Since 2005, Chrissy Beckles, founder and president of The Sato Project, has been rescuing dumped dogs from Playa Lucia, Puerto Rico, better known as Dead Dog Beach.
The Sato Projects says the dogs abandoned at Dead Dog Beach die from starvation, or because humans purposely hurt them by poisoning them, hacking them with machetes, running them over with cars, or using them as target practice and killing them by gun or crossbow.
It is estimated that Puerto Rico has around 250,000 stray dogs. The island only has five shelters to take care of all animals and the shelters have a 99 percent kill rate.
When Beckles started rescuing animals from the beach, there were approximately 300 stray dogs living there. Today, there are only 10, yet everyday more and more careless pet owners abandon their animals at the beach.
Puerto Rico’s Yabucoa’s Major has endorsed The Sato Project as the ‘Official Rescue Group’ of Dead Dog Beach. The government promised to place signs stating dogs on the beach are under the care of The Sato Project and animal abandonment and abuse is a Federal Offense and punishable to the fullest extent of the Law.
The Sato Project volunteers visit the beach every day, keep a log of all animals encountered, and supply them with food and clean water.
When the organization collects enough funds and space is available at their veterinarian’s office or local foster homes, dogs are rescued from the beach and given vaccinations and medical attention. Young, injured and sick dogs take priority.
Currently, The Sato Project does not have a sanctuary of their own, they rely on volunteers, local foster homes and mainland rescue organizations that have partnered with them to place and adopt out Dead Dog Beach’s animals. Once the dogs have been vaccinated and their illnesses and injuries treated, they are prepped for travel.
Homeless animals are taken to San Juan International airport and flown either to JFK or Newark airport where other volunteers welcome them and place them in foster or forever homes.
On average, the cost to rescue a dog from Dead Dog Beach is $500. This however, does not include the cost of airfare to fly the dog mainland.
The Sato Project depends on public donations. Five dollars can feed a dog for up to a week and $500 gets them off the beach, fully vetted, vaccinated, spayed or neutered and ready to fly to the U.S. and go into a home.
Learn more about The Sato Project, how they are helping save Dead Dog Beach dogs, and how you can help.
The Sato Project is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to rescuing abandoned and abused animals from Puerto Rico.