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To: Reps. Don Bacon, R-Neb., Andrea Salinas, D-Oregon and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Resident Commissioner González-Colón, Jenniffer, R-PR, in the House. Senate Sponsor Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Senate Co-sponsors

Stop Animal Cruelty in Puerto Rico

The Governor of Puerto Rico does not support laws that protect animals from cruelty.

In January 2021, Gov. Pierluisi publicly announced that he is “committed to supporting an industry ...that represents our culture and our history” and that he, along with Delegate Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez Colon, R-Puerto Rico, “will continue to fight for them [cockfighters].” When Puerto Rico’s leading politicians announce publicly to cockfighters that they can operate there and that they will “fight for them,” should it surprise anyone that the dogfighters take away the same message that the federal rules also shouldn’t apply to them? (Credit: Wayne Pacelle, President, Animal Wellness Action; President, Center for a Humane Economy)

Animal cruelty in Puerto Rico is rampant. Over one million animals suffer in the streets and beaches, dumped in remote locations or on busy highways, or chained and beaten with no water or food. In Puerto Rico, it is common practice to dump dogs or move out of a house and leave one or more dogs locked inside with no food or water, or to chain a dog outside in the sun without water or food. Even though Puerto Rico has had an advanced statute for the protection and promotion of animal welfare for more than ten years : Act No. 154-2008, as amended, better known as the “Act for Animal Welfare and Protection,” people commit these acts knowing there is no law enforcement for animals. Mayors of the municipalities take their lead from the Governor and the police take their lead from the mayors.

Today, every government run shelter is a high-kill shelter, there is no humane government facility for animals, little to no effort is made toward educating the public against not sterlizing dogs and cats. There is no government voice denoising abuse, neglect, abandonment, poisoning, shotting, or driving over animals. There is no government program assisting with spaying and neutering to help to control the stray population. There is almost no enforcement of animal cruelty laws and an extremely small number of police officers trained in enforcing the laws. There are not enough rescues to help even half the suffering animals, much less turn the tide of overpopulation, and there are not enough fosters or homes to take them all in to provide safety and care.

Beside the old way of thinking that supports cockfighting in the name of "culture," the government of Puerto Rico has a very long history of atrocities against animals and corruption that does not allow for fair decision-making regarding the fair and humane treatment of animals.

Animals are abused as a matter of course by corruption because they have no voice and cannot speak up or vote. There are many forms of animal cruelty, cockfighting and dogfighting are among the most egregious, but cruelty is cruelty. To list only a few examples:

-2007: Massacre in Barceloneta--Around 80 dogs seized by government contractors and thrown off the 50-foot highway bridge. (Government contractors are chosen by and paid very well by the government.)

-2016: Legislation introduced in both the Puerto Rico House and Senate (PC2950, PS1631) that would have put a 5-year ban on all breeding and mandated sterilization of every dog in Puerto Rico was shot down. Among the opponents, Senator Dalmau, who subsequently receive the Legislator of the Year Award from the American Kennel Club (AKC) ( AKC is an organization that profits from dog breeding and had a revenue of over 65 million dollars in 2016. Weather money was given with the award is not clear.

-2018: The U.S. Department of Agriculture cancelled the Mayaguez Zoo’s exhibitor’s license after citing dozens of violations in previous years. The zoo was not closed by the Government of Puerto Rico until 2023.

-2022: After a DECADE of receiving multiple complaints from Puerto Rican citizens about animal cruelty and neglect, the municipality of Ponce canceled its agreement with government contractor Animal Rescue and Protection Services (“ARPS”). ARPS engaged in negligent animal care and questionable euthanasia practices in its contract for domestic animal control. (Government contractors are chosen by and paid very well by the government.)

-2023: Antonio Casillas Montero convicted of running a dogfighting ring for over 35 YEARS in Humacao. The federal prosecutor stated that “Casillas’s conduct is on the extreme end of the spectrum of cruelty in an already cruel form of abuse.” Although Casillas's activities cost countless suffering and lives he was only sentenced to seven years ( Thirty-five years is too long for the government and law enforcement of Humacao to have not known or intervened.

Why is this important?

Please help us petition lawmakers to pass the FIGHT Act, H.R. 2742/S. 1529, The Fighting Inhumane Gambling and High-Risk Trafficking (FIGHT) Act and to build law enforcement for animal welfare and protection within Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. -- no matter what's it's status -- and therefore, so too is the corruption that has breed cruelty towards animals in Puerto Rico.

The FIGHT Act is a much needed step towards humane treatment of animals in Puerto Rico. The necessary law enforcement is equally important for the enforcement of animal rights laws. The FIGHT ACT must include law enforcement support and measures. Puerto Rico does not need one more law that WILL NOT BE ENFORCED!

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2024-04-16 20:00:08 -0400

This is what we are fighting.

2024-03-07 11:27:46 -0500

100 signatures reached

2024-02-25 20:39:23 -0500

50 signatures reached

2024-02-14 20:35:22 -0500

25 signatures reached

2024-02-11 08:00:42 -0500

10 signatures reached