Puerto Rico’s “Dead Dog Beach” could take on an even darker meaning following Hurricane Maria.
Before the storm, the sandy stretch was infamous among animal rescue groups, who knew it as the spot where people went to abandon their abused and neglected pets.
Now, Christina Beckles, founder of the Sato Project, worries there are no dogs left to save.
On a recent rescue trip to the ravaged country, the New Yorker who started her non-profit to save and rehome the forgotten dogs of Puerto Rico, found no canines left on Dead Dog Beach, leading her to believe all of them washed away during Hurricane Maria.
“Once the hugs and tears were over, the first thing we all wanted to do was go to the beach to look for our feral dogs,” Beckles wrote in a Facebook post about the heartbreaking trip. “Sadly, we did not find them and our hearts are heavy with the reality upon seeing the utter devastation at the beach — they did not survive.”
This is just one of the mounting tragedies Puerto Rico is facing following the devastating storm.
“It’s a war zone,” Beckles told the New York Post. “There is no power or water. We are under curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Food is becoming scarce and people are getting desperate. Looting has already begun. The lines to get gas are seven to ten hours long — to receive $10 worth of gas.”
The animal rescuer lost her own home on the island because of Hurricane Maria. On her most recent trip to Puerto Rico, Beckles found her home flooded with six feet of water contaminated with raw sewage.
“We had to wade through thigh high black water to get to it. Everything we own is gone,” she said.
It is the sense of community that is getting Beckles through. And while Dead Dog Beach is barren, Sato Project has still found there are animals that need help during this difficult time.
“We have rescued three dogs since the hurricane – all dumped during the storm. One is heavily pregnant and was with a small puppy,” Beckles said.
These dogs are scheduled to be transported off the island on Friday.