2001-Fri Sep 22 09:42:22 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Christina Beckles, a British-born former champion amateur boxer, has spent the last six years working to save the lives of abandoned satos (slang for mongrels) on Puerto Rico's Dead Dog Beach — a place that’s every bit as horrific as it sounds. After volunteering for other groups, Beckles started The Sato Project last November, bringing dogs saved from the beach to the continental United States. So far, she’s managed to remove 80 dogs, placing 60 of them in new homes. (You can follow The Sato Project’s daily work on Facebook and Twitter.)
In an exclusive interview, she talks to Vetstreet about how the dogs of Puerto Rico changed her life.
A. Christina Beckles: “I first went to Puerto Rico six years ago. My husband, Bobby, who is a stuntman, was filming down there.I visited him for a week, and even before I went, he warned me about the dog situation there. 'It must be bad,' I thought. But nothing could prepare me for what I saw: usually very cute pups who sometimes chew rocks because they are so hungry.It broke our hearts. I spent the week feeding as many as I could, and on the plane home I became determined to do something. I found a couple of rescue groups working in Puerto Rico and began volunteering for them. I quit a lucrative consulting job three years ago to rescue full time.”
A. “I believe it is a generational issue. Grandparents are used to seeing animals living on the streets, so it becomes the norm for their children and their grandchildren.Education is key, and it needs to begin with very young children. They need to know that it is not acceptable to run over a dog in the street because it did not move out of your way quickly enough. They need to be educated about spay/neuter, regular vaccination practices and responsible pet ownership.”
A. “The biggest challenges are funds and a ‘safe house' to put the dogs in once we pull them from the beach.Currently, when we rescue dogs, they go directly to our vet’s office for a complete health assessment, vetting, vaccinations and a spay or neuter. If the vet’s office is closed, we have nowhere to put our dogs. I would like to purchase some land, where we can build kennels. But my ultimate goal is to open an eco-friendly bed and breakfast, where people can come on 'rescue' holidays and then escort dogs back to the U.S.”
A. “The average cost for a 'healthy' dog — heartworm free, no skin issues or mange — is $500.Then we have to transport them to the U.S., which averages $250 per crate. My husband has funded the majority of my work for the past few years. The Sato Project also has a very stringent adoption application — we turn down more people than we approve.”
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.