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a person standing in front of a car with a dog

Dogs in the Dominican Republic have a complicated relationship with the people of the island. On the one hand, they are much loved family pets, spoiled with attention and food, and well looked after. They are also handy guard dogs for private residences, their barks alerting their owners of possible intruders.

The other side of the relationship sees dogs as pests. Stray dogs (known as Coconut hounds) roam the streets and the beaches in search of food and shelter. These laid back mutts are rarely aggressive, but in resort areas they are unwanted as they are classed as unclean and undesirable for tourists.

Changing Perspectives

As dogs are becoming more popular as household pets on the island, awareness is slowly growing for the plight of the coconut hounds. In recent years, the Dominican Republic has stepped up with animal cruelty legislation and campaigns to educate communities about proper animal care and reporting cruelty to charities and authorities.

Sterilization Campaigns

Highly successful sterilization campaigns operate throughout the country. Animal rescue charities, local vets and volunteers come together to offer free of charge sterilization to family pets and street dogs. If the owner is able to offer a donation it is greatly received, but the animal is treated no matter if a donation is provided or not. The campaign days are always full, and y encouraging responsible ownership, the number of stray dogs reduced without having to resort to trapping or poisoning.

Rehoming Campaigns

For the lucky strays that find themselves in the hands of a rescue charity, international rehoming campaigns work in full force to finally find them a safe home. Dogs are sent to their new owners as far away as Canada, United States and beyond. A flight with a volunteer and a change in the weather are the only discomforts as these dogs settle into their loving forever homes.

More Work to be Done

Despite increasing awareness and the success of these campaigns, there is still much more to be done for the animals of Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic. Charities work full time with limited resources, and in these times of pandemic have found it harder than ever to help the animals they love so much. For more information on how you can help in Punta Cana, you can contact Rescatame who will be happy to hear from you!