UPDATE: The dog’s arrival time in Tampa has been delayed to between 10pm and 11pm.

In Puerto Rico stray dogs, known as “Sato”, are considered vermin and endure starvation, illness, and unspeakable acts of torture. There are a reported 500,000 ‘Sato’ crammed onto the tiny island the size of Connecticut. Dogs are routinely dumped at “Dead Dog Beach” where they starve to death or become the targets of cruelty and torture by people who consider them worthless. In answer to this crisis, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is conducting a transport- Operation Breathing Room- to bring 200 of these dogs to the US mainland for rehabilitation and adoption. As an HSUS *Emergency Placement Partner (EPP), the Humane Society of Tampa Bay will receive 22 ‘Sato on Saturday, April 8th. The remaining 178 dogs will be received by other EPPs across the southeast. The dogs will arrive in Ft. Lauderdale at 2:00pm where they’ll be picked up by staff and transported back to the shelter at 3607 N. Armenia Avenue with an arrival time expected between 10pm and 11pm.  On site media contact: Nash McCutchen, 813-785-6922.

“It is heartbreaking to read accounts of these dogs,” said Humane Society of Tampa Bay Chief Executive Officer Sherry Silk. “Puppies and adult dogs are routinely used for target practice both with guns and vehicles, and many are subject to ritualistic torture. Not to mention the fact that they are starving and often suffering from illness and injury. We are proud to be part of this effort to end such horror.”

Once at the shelter the dogs will be assessed for medical needs and any special care, spayed/neutered, and brought back to physical and mental health. It is unknown when they will be available for adoption but the Society will keep the public updated on their progress through their blog, HumaneSocietyTampa.org/blog, and social media.

*Emergency Placement Partners are part of HSUS’s national network that aims to save animals from abuse by assisting with large-scale abuse cases such as hoarding situations, animal fighting, or puppy mill operations.  Once HSUS removes animals from abusive situations, Emergency Placement Partners step up to care for and place the animals. As local groups with access to local resources, Emergency Placement Partners provide the animals with veterinary care, rehabilitation, and ultimately, placement in lifelong homes. For more information on HSUS’s Emergency Placement Partners, visit humanesociety.org/epp.