It is almost impossible to fathom the atrocities that take place every day at Puerto Rico’s infamous “Dead Dog Beach.” There, sweet mutts (Satos, as they’re called) are left to starve and die — vulnerable to heartless kids who stop by for the “fun” of beating and tormenting helpless animals. Thankfully, the SATO Project of Puerto Rico rescues as many of these castaway canines as possible, transporting them to animal shelters in the Northeast, where they are made available for adoption.
Last Tuesday, six Sato survivors arrived at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton, New York. As is typical of this sweet species of mutt, no two are alike — Satos come in every size and stripe, each one uniquely adorable. Their transport to safety was part of Kent’s rescue program in partnership with other humane organizations saving lives — not only in the Long Island-New York metro region, but as far away as St. Croix and the Turks & Caicos.
Kent Animal Shelter is an award-winning nonprofit that was established in 1968 as a no-kill haven for abandoned, neglected, or abused animals. Saving the Sato Six was Kent’s first partnership with the SATO Project. Executive director Pamela Green recalls her first contact with the rescue group.
“When I heard about Dead Dog Beach and what happens to the animals there, when I saw the photos on the Internet and heard the stories of torture, I knew that we had to help,” she says. “Like so many other islands of paradise, it’s no paradise for strays. The whole scenario of Dead Dog Beach is extremely disturbing, where animals are abandoned to die. The fact that youths come to the beach at night and randomly torture dogs there is disgusting and hard to digest. We can find these animals loving homes, and they don’t have to suffer like that.”
Pamela also had a personal reason for reaching out to help: “I visited San Juan a number of years ago and saw large numbers of stray dogs infested with mange, pitifully thin and totally ignored. So it makes my day to be able to reach out and help dogs in this place where it is unfortunate to be born if you are a canine.”
She promises that Kent will continue to help the SATO Project, adding it to its list of rescue partners, which includes municipal animal shelters in the South and Western United States, as well as Best Friends Animal Society, which rescues dogs from puppy mills in the Midwest.
“The Dead Dog Beach rescues are highly adoptable and are all relatively small,” Pamela concludes. “Their personalities are great. Maybe they know they have been rescued and are just grateful!”