The Defensa Open Rescue Program

We help with Vet Services and Marketing for Adoption / We do not take in cats or dogs / We can take in Horses if you follow the steps in our Puerto Rico Horse Rescue Program.


  • We do NOT require adoption fees from adopters or donations from rescuers
  • We definitely DO require constant email communication, updates, photos and the sharing of our fundraising efforts
  • In the first week to 30 days you start the OPEN RESCUE program we require one NEW photo of your animal EVERY day!  This is how we raise the funds to help.  It is CRITICAL.  Ideally you can email the photo and short update to – if that is not possible we can connect you with a volunteer that you can text or facebook message.
  • If you ​rescued or own a dog or cat from Rincon Puerto Rico you can ​also get help from ARF of Rincon/(939) 697-8161
  • If you rescued or own a dog from anywhere in Puerto Rico you can also get help from Barks of Hope/201-966-196
  • Check with are Other Rescue Groups , around the Island, to compensate for what we can’t do.
  • We have you the rescuer to decide on the best forever home for your rescued animal.  That forever home can be with you the rescuer but you must still follow the email steps below.  We can help you decide if the home is a good home, we have some good questions for potential adopters at the very bottom of our Adopt Page.
  • If you need to fly your rescued animal off the Island please read our Airline Travel Page
  • We tend to find homes for rescued animals within ONE to TWO months *IF* you work the following system with GUSTO!

Our work and the situation for the homeless animals in Puerto Rico has been reported on by

CNN Senior Writer and Editor Heather Long in “Puerto Rico has become ‘dead dog island

Horse Nation Standing Ovation

The Documentary 100,000 The Movie.

Steps For You To Follow Please

#1 –  SEND AN EMAIL if you’d like help with Vet services

email to, answer all following questions that apply to your needs. Please give us up to 24hrs to respond to your email – sometimes we respond immediately but we can not guarantee that.  We can not reimburse for services after the fact – to use our funding you need an email from us PRIOR TO going to our Vets.   If you have an emergency situation, follow all these steps the same, add in the title of your email EMERGENCY SITUATION and  really reach out on facebook for other help from individuals and groups as we may not respond in time. We have Vets, including 24×7 Clinics listed on our Vet page.

Note: We will use your photos & rescue story from this email to create your rescue a fundraiser.  We will need to fund it prior to getting you non-life-threatening vet care.

  • Animal Name – it must have a name for the Vet Office – the name can NOT change while you are working with Defensa –  Naming Notes: You can do one email for a litter of animals but they all still individual names.
  • Photos & Story of the Reason you and the animal need help – This is important.  We are not privately funded, we work to raise every dollar and people donate based on stories and photos!  How did you find the animal or is the animal your animal, etc.
  • Include in the text of the email the name, email address and phone number of the person taking the animal to the Vet
  • You accept and understand the animal is your responsibility NOT Defensa’s responsibility, Yes or No?
  • Which Vet would you like to use  –  Aguada AMC or Mayaquez Miradero or Isabela PetVet (see our Vets page for more information to decide).  Picking Vet Notes:  
    • All owned animals must use Isabela Pet Vet.  For anything other than sterilization we start with a $50 limit – After your 1st Vet visit tell us the diagnosis and cost to treat – treatment will not begin until funds are raised – your help in sharing and promoting your animals fundraiser is CRITICAL, we will show you how!
    • Mayaquez Miradero is the only one open Saturdays and late night.
    • Cats are ALWAYS spay/neutered at Isabela Pet Vet unless you or a friend want to make a $50 donation.
    • Do NOT put the breed ‘Pitbull’ on any paperwork – see our Travel Page for other wiser options.  There are too many breed specific laws against Pitbull – it is something to be avoided.
  • List out what Vet Services are needed.   Vaccinations, Fecal, Spay/Neuter, for example

NOTE –  as long as you are wanting to continue with Defensa funding (money from Defensa for Vet Services) for your rescue you will need to send us an update on the animal with photos via email to EVERY DAY!   You also MUST get photos of your animal at the Vet with a Vet or Vet Tech in the picture with your animal.  We use the emails to raise donations.  We are not a privately funded rescue group, we rely on the public to donation to your rescue.   We will work hard to raise the money for your rescue but we can not do that without you driving the process and emailing us EVERY DAY UNTIL YOUR RESCUE IS FULLY FUNDED – Which can literally happen overnight, sometimes, because of generous people who help – But it takes excellent photos, rescue story and updates daily to happen!  Work with the Vet to determine all future services required and the estimated costs for those services.

#2 –  Do ANOTHER separate email  if you need Marketing for Adoption help

email to the following  PLEASE NOTE – We need you to monitor individual Puerto Rico Animal for Adoption page- make sure it gets made for you and you are responsible for sending updates once a week if you want the page to be maintained, otherwise we will take the page down.

  1. Animal Sex
  2. Current Weight & Potential full grown weight – make a guess and confirm with Vet when you go
  3. Measurements of your dog because we will work to get a crate donated.   This will be a travel crate so that if a home in the States is found (a home you approve of) we will have your dog ready to travel with a crate of his or her own.   Please be very exact in measurements as the airlines have rules.   Here is how to measure
  4. Breed – Primary & Secondary if mixed breed – make a guess and confirm with Vet when you go **remember do not put Pit bull on any official documents – it will hinder your rescue from travel if ever needed.
  5. Age
  6. Two or three quality photos of your animal – showing the face and eyes move people.
  7. Story and Bio on your animal – i.e., do they get along with other dogs, cats, children & people.  Include your personal contact information, email and phone number for the public
  8. Exactly where the animal will be kept city, phone & email

General Important Information for you to know – For Open Rescue Defensa may

  • *Spay/Neuter (*sterilization is a MUST unless otherwise directed by the Vet)
  • Spay the Mother of any puppies or kittens born to an owned dog/cat.  We need to stop the cycle, this is required.
  • Vaccinate
  • De worm
  • Create an Adopt Page that will be available on PetFinder, AllPaws & AdoptAPet
  • *IF YOU NEED MORE HELP with Vet care or food or anything …  we will help you ask the public – we do not fund unless donations are made

General Important Information for you to know – For Adopting Your Rescue

  • Reach out to a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER to take photos!  They will make a huge difference in your rescue getting adopted.   If you are anxious to find your animal a home you can even send us photos, stories and short videos daily.  We will market your animal for adoption as much (or as little) as you market your animal for adoption!!!
  • Defensa has Big Red ‘Adopt Me’ bandannas your rescued dog can wear while out on walks, email us to arrange to borrow one.
  • Be aware your rescued animal is FREE to a GREAT home, please let us neuter/spay before giving your rescue to anyone.  We welcome and need donations but they are NOT required if you feel the home is an excellent home for your rescued animal.  Make sure you pass all Vet records onto adopters (keep with your rescue Vet records – which Vets and which services have been received). If you need help deciding if the home is a good home we are here to help you – start by asking the interested adopter the questions at the bottom of our Adopt Page.  NOTE: If another rescue group wants to help you place your animal and they want to collect an adoption fee that is fine with Defensa.
  • Answer quickly and honestly any adoption inquiries forwarded to your from Defensa – include Defensa in that communication (or update us if communication is done via phone not email)
  • Market the animal on your own social media and network with your friends face to face – post cute short stories or videos DAILY .. people are watching and falling in love with your rescue SLOWLY!
  • Make attempts to raise funds for the animals eventual adoption/family (travel fees may be involved).  Google “online fundraising ideas”.  Or ask a local business anywhere in the world to donate a percentage of their sales – promoting helping the animal.  Or old fashion ‘bake sales’ work too.  If you raise money via a fundraising activity Defensa will require at a minimum  reimbursement of money spent by Defensa to help rescue your animal.  Defensa won’t  continue to work with the same Open Rescuer if they use Defensa finances without attempting to help Defensa find donations AND assist in marketing their rescued animal for adoption.
  • Feed and take care of the animal including vet visits when needed – Keep your animal clean, de-tick, de-flea – Again, if you need financial help with this please post to our Facebook Wall and we will work to get donations specifically for your animal.  People want to help but you have to ask.
  • Share your animal with these other Rescue Groups – the more groups you work with the better your chances are of finding a great home and faster.