The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their partners will improve upon the Spayathon program for rounds two through four which will serve 15 municipalities in Puerto Rico. HSUS will expand reach to underserved communities across the island, increase accessibility of services to as many residents as possible, provide additional training for local veterinarians, add surgical teams, add mini clinics, distribute human relief donations, and provide equipment to applicants best qualified to open permanent HQHVSN clinics on the island. HSUS will expand reach to underserved communities and increase the accessibility of services by placing clinics in as many areas of the islands as possible and working with localities on efforts like bussing residents from remote areas. HSUS will provide additional training for local veterinarians to increase the local workforce’s capacity. HSUS will partner with ASPCA’s Humane Alliance training center to send island veterinarians and their staff to a training center in Asheville, North Carolina.
HSUS will add an entirely new surgical team to increase the number of animals served per round, adding as many as 2,000 clients served per round. HSUS will add “mini clinics”, where a limited number of surgeons will perform surgeries in one location at a time, to provide specialty assistance for rescue groups, inaccessible communities, community cat groups, and others that might not have access to the larger surgical rounds. HSUS will solicit more animal and human relief donations, working with groups like Greater Good to procure pet food, beds, toys, leashes, collars, flea/tick preventative, heartworm medications, and human clothing. HSUS will launch a vetting process for applicants interested in opening permanent HQHVSN clinics to serve the island for the future. Those selected will receive surgical equipment like autoclaves, surgical tables, anesthesia machines, and more, either to enhance their existing clinics or open new ones.
In fall of 2018, HSUS will: Support surgical and ground teams in purchasing consumables necessary for Rounds 2 and 3; Secure funding and donations of additional goods and services; Source Rounds 2 and 3 clinic locations to maximize coverage across the island; Purchase and ship all necessary equipment for Rounds 2 and 3; Procure housing, transport, etc. for volunteers and teams for Rounds 2 and 3; Add additional surgical team and expand each team’s veterinary roster; Procure additional donations of pet products and human products. From November 2018 to February 2019, HSUS will: Oversee Spayathon Rounds 2 and 3 (Nov 1-10, 2018 and Feb 1-10, 2019); Support surgical and ground teams in purchasing consumables necessary for Rounds 2 and 3; Secure funding and donations of additional goods and services; Source Rounds 2 and 3 clinic locations; Purchase and ship all necessary equipment; Procure housing, transport, etc. for volunteers and teams.
In spring of 2019, HSUS will: Support surgical and ground teams in purchasing consumables necessary for Round 4; Secure funding and donations of additional goods and services; Source Round 4 clinic locations; Purchase and ship all necessary equipment; Procure housing, transport, etc. for volunteers and teams; Oversee Spayathon Round 4 (May 1-10, 2019); Distribute supplies and equipment to entities selected to open and operate Puerto Rico’s first permanent HQHVSN clinics. In summer 2019, HSUS will: Select next location(s) for Spayathon and begin assembling teams; Engage current funders to provide equipment and donations for new Spayathon target location(s); Utilize the CGI network to increase opportunities for support of Spayathon in new location(s).
Before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico had overwhelming animal challenges. An estimated 300,000 stray dogs and 1,000,000 cats roamed the island, presenting a real risk of injury and transmission of zoonotic diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis, and negatively impacting tourism. The veterinary community was too small to serve the pet-owning population and services were unaffordable to many pet owners. Post Maria, many pet owners were forced to leave their pets behind, either because the airlines would not allow them to travel or because they were unable to find new housing that would accept them. Many of these pets were either taken into overburdened animal shelters or absorbed into the existing massive stray animal population, intensifying the problem. The local veterinary community was directly impacted by the disaster as clinics were left without power and veterinarians left the island. The ratio of people for each veterinarian is now 17,000 to one, with approximately 250 veterinarians on the island. The lack of veterinary resources in Puerto Rico has pushed the island’s pet population to crisis levels. In response, The Human Society of the United States (HSUS) launched Spayathon for Puerto Rico. Spayathon is a high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter initiative aimed to address pet overpopulation and train the local veterinary workforce. The two main goals of the program are: 1) alter/vaccinate animals to reduce the risk of disease and prevent the birth of unwanted animals; and 2) empower the local veterinary workforce by providing HQHVSN training and equipment to open clinics. The program has a unique model in which multiple clinics run simultaneously during at least four separate weeks in a year. HSUS works with local government, engages donors, assembles HQHVSN teams, and coordinates logistics for the equivalent of 32 surgical clinics. The initiative has completed one of four rounds, serving nearly 5,600 pet-owners/pets.
To continue expanding Spayathon, HSUS is seeking additional financial and in-kind support, including funds to subsidize additional surgeons and other veterinary support, donations of surgical equipment to facilitate high quality surgery, donations of pet and human items to be distributed to clients, and support for the practical needs of the surgical teams like rental housing, rental cars, airplane tickets, daily meals, etc.
HSUS offers interested partners a strong foundation and best practices in carrying out high quality, high volume spay neuter service initiative. For example, HSUS offers partner surgical groups all of the funding, equipment, and more to allow them to operate as efficiently as possible without requiring any outside funding sources. In addition, HSUS purchases equipment and supplies to subsidize the operation, cover expenses associated with deployment each team, and secure support from local animal shelters and rescue groups to handle client registration and management. HSUS acts as a facilitator and organizer between partners to provide the support and assistance they need to simply focus on what they do best – delivering quality patient care.