Press release: The Sato Project
The Sato Project is collaborating with Wings of Rescue, Freekibble.com and GreaterGood.org on an unprecedented airlift of 250 rescue dogs from Puerto Rico to the East Coast. On July 3, a chartered plane will bring emergency relief supplies from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to San Juan, PR. In the early hours of July 4 it will fly back to mainland with 150 dogs destined for shelter partners. That evening, it will return once more to San Juan to pick up an additional 100 dogs and complete its journey in Teterboro, New Jersey—where the dogs will be welcomed by adopters, some of whom have waited six months to bring their new family members home.
There is a stray dog epidemic in Puerto Rico, where an estimated 500,000 roam the streets and municipal shelters average a 94 percent euthanasia rate. For nearly a decade, The Sato Project has rescued, rehabilitated, and flown 4,000+ rescue dogs to the Northeast. COVID-19 drastically impaired rescue and transport missions; stay-home orders and travel restrictions stranded adoptable dogs on the island since March. Meanwhile, adoption rates have increased dramatically on the mainland and the demand for adoptable dogs is high.
Almost all 250 dogs being evacuated were rescued from the streets Puerto Rico, pulled from overburdened municipal shelters impacted by recent earthquakes, or saved from severe hoarding and abandonment cases. These healthy, friendly dogs have health certificates signed by licensed veterinarians and—if not already matched with families—are candidates for immediate adoption. The Independence Day transport also includes several dogs traveling as a part of The Sato Project’s No Dog Left Behind program, which has reunited 200 pets with their families who were displaced by Puerto Rico’s multiple natural disasters.
Wings of Rescue has been flying from Puerto Rico for over three years, and since Hurricane Maria devastated the United States Territory, has flown over 50 flights carrying more than 4,000 pets to safety and bringing in over 140,000 pounds of humanitarian and pet aid.
Freekibble.com was launched in 2008 as the vision of then 11-year-old Mimi Ausland. Mimi was passionate about animals and wanted to feed the homeless pets at her local shelter. Freekibble has donated over 21 million nutritious meals to homeless dogs and cats in shelters, rescues, and food banks across the country. Freekibble is working with Halo, Purely For Pets and GreaterGood.org to donate the pet food.
Additional support for this mission is being provided by BARK, The RTA Store, Sidewalk Angels Foundation and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.