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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sterilizing your Dog = Saving a Sato?

By Anna Winwood
SAS Volunteer
Puerto Rico – Miles upon miles of white beaches, rainforests and mountains, and an abundance of Stray Dogs. That’s right, Puerto Rico is overrun with Sato’s! It is estimated that Puerto Rico has a stray dog population well exceeding 100,000.  The Save a Sato Foundation has been rescuing abused and homeless animals off of the streets and giving them hope for a life they deserve. However, the Save a Sato Foundation cannot alleviate this problem without the help of the people of Puerto Rico.

Becoming a pet owner comes with responsibilities. Not only is it your responsibility to feed and properly house your pet, you have to have them sterilized. Allowing your dog to run the streets and mate with other dogs is causing significant problems. Unfortunately, once the dogs become impregnated and have a litter of puppies more times than not, the puppies are abandoned. By abandoned, they are either thrown to the streets where if they survive they will grow up to be unsterilized dogs who themselves will breed more puppies or they are left in a box at the door of Save a Satos Shelter of Miracles in San Juan. Over the past month - 23 puppies have been abandoned at the door of the shelter.

This is making it extremely hard for the dedicated people at Save a Sato to care for and rehabilitate the Satos that are already there. Some people believe that not sterilizing their pet has advantages. They believe that they can breed their dog and make money from selling the puppies. Others feel that they will be violating their dog, especially a male dogs’ manhood. By not sterilizing your dog, you are putting them at health risks as well as bringing puppies into the world that may end up on the streets. You are not in any way doing your dog a favor. If you sell your dogs puppies, you can be taking away a home for another puppy in need. Do the right thing and sterilize your dog so the homeless and less fortunate dogs have a chance at being adopted into a good home.
Sterilizing your pet has so many advantages. Not only will it help control the population of unwanted pets on the island, it is also healthier for your pet!

Spaying your Female dog has the following advantages:

o    No heat cycles, therefore males will not be attracted
o    Less Desire to roam
o    Risk of mammary gland tumors, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first heat cycle
o    Reduces number of dogs/puppies that are unwanted
o    Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives!

Neutering your Male dog has the following advantages:

o    Reduces or eliminates risk of spraying and marking
o    Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents
o    Risk of testicular cancer is eliminated, and decreases incidence of prostate disease
o    Reduces number of dogs/puppies that are unwanted
o    Decreases aggressive behavior, including dog bites
o    Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives!
Sterilization will not only benefit your pet but you and your community as well.  Stray animals can easily become a public nuisance, soiling parks and streets, ruining shrubbery, frightening children and elderly people, creating noise and other disturbances, causing automobile accidents, and sometimes even killing livestock or other pets. The only way to stop this from happening is to become a responsible pet owner and to sterilize your pet. Abandoning your pet or its offspring is not the answer.
New born kittens abandoned outside of Toy “R” Us in Carolina. Sadly they did not make it due to the fact they were taken from their mother too young.
Not only are the Satos of Puerto Rico suffering from hunger, they are also the victims of disease.  One of these diseases is Demodectic Mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites. This disease is common in malnourished animals.  If diagnosed early, the disease is very easy to cure. Sadly, when dogs contract the disease many times they are abandoned by their owners rather than having them treated. The disease then becomes so severe that the animal suffers extremely and the disease is spread to other Satos.
Diseases like this can easily be avoided. If your pet seems to be suffering from mange, bring them to a veterinarian so they can receive the proper medication.  More importantly have your pet sterilized so the stray animal population does not continue to grow. The fewer malnourished and stray animals there are, the less the disease will spread and more attention can be directed to the already sick animals.
A puppy that was found suffering from Severe Demodectic Mange

    There is no just cause in not sterilizing your pet. It makes for an all around healthier, happier animal.  With the help of responsible pet owners and the Save a Sato Foundation the overpopulation of Satos on the island of Puerto Rico can be greatly reduced.
The medicated puppy recovering at the Shelter of Miracles
For information on low cost spay/neuter services, please visit the Save a Sato webpage, .



  1. I have been requesting an interview with Save a Sato for PRSUN Radio. I have sent a few emails. My email is clarisel(at)

    PRSUN Radio is a podcast at It focuses on themes related to Puerto Ricans and the Diaspora.

  2. Clarisel write me to

  3. who do I contact about an abused dog? I live in PR now but am from KS and can't stand the mentality of much of the people here when it comes to animals!!!!! This poor dog needs HELP!

  4. call the cops, they can arrest for maltreatment of animals. I hate mentality of people here too against animals.

  5. I just adopted a SATO dog and she is a wonderful companion! Please spread the word that these dogs are so deserving a second chance! Living in Minnesota.