Charities rally again to help horses after Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria

A yearling in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
A yearling in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. © HSUS

Equine and animal charities have moved their focus south to Puerto Rico to help animals equines caught up in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria which struck Puerto Rico and surrounding regions last week.

Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic flooding, leaving an estimated 3.4 million people in Puerto Rico without power and endangering thousands of humans and animals.

Although the initial effects of the Maria have passed, there is an urgent need for hay and feed, potable water, vet supplies, veterinary care, fencing and portable stalls. Aid workers on the ground are concerned that horses with lacerations and puncture wounds from flying objects or from running into debris are without proper medicine, and clean water is scarce.

Fund raising is under way to help equines caught up in Hurricane Maria, which struck the US territory of Puerto Rico last week.
Fundraising is under way to help equines caught up in Hurricane Maria, which struck the US territory of Puerto Rico last week.

Only in the past few days it was announced that Brooke USA, the American arm of international equine charity Brooke, had reached its fundraising goal of $35,000 as a match for donations to the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund following after hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

But after the unprecedented devastation in Puerto Rico, the charity turned its attention to help the victims of Maria, with another ongoing fundraising campaign. The goal of the campaign is to help rescue, protect and care for the equine victims by providing much-need funds for welfare organizations.

“Although Brooke USA’s efforts typically target equines in developing countries, we were deeply compelled to help support the rescue of equines in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas in light of the destructive flooding of Hurricane Harvey,” Brooke USA Executive Director Emily Dulin said.

“Given the recent destruction caused by the hurricanes in Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and now Puerto Rico, we at Brooke USA felt it was very pivotal to send much needed support to those regions as well.”

All of the donations given to Brooke USA under this campaign will be used to benefit Maria’s equine victims through the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund.

The Humane Society of the United States has also deployed its Animal Rescue Team to provide humanitarian and animal aid. The HSUS said this disaster was “shaping up to be a massive response”.

“The effort just to get there has been something like we’ve never experienced,” the HSUS said.

“But thanks to the tremendous outpouring of support from people like you, we are there and we will stay there as long as it takes.”

PETA's Animal Emergency team has stepped in to help local shelters and rescues in Puerto Rico.
PETA’s Animal Emergency team has stepped in to help local shelters and rescues in Puerto Rico.

PETA has also sent a team to the embattled territory, having to charter a plane to get there because of delays in commercial air travel.

“Six days and multiple canceled flights later, commercial air traffic remains at almost a standstill, while the lack of food, water, and power is quickly turning the already desperate situation in Puerto Rico into a tragedy,” a spokesperson said.

PETA’s Animal Rescue Team team consists of staff members trained in animal emergencies — all equipped with supplies and rescue gear and some who recently returned from Hurricane Harvey rescue operations in Texas and Louisiana.

PETA’s team is working with a stray dog and cat rescuer, which has taken in more than 350 animal refugees. The team supplied the animals with food and clean water, scrubbed the cages, and comforted traumatized animals.

Tax-deductible donations can be made at www.BrookeUSA.org/disaster for Maria’s equine victims. 

Donations to the HSUS’s Disaster Relief fund can be made here.

Donations can be made to PETA’s Animal Emergency Fund here.

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