The Defensa Open Rescue Program

is for

  1. Un-owned Dogs/Puppies & Cats/Kittens
  2. Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) of feral cats

For other situations or animals please read our Rescue, Other Rescue Groups & Vets or Spay Neuter pages.

  • We help with Vet Services and Marketing for Adoption / We do not take in cats or dogs / We can take Horses if you get the Police or Owner to release to Defensa
  • We do NOT require adoption fees or donations to help – We do require constant email communication, updates, photos and the sharing of our fundraising efforts
  • If you ​rescued a dog or cat from Rincon Puerto Rico you can ​also get help from ARF of Rincon/(939) 697-8161
  • If you rescued 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 street rescue.  That forever home can even be with you the rescuer but you must follow the steps that apply to your needs
  • We have no shelter, we do NOT take responsibility for your rescue
  • If you need to fly your rescued animal off the Island please read our Airline Travel Page
  • We tend to find rescued animals homes within ONE to THREE 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.

#1 –  “LIKE” us on Facebook/DefensaRincon and post your rescue animal/the situation on our wall.    

  • POST  the situation directly to our Defensa Facebook Page – PLEASE tell us the story of your rescue.  We will use it to raise funds allowing us to help – please put some time and thought into telling the story in detail as it happened, inspiring people to help.   FB will allow only one photo in the post – but you can add more photos in the comments after you post!
  • Give the animal a NAME and don’t change that name while working with us.   This helps us track the situation – it is also required for Vet records so stick with whatever name you use in your initial post.
  • Tell everyone WHAT you are doing for the animal verses WHAT you need help with for the animal

#2 – After you make the post  – SEND AN EMAIL if you’d like financial 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. We have emergency Vet information 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-urgent vet care.

  • Animal Name – it must have a name for the Vet Office – the name can NOT change while you are working with Defensa – Please make sure that name is in the SUBJECT OF YOUR EMAIL – and it should be the same name you posted to our FB wall in above step – Please CONFIRM YOU MADE THE FB POST.  Naming Notes: You can do one email for a litter of animals but they all still individual names.
  • Include in the text of the email the name, email address and phone number of the person taking the animal to the Vet and 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).  Note: Mayaquez Miradero is the only one open Saturdays and late night.  Note*: Cats are ALWAYS spay/neutered at Isabela Pet Vet unless you or a friend want to make a $40 donation.  NOTE DECEMBER 2015 – until otherwise noted, all dogs under 60 lbs will also need to go to Isabela Pet Vet to be spay/neutered unless you or a friend want to make a $65 donation.   Note:  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 – and ?
  • Animal photos & Story of Rescue – we need lots of quality photos and a story to raise money.  This should basically be what you wrote in your FB post on #1 above.

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.

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

email to the following and we will create a ‘for adoption’ page that shows on our Animals for Adoption page as well as AllPaws, PetFinder, AdoptAPet, etc.  Note for litters: All animals in a litter need to be adopted out individually so you will need a different email for each animal’s adopt page.

  1. Animal Sex
  2. Current Weight & Potential full grown weight – make a guess and confirm with Vet when you go
  3. 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.
  4. Age
  5. Two or three quality photos of your animal – showing the face and eyes move people.
  6. 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
  7. Exactly where the animal will be kept city, phone & email

Suggestions on Marketing your rescue for Adoption .

Consider bringing your rescue to the weekly Sunday Rincon Farmers Market?   This is an excellent venue to meet potential adopters.  We don NOT recommend giving your rescue to anyone at the Market.  But make the contact and interview them as you would any other adoption inquiry.  We are here to help but we believe the rescuer knows best which adopter / situation will work for their rescue.  That is why the rescuer gets the final say on who adopts and we do not ask for adoption fees.  We always welcome donations – we only work off donations

Reach out to us or others and find 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 as you market your animal for adoption!!!

Read the rest of this page – It is helpful and important if you are trying to rescue an animal

Give us up to 24hrs to respond to your emails – sometimes we respond immediately but we can not guarantee that.   If you have an emergency situation and you can’t wait reach out on facebook (use the many groups listed below – post and post asking for the help you need).  You should also continue to read this page if you need more help or want the fastest happiest results for your rescue.  We also have emergency Vet information listed on our Vet page.

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 are happy to try to help.  *BUT* you must actively post photos and updates to our Facebook/DefensaRincon wall on your animal so we can inspire our followers to help cover those costs*  On your posts say what you need and why you need it.

If your animal needs to find a Forever home, You NEED to do the following

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Make the animal available to potential adopters/families Sundays at the Rincon Farmers Market 10am to noon – Normally Defensa has a table at the Rincon Farmers Market.  You can bring your rescue, we have adopt flags you can use at the Market.  We have had several animals adopted by great families who meet them at the Market.  We do not recommend giving your rescue to someone at the Market immediately – but make the connection and stay in touch with them to decide if they are the right home for your rescue.   They don’t have to be local to PR.  Many times tourists will make a connection with a Defensa assisted rescue at the Market and then the animal will fly at a later date to them – see our Travel page for more information on airline travel.
  • 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.