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Puerto Rico's Massacre At The Bridge

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PHOTO: In this photo released by Animal Protectors Network, animal rights activist Leisha Swayne comforts Yoli, a pet dog seized along with dozens of others by animal control workers several days earlier and apparently left for dead where she was thrown off a rural highway bridge in the San Juan area, Friday, Oct. 12, 2007. The dog, among only a few to survive, suffered a broken spine, pelvis, and other broken bones. Animal welfare groups will help Puerto Rico housing project residents pursue legal action after animal control workers seized their pets and hurled them to their deaths from a bridge, an activist said Sunday. (AP Photo/Maritza Rodriguez, Animal Protectors Network)

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[HUD: Headquarters, Washington DC]
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Brian E. Sullivan
451 7th Street S.W., Rm. 10134 • Washington, DC 20410
ph: 202-708-0685, ext. 7527 • email:

[HUD: Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands]
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
San Juan Field Office, Michael A. Colón, Field Office Director
235 Federico Costa Street, Suite 200 • San Juan, PR 00918
ph: 787-766-5201; fax: 787-766-5995 • email:

Hon. Sol Luis Fontánez Olivo, Barceloneta Mayor
P.O. Box 2049 • Barceloneta, P.R. 00617-2049
ph: 787-846-3400; fax: 787-846-0089
web email form: contactenos.aspx

Puerto Rico Government Sites: other-pr.htm

The Honorable Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá, Governor of Puerto Rico
BMB 110202 • Calle San Gustos • San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901-1711
ph: 787-977-6317; fax 787-977-6356 • email:

Hon. José F. Aponte Hernández, President of Puerto Rico's House of Representatives
PO Box 902228 • San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902-2228
ph: 787-721-6040, 787-721-6030 • email:

Hon. Kenneth McClintock, President of Puerto Rico's Senate
P.O. Box 9023431 • San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902-3431

Luis G. Fortuño, Representing The People of Puerto Rico in the United States Congress
126 Cannon House Office Building • Washington, D.C. 20515
ph: 202-225-2615; fax: 202-225-2154

Departamento de Justicia
Edificio Anexo, Piso 6
600 Calle Olimpo, Esquina Axtmayer
Pda. 11, Miramar, PR
ph: 787-729-2106, 2106,2185, 787-729-2516; fax 787-2059
SOURCE: progvic/PV_teldir.html

Office of Government Ethics of Puerto Rico
P.O. Box 194200 • San Juan PR 00919-4200
ph: 787-622-0305; fax: 787-754-0977 • emails:,,

Puerto Rico Tourism Company
P.O. Box 902-3960 • San Juan, P.R. 00902-3960
ph: 787-721-2400, 1-800-866-7827

ALL EMAILS IN THIS ALERT:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Dear U.S. Department of Housing and Government Officials of Puerto Rico:

I am appalled Mayor Sol Luis Fontanez's recent no-pet decree at three housing projects resulted in agonizing death for cats and dogs in the town of Barceloneta. Apparently Animal Control Solutions, under municipal contract to seize pets from residents threatened with eviction, rounded up animals and injected them with an unknown substance.

Distraught caretakers, including children, were told their animals would be transported to a shelter. Instead, animal control workers flung pets and strays from a bridge in Vega Baja. According to witnesses, the 50-foot drop left at least 50 animals dead and others dragging their shattered bodies to a nearby highway.

This incident is not only vulgar, but calls for legal action as well. I urge Mayor Fontanez and local law enforcers to pursue a criminal investigation and file animal cruelty charges against Animal Control Solutions owner Julio Diaz, his employees, and any outside parties involved in this crime. If convicted, please advocate the maximum incarceration and fines allowed by law.

I respectfully ask the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in Washington D.C. and San Juan, to conduct its own inquiry with special attention to how the abduction and brutal death of so many animals could occur despite HUD's lenient "pets in public housing rule." I encourage HUD to accommodate companion animals in all government-subsidized projects and better clarify its rule to local housing officials and residents.

In America, roughly 73 million dogs and 90 million cats live as companions with people (American Pet Products Manufacturers Association 2005-2006 National Pet Owners Survey). Obviously, these gentle and loyal creatures are family members.

I am reluctant to visit Puerto Rico as a tourist until government officials implement sweeping animal welfare reforms. Please uphold animal protection laws and penalize those who abuse or kill animals in violation of the law. I encourage the government to enact a pet registration law and develop a network of municipal shelters that maintain veterinary supervision, mandatory sterilization, vaccinations, microchip identification, and responsible adoption policies.

As images of diseased, starving and abused animals resonate around the world, people who value sentient life will boycott Puerto Rico as a travel destination. Let this massacre at the bridge serve as a wake-up call for significant advances in the humane treatment of animals.

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