From the city streets of San Juan to the most remote beaches, they’re among the most “invisible” of the homeless population. An estimated quarter of a million Sato (local slang for mixed-breed or “mutt”) dogs roam Puerto Rico, often abandoned by their owners and left to fend for themselves in a US territory where spaying and neutering animals is not common practice.
With the 2013 documentary Spirit Of The Sato, filmmaker Ellen La Torre took a quantum leap toward raising awareness of the plight of the Satos — drawing the participation of experts that include original “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan, and focusing on the efforts of Project Animal Worldwide, the Eatontown-based nonprofit organization presided over by La Torre. Partnering with dog-friendly Shore area businesses like Asbury Park’s Wonder Bar and entities like the Monmouth County SPCA, the people from PAW have run “Sato Reunion” missions to Puerto Rico; matching dogs with adopting homes throughout New Jersey and the region — and on Wednesday, April 29, the feature subtitled The Journey of Puerto Rico’s Lost Dogs receives a free screening at Middletown Township Public Library.
Scheduled for 7 pm in the library’s Community Room, the film shows how Project Animal and local volunteers are joining forces to establish spay and neuter interventions and humane education programs in Puerto Rico, in addition to their mainland adoption endeavors. The screening event is followed by a Q&A session featuring animal rescue specialist Kathy Miles, Volunteer and Community Outreach Director for the MCSPCA. As with all MTPL programs, there’s no charge to attend, and no reservations are required.