The Defensa Open Rescue Program

We help with Vet Services  and Marketing for Adoption for any rescued animal / We do not take in cats or dogs / We can assist with caring for a horse if the owner asks or we can take in a horse if released to us by the owner or police;  for horses please use this page Puerto Rico Horse Rescue Program.   For dogs and cats please see the following:

Overview of the Defensa Open 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
  • All photos received by you become the property of Defensa and as such can be used in any or all of our marketing to help more animals
  • 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 a QUALITY photo and short update to – if that is not possible we can connect you with a volunteer that you can text or facebook message
  • Non life threatening Vet services will NOT be authorize until funds/donations start coming in.   We have amazing followers who will donate if you take the time to write a true compelling story of your needs and send quality photos of your rescued animal – current examples here.
  • 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 are happy to work with you while you work with OTHER GROUPS TOO!!
  • We have you the rescuer 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.  More on how adoptions work with Defensa on the very bottom of our Adopt Page.
  • If you would consider flying your rescued animal off the Island for an adoption 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

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

email to, answer all following questions. 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 fundraiser.  We will need to fund it prior to getting you non-life-threatening vet care.   But know funds can come in within 24hrs *if* your story and photos are good.  For examples we strongly recommend you view our current Puerto Rico Rescued Animal (click).

  • 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 & fundraiser for a litter of animals but they all still  need individual names for the Vet.
  • Photos & Story / 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!  Again, read our current fundraisers if you need inspiration.
  • 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, it is NOT Defensa’s responsibility, Yes or No?
  • You release all photos you send to Defensa – your photos become public – to be used anywhere, Yes or No?
  • Do you use Facebook, Yes or No?
  • You understand if we don’t get daily communications from you we may close your wish and end Vet services funding, Yes or No?
  • You understand if we don’t get one new photo  from you daily we may close your wish and end Vet services funding, Yes or No?
  • For dogs we highly recommend you Do NOT put the breed ‘Pitbull’ on any paperwork –   There are too many breed specific laws against Pitbull – it is something to be avoided and most Vets understand dogs from the streets in Puerto Rico are mixed breeds and ‘Lab Mix’ is normally a good and accurate choice! 

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

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

  1. Animal Sex
  2. Breed – Primary & Secondary if mixed breed – make a guess and confirm with Vet when you go **remember do not put Pitbull on any official documents – it will hinder your rescue from travel if ever needed.
  3. Two or three quality photos of your animal
  4. Direct contact to the rescuer/person responsible for adopting the animal out – we need  city + zip code, phone & email
  5. Measurements for a travel crate.  Only if you are open to flying your rescue off Island to be adoption.   Please be very exact in measurements as the airlines have rules.  Read our Travel page and  how to measure
  6. You understand that if we don’t get weekly communications with you we will take down the adopt page, Yes or No?

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.
  • Be aware your rescued animal is FREE to a GREAT home, please let us neuter/spay **ALL ANIMALS** before giving your rescue to anyone.
  • 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 on your own and pass to Defensa.  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.
  • Write a review for Defensa on Great Non Profits page – people donate based on testimonials and real life experiences with Defensa.
  • Feed and take care of the animal including vet visits when needed – Keep your animal clean, de-tick, de-flea
  • 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.