Sunday, January 20, 2008

An introduction to "Los Satos de Playa Los Machos"

"Sato" is a slang term used in Puerto Rico to refer to a street/stray dog. Satos are scattered everywhere across the island and are the primary concern of this blog. More specifically, the purpose of this blog is to spread awareness of the satos of Los Machos Beach, located in a small town called Ceiba on the east coast of Puerto Rico, the primary goal being to remove these satos from the beach and place them into loving homes. Our work is entirely volunteer-based and with the best intentions. We are part of a local non-profit, Amigos de los Animales, Inc. (ADLA), working to rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for the 40 to 50 or so dogs located within about a square mile around Los Machos Beach. While many ADLA volunteers are focusing their energy on other locations around the island and succeeding beautifully in getting lovable, adoptable dogs off the streets, Los Machos Beach is in desperate need of the same attention. So pay attention readers...our Los Machos satos are ready to bring radiant love and extreme gratefulness into their future forever homes!

The Road Gang
One of the 3 or 4 dog herds gathered around my car, waiting for some food and lovin'.

The state of Los Machos Beach is depressing, to say the least. Each visit there, we are welcomed with wagging tails and eyes of love. As wonderful as these dogs are, the environment and situations that surround them are far from that. This area is known for mass dog poisonings and beatings of the local satos, and we have witnessed the aftermath of these inhumane actions. Waiting to see if their situation will magically improve is not an option. Going to Los Machos Beach once a week and each time fearing that we will find one of these gorgeous, ready-to-love-forever dogs hurt or sick beyond repair or no longer alive is an option I'm barely able to stomach. The cruelty witnessed so far...dead dogs continuously dumped next to the beach wrapped in double, black plastic bags, sometimes only certain parts of a dog's body enclosed...a perfectly friendly and social dog one week becoming stand-offish and fearful of any human it sees the next week...deceased dogs sprawled across a field, all surrounding a common food source that was undoubtedly poisoned...just a few highlights. I feel personally obligated to rescue as many of these dogs as I am physically able, and I'm asking for your help to make this happen.

And one picture of the reality:

I'm sorry to add this
We don't know how this dog died, though we are reluctant to believe it was natural. A series of bagged dead dogs have been disposed of next to Los Machos beach in the same place, all bagged in a similar manner. Aside from the overwhelming scent of decay, there was also a chemical odor in this instance.

There has definitely been some progress since the project began. For all those who have graciously donated, fostered, adopted and/or given support in various other ways, we are extremely grateful. We are moving forward to help those that remain stranded at the beach with continued support and intense hope.

All of our work in based solely on donations, 100% of which goes directly to the welfare of these animals. On average, the cost of taking one of these dogs off the street is at least $300, which includes all of their initial shots, spay/neuter, boarding (if necessary), food, shipping fees to the U.S. (where most of these dogs go to be adopted), and other necessary health related tests and procedures. We currently do not have an official shelter space...with more funding, we hope to make this happen. For now, boarding and fostering animals until they are shipped has worked for us.

A bit about ADLA, as written on the organization's website:

"Amigos de los Animales (ADLA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to animal welfare issues faced on the island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is currently considered a Commonwealth of The United States, and it is ADLA's hope that Humane Education will quickly take root in Puerto Rico as it has in the Continental U.S. ADLA both rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes abused and abandoned companion and farm animals, and also facilitates the rescue of such animals alongside other rescue organizations in Puerto Rico. ADLA successfully wages cruelty investigations when necessary, and is involved in Humane Education efforts/campaigns island wide. ADLA continually has its eye on the 'big picture' for Puerto Rico, and is not limited in its involvement in planning for a humane Puerto Rico."

A little about the manager the Los Machos Beach Project:

Shanti Santulli (Blog Writer)
Shanti recently moved to Puerto Rico from San Diego, CA in July 2007 for her husband's job relocation. Her entire life has been surrounded by animals, from having a plethora of house pets of different species to working at a no-kill animal shelter in Chicago, IL for two years. Shanti was fortunate enough to meet Melodie Rios and Elizabeth Kracht of ADLA and decided to return to investing her time in animal welfare issues. Her first visit to Ceiba and Los Machos Beach alerted her to the urgency of the sato problem in that area. One week later, she, along with her husband Colin, took home two Los Machos satos to foster and eventually adopt out. Now Shanti and Colin are planning to be perpetual sato foster parents, in hopes that a majority of the dogs at Los Machos will have a forever home as soon as possible. Shanti is also working on networking with stateside animal shelters to spread awareness of the animal welfare situation in Los Machos Beach, hoping that shelters that show interest in the situation may accept our satos into their shelters and put them up for adoption.

In short, we (as in ADLA) are committed to our four-legged friends on Los Machos Beach and are determined to change to the way these animals live.

To start, here are a handful of our personal favorites these days...and yes, they are all up for adoption and/or sponsoring.

Bass, formerly known as "Black and Tan" (young adult)
Considering this gorgeous Doberman mix was the center of a hardcore beating in front of the other Los Machos dogs, he is surprisingly loving, friendly, approachable and just plain awesome.

Chalupa, or just Lupa (young adult)
What a little beauty and a sweetheart. She often tags along with us as we do our rounds. She's a tiny bundle of love.

Gizmo (young adult)
She's in great shape and has a darling personality. Well, she could use a bath. Sadly, we have not seen her in our recent visits...we'll keep you posted.

Dakota...aka Kota (~ 1 year old, medium-sized)
Shanti's personal favorite Los Machos sata, Kota is extremely social, trusting and playful. She was, at some time in the past, hit by a car or something along those lines, leaving her a bit gimpy (left, hind leg), though barely noticable.

Cisco (young adult, medium-sized)
He's one of the dogs out there that seems equally as interested in getting some love as being fed meat and cheese. We can't wait to get him off the streets.

So, here's a intro to the Los Machos satos...please check back for constant updates.

Please email us if you have any questions or comments.

Thanks for reading,


Anonymous said...

Ladies, you are truly Angels. I hope to meet you some day.

Anonymous said...

You are truly amazing and I will be spreading the word here in Florida..Keep the faith..I will be praying for you and the dogs. Do you have facebook?? We have a whole bunch of people that crosspost animals that need fostered or adopted and taken out of shelters all day long. My face book name is Jackie Stabler if you have facebook please invited me to be your friend so I can spread the word.