Animal League America Rescue Coordinator. “The number of lives that were affected by the storm is astronomical, but we continue to help in any ways that we can. These are just six kittens we’ve helped to save, but there were many before them and there will be many more to come.”
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Although these six kittens are now safe and sound in our care, countless other homeless dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens are still in desperate need of rescue. It’s no secret that overpopulation of strays and homeless animals is a serious problem in Puerto Rico, but since Hurricane Maria savagely swept through the area last year, the issue has risen to crisis levels according to Riccis Cintrὸn, a dedicated volunteer at Proud Rescuers of Puerto Rico. Many non-profit shelters and government-run rescue organizations on the island have been completely incapacitated due to the destruction caused by the hurricane, leaving animals to wander the streets in search of food, water, and shelter. Unfortunately, many of these poor animals are left to die alone, starving, dehydrated and disease ridden. But with your help, we can continue to save as many of them as possible.
“People are fleeing Puerto Rico and leaving their pets behind, creating a heartbreaking situation here. Hundreds of litters of dogs and cats have been born and are now roaming in the streets with nowhere to go,” she said in a powerful email addressed to our Rescue Department. “In the case of cats, the problem is more complicated as they are more difficult to get adopted. It’s estimated that 1,000,000 stray cats roam this beautiful island. Rescuers struggle with little resources and no support from the government. We need help very badly.”
Since 1944, Animal League America has committed to providing a safe haven for as many animals as our resources and shelter capacity permits. Our Rescue Team is already coordinating more rescue transports with our shelter partners in Puerto Rico, but in order to continue to provide relief to the animals on the island, as well as those right here in our own backyard, we need the support of our donors. It’s only with your generosity that we can continue to provide new beginnings to homeless animals with nowhere else to turn. Animals like these six fortunate kittens, who are on their way to finding responsible, loving homes, would have never been afforded that lifesaving opportunity if not for your charitable contributions. By continuing to support Animal League America you are not only providing better lives for all of the animals in our care, but for animals from all parts of the world.