Enforce the law 248-12! – No more animal abuse and poisonings in the Dominican Republic!
After handing over the signatures in May 2018 the petition that had started in February 2013 closed temporarily and re-opened in October 2018 to support PAPROMAAN but it never came to a co-operation between us and PAPROMAAN never and so the petition closed finally with 38160 signatures.
What were our goals – what did we achieve?
In the beginning we reached out to the hotel and tourist industry, later to politicians. But the greatest effect the petition had on the tourists who vacation in the Caribbean, along with the sites on our homepage dealing with the topic tourism and animal welfare that were created during the time the petition ran. The awareness and behavior of tourists have changed considerably during this time. They have learnt that love for animals during the holidays means not to look away and also not to behave irresponsibly by feeding animals everywhere and encouraging them to seek places where they are not welcome, thus endangering their lives, but to take responsibility, also financially by paying the costs of a rescue which the local animal welfare organizations can’t do, and often enough tourists adopt the animals they found in need themselves. They have also learnt that in order to rescue an animal it is adamant to arrange everything necessary the vacation ends, especially concerning safe foster care. Also the interest to spend the vacation at an animal-friendly place has grown considerably.
Even though we couldn’t influence politicians or hotel chains we succeeded in reaching a lot of customers of an industry which a lot of southern countries depend on to a large degree and we hope that this influence will continue to grow in the future. We thank everybody who helped to support this process in the past or will do so in the future.
After the Dominican government didn’t show any reaction to the handing over of the petition Alexandra Morillo Velastegui founded the organization PAPROMAAN / Patronato de Protección del Medio Ambiente y los Animales for political animal welfare work with the goal zo enforce the Dominican animal welfare law Ley 248 and to improve veterinarian services-PAPROMAAN seeks the cooperation with mayors, communities and police. Already an impressive number of Dominican organizations have joined PAPROMANN:
Photo of the foundation ceremony of PAPROMAAN
We will continue to report here about the work of PAPROMAAN and ask for public support of campaigns, petitions. email actions and similar activities on the occasion.
Shortly after the handing over of the signatures the petition was closed by Change.org. We will report here about the reactions of the Dominican government as well as the local politics of Boca Chica where the election of a new mayor has brought our beach dog project temporarily to a halt and we will reopen the petition if needed.
On 05/16 we handed over the 42.259 signatures or our petition Enforce the law 248-12! No more animal abuse and poisonings in the Dominican Republic! (36.377 signatures) and the petition Cumpla la Ley 248-12 de Protección contra el maltrato y tenencia responsable de animales of Alexandra Morillo Velastegui (5882 signatures) to the president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina and 15 senior government officials!
Goal: The resumption of negotiations between Dominican animal welfare organizations and the Dominican government that have led in the past to the passing of the Dominican animal welfare law Ley 248-12 in order to improve the enforcement of this law.
Why did we coordinate the 2 petitions?
Because, once enforced, Ley 248-12 is also the solution for our cause, the ending of mass poisonings and cruelty against animals at beaches and holiday resorts. Poisonings are strictly prohibited by the law and punished with high fines or jail. And also foreign investors who run most Caribbean hotels have to abide by the laws of the country where they do business!
We will inform you about the government’s reaction and further developments.
We thank once again all supporters of our petitions!
Our petition shall stay open for some time also after the official presentation to support the enforcement of the Ley 248-12 as well as our beach dog project in Boca Chica, one of the most popular vacation spots in the Dominican Republic not too far from the capital where we spayed and neutered over 100 beach dogs in February. All were marked with yellow ear tags and shall be fed and medically cared for in the future at official feeding stations permitted by the town council of Boca Chica. The project will be accompanied by intensive information for tourists not to feed animals anywhere else and community outreach with spay and neuter operatives to prevent uncontrolled breeding and resultant abandonings and to promote responsible pet keeping. This project shall become a role model of humane stray animal population management also for other vacation spots. We expect news from Boca Chica shortly after Pentecost.
Our petition „No more poisoned and abused dogs and cats at hotels, beaches and in communities of the Caribbean!” that ran from 02/19/2013 until 06/10/2017 was reopened on 06/12/2017 in a revised version under the title „ Enforce the law 245-12! – No more animal abuse and poisonings in the Dominican Republic!“.
All poisonings and animal abuse against which our petition has protested during the past 4 years are offences against the Dominican animal welfare law 248-12 created by the Dominican animal rights organization SODOPRECA /Sociedad Dominicana para la Prevención de Crueldad a Animales and passed by the government in 2012. Since that day SODOPRECA is fighting for its enforcement. It is probably the best animal welfare law in all of the Caribbean but rarely put into practice. We want to combine our efforts to achieve this goal and have therefore adapted our petition to the petition of Alexandra Morillo Velastegui the aim of which is the realization of the law 248-12, addressing the president of the Dominican Republic. We ask everybody who has signed our petition in the past and therefore cannot sign the reopened one to sign the petition of Alexandra Morillo: : Change.org Petition „Cumpla la Ley 248-12 de Protección contra el maltrato y tenencia responsable de animales“
We will inform you here about
October 7th a great number of poisoned cats and dogs were found in San José de Ocoa near San Christobal. There has been no information about who committed this crime.
Here you find animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean that cooperate with animal welfare organizations and spay and neuter their animals instead of poisoning them.
We want to offer hotels and communities the following
Petition „Enforce the law 245-12! – No more animal abuse and poisonings in the Dominican Republic!“
The petition letter
The Dominican animal welfare law Ley 248-12 has been developed by the Dominican animal rights organization Sociedad Dominicana para la prevencion de Crueldad a los animales / SODOPRECA and was passed on the 08/15/2012 by the Dominican government. It is probably the best animal welfare law in all of the Caribbean but it is rarely put into practice and often ignored or violated by exactly those authorities that should guarantee its enforcement!
According to the law animal abuse and poisonings of animals are punished with 3 months – 1 year in prison or fines of 26 – 50 monthly minimum wages.
But there are countless offences with complete impunity and many poisonings of animals already spayed and neutered. Often authorities like Public Health or hotel managers in centers of tourism are involved.
In March 2017 dogs were poisoned directly at the palace of justice of San Pedro de Macoris. Everything was done to hush up this crime and to delete all info in the internet.
In February 2016 19 already spayed and neutered dogs and cats were poisoned on the grounds of the Feria Ganadera in Santo Domingo which resulted in a big protest march.
In August 2016 11 owned dogs and cats were poisoned in Vista del Caribe, Cabarete. 2014 all dogs at the beach of Boca Chica were poisoned. In September 2014 the Britisch author Alfred Fox reported about the poisoning of 40 dogs by the hotel Sirenis, Bavaro Uvero Alto, Punta Cana, which occurred while he was staying there:
On Oktober 11th 2014 dogs and cats were poisoned near the hospital Vinicio Calve that were cared for by animal welfare activists.
2012 40 dogs were poisoned in Bayahibe that had been already spayed and neuterd by the animal welfare organization Collares Rojos.
These are only a few examples of crimes where the offenders never were punished. Together with SODOPRECA and other Dominican animal welfare organizations we fight for the enforcement of the Dominican animal welfare law Ley 248-12 and ask the Dominican president Danilo Medina to ensure that the law is put into practice!
We ask all that have already signed our petition “No more poisoned and abused dogs and cats at hotels, beaches and in communities of the Caribbean!” and therefore can’t signed the reopened petition anymore to sign the petition of Alexandra Morillo Velastegui:
Petition „No more poisoned and abused dogs and cats at hotels, beaches and in communities of the Caribbean!”
02/19/ 2013 – 03/ 05/ 2017
The petition letter
Would you like to spend your vacation at a beach where dogs died in agony of poison because of you and were removed shortly before you arrived? Or be horrified by meeting starving, mutilated, cruelly abused and suffering animals every step of the way when taking a stroll through the community close to your resort, wanting to get to know more about your holiday paradise, visit the local market to taste delicious tropical fruits or buy a souvenir that will remind you of a wonderful vacation all year until it’s time to go on holiday again? Animals that are pets, family members and dearest friends there where the tourists come from?
Every year stray animals are poisoned in communities, at hotel grounds and at beaches of the Caribbean, because one believes that they may disturb the tourists.
Among the victims are often animals like Piggy ("My last day"), which have been already spayed and neutered by animal welfare organisations. Sometimes mass poisonings take place to "clean" an area before the beginning of the tourist season. Most tourists have no idea that so many animals suffer such a cruel death because of them and are horrified when they learn about this.
Other animals die by the thousands of starvation, neglect, abuse in the Caribbean communities after a short life full of cruelty and misery. They are beaten to death, hung up, drowned and tortured in any unspeakable ways because communities and politicians don’t care and refuse to pass and enforce animal welfare laws! Tourists are shocked when getting to know their holiday spots a little closer. And many of them decide not to return. Official studies show that there is a measurable loss in profit for both Tourist industry and the Caribbean economy because tourists choose other holiday destinations dismayed by the cruelty against animals they have met in the Caribbean, taking home with them most unpleasant memories…
But tourism as the essential factor of Caribbean economy also means hope and a chance for a better future for poor animals because tourists have the power and the possibility to take action! By signing our petition you make clear that you will never spend your holidays somewhere where animals are killed instead of being spayed and neutered and where animal welfare laws are not being enforced and animal abuse isn’t punished.
Tourists' protests prevented the planned mass killing of Antiguan strays; the Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society got permit to spay and neuter instead. And on many other Caribbean islands tourists are helping animals as well.
With your signature on our petition, we can convince Caribbean officials and the tourist industry that poisoning animals and animal abuse is bad for business!
The chronology of the petition
After a running period of four years the petition closes with 32,900 signatures.
We thank our supporters!
Thie objective of this petition hasn’t been to influence individual key figures and decision-makers but to start a development towards a better future for animals at Caribbean holiday paradises by raising the awareness of tourists, informing them how many animals die because the hotel industry believes that they may disturb tourists, showing how tourists can change that and making the tourist industry realize that most of their customers want a humane treatment of animals at their holiday destinations.
During this time our hotel guide “Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean” was developed, listing currently 47 hotels in 16 Caribbean states, among them also 20 Punta Cana hotels, the main recipients of our petition. Unfortunately these hotels didn’t maintain the necessary standard as the local animal welfare organization Rescátame told us and had therefore to be taken off the hotel guide. As long as the corporations that owns these hotel brands are not interested in animal welfare it is not possible to guarantee that the hotels will meet the requirements for animal-friendliness on a continuous base.
November 2017 our cooperation with Rescátame ended.
Here the hotels in Punta Cana, that cooperated with animal welfare during the years 2013 – 2017:
Tourists have come to notice our hotel guide as well as our page “Animal welfare addresses in the Caribbean”, which lists animal welfare organizations on each Caribbean island. The season 2016/17 is the first where no tourist has asked us for help for an animal AFTER returning home from their vacation – much too late! All have contacted us either still from their vacation spot or already before starting the journey.
This is the beginning that we had hoped to reach with the petition. But a lot remains to be done! Also in the future we depend on the help of tourists: Please notify us about the experiences you make with hotels during your vacation! And please continue to follow our advice on our intro page Tourism and Animal welfare: Ask the hotel that you stay at to cooperate with the local animal welfare organization and to get the animals on the hotel ground and at the hotel beach spayed and neutered. Make it clear that your return to this hotel or its recommendation to others depends on that and that you will report about your experiences when you return back home. And please take the time to write a few lines about the experiences you made at your holiday resort on tripadvisor.
We continue to offer hotels to spay and neuter animals, maintain feeding places and inform tourists.
No Reaction also is a Reaction (03/26/2017)
Here the list of hotels in Punta Cana that received the petition but didn‘t react until the 03/05/2017 so that we cannot recommend them without reservations because we cannot guarantee that unwanted dogs and cats are not poisoned there. Please be aware that hotels in Punta Cana often change names and owners. Every season there are new openings or hotels appear under different names. This list shows the status at the closing date of the petition. We advise animal lovers to visit our hotel guide Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean.
The petition has 32,745 signatures.
3 new hotels on Saba could be added to our travel guide “Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean”.
The petition has 31,726 signatures.
8 new hotels could be added to our travel guide “Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean”, 6 on Grenada and 2 in the Dominican Republic.
But not all news are good. -> also see Set Backs / Bad News
2 new hotels on Bequia could be added to our travel guide “Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean”
The petition has more than 30,600 signatures.
6 new Dominican hotels are added to our travel guide Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean; La Hacienda in Las Galeras and the 5 Punta Cana hotels Hard Rock Hotel, Breathless Punta Cana, Catalonia Royal Bavaro, VIK Hotel Cayena Beach and IFA Villas Bavaro.
The Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa adopted a stray dog as company for their security guards, has an adoption board with pictures of RescátaMe puppies looking for a home and donates sheets, towels and cleaning materials regularly.
…and fell in love with beach dog Anna which had to stay behind when they left because Anna’s travel documents weren’t ready. The cargo flight, far more expensive than flying a dog accompanied by a person, seemed out of reach for the newlyweds. But Hard Rock managers Michelle Alonzo and Ralf Schaarschmidt collected over 500 US dollars amongst their colleagues for Anna's ticket so she could fly!
The petition has 30,200 signatures.
The Princess hotels Caribe Club Princess, Tropical Princess, Bávaro Princess and Punta Cana Princess get the cats on the resort grounds spayed and neutered with the help of RescátaMe and are being added to our travel guide Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean.
Animal Welfare Demonstration (03/05/2016)
Our partner RescátaMe organized this demonstration in the capitol Santo Domingo on March 5th for the dogs and cats poisoned at the Feria Ganadera February 21st and for the enforcement of the Dominican animal welfare law 248 - 12. They shall not have died for nothing!
The petition has 29,000 signatures.
Three months after the island of Nevis was added to the petition we have first reactions from there:
April 16th 2015 a British tourist wrote a complaint addressed to the minister of tourism on Nevis after having observed a very cruel and brutal method people use to “train” dogs for illegal dog fights: Dogs and puppies are thrown into the sea with heavy chains around their necks and held there for extended periods of time while they are trying desperately to swim ashore, always nearly at the point of drowning. The complaint wasn’t answered. 10 months later, on February 16th 2016 we re-sent the complaint in the name of all supporters of the petition. Three days later the minister answered. He excused himself for not answering sooner, assured that the described incident was not common on Nevis where dog fights are illegal. He referred to actions already taken to improve animal welfare on Nevis such as spay and neuter campaigns and educational work with children and adolescents which prove the intention to cooperate with animal welfare organizations. He admitted though the need for further education of the people on Nevis. Both mails are found in the original version here:
Good news from Punta Cana:
The department for ecology and environment of the Punta Cana airport is getting the cats there spayed and neutered! At least 20 – 30 animals!
RescátaMe has placed the traps. The first cats are caught; one tom cat is neutered already!
But not all news are good: The project was cancelled after only 10 spays -> also see Set Backs / Bad News
The petition has more than 26,800 signatures.
After adding Nevis the petition addresses now also politicians on the islands Barbados and Jamaica.
The petition has reached 25,600 signatures.
When reaching the milestone of 25,000 signatures, it was changed from a petition for the Dominican Republic to a petition for the whole Caribbean.
The reason for this were shocking news that reached us from Nevis
All Caribbean animal welfare organizations are invited to add recipients of the petition as they wish.
Our petition has over 23,000 signatures.
In Punta Cana all 6 hotels of the world’s biggest resort operator Meliá Hotels International (over 350 hotels in 40 countries) cooperate with RescátaMe. That means that a dozen hotels (over 10%) in Punta Cana can now be called animal-friendly.
The petition has currently over 22,500 signatures.
Tropical paradises of the Caribbean
Since August 12th our flyer with the link to animals welfare addresses on all Caribbean islands is added to all travel brochures, offers and confirmations of a travel agency of Kuoni, Switherland’s biggest travel company. The link to our website and the link to animal welfare organisations at the holiday destination from our site Animal welfare addresses in the Caribbean is added to each confirmed booking. We hope that many other travel agencies and companies will follow this example.
The petition has almost 22,000 signatures.
The hotels Paradisus and Paradisus Palma Real spay and neuter their cats! RescátaMe bring the traps. Dr. José Malaret operates the animals. All resort cats shall be spayed and neutered.
9 hotels cooperate now with RescátaMe, that means that more than 13% of the hotels in Punta Cana can be called animal-friendly.
The name of the petition will be changed to “No more poisoned dogs and cats at hotels and beaches of the Dominican Republic!”
The petition has 20,477 signatures!
May 23rd - 26th Caribe Spay Neuter from Florida held a big clinic in Punta Cana. 328 animals were spayed and neutered. Facebook users find here all photos of the operative:
6 hotels donated accomodation for the vets and vet technicians:
Arena Blanca ( already on Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean)
The hotel staff called RescátaMe when they became aware of this puppy with a swollen leg at the beach. He was taken to the vet. Luckily the leg wasn't broken. After his recovery he was neutered and returned to the hotel where animal loving guests can enjoy being welcomed by him.
The petition has 19,950 signatures now!
The petition has more than 17,300 signatures.
The Royalton in Punta Cana is spaying and neutering the hotel cats with the help of RescátaMe and Dr. José Malaret!
Jennifer Schilling and her daughter Brienna made very positive experiences during their stay at the Royalton in April 2015.
Hotel tourism director Alexander Freeland was more than helpful paticipating himself in the cost of neuter and vaccination. Staff and guests attended with great approval and concern Max's departure to the clinic of Dr. Malaret. Max rests as permanent resident at the Royalton, being well-fed and taken care of. His girlfriend Strawberry is waiting for her turn at Dr. Malaret's...
Jennifer Schilling's personal review about the Royalton Punta Cana you can read on Tourists Report under http://wiki.kreolischerhund.de/en/doku.php?id=punta_cana.
The tourist Anja Mia Wagener who has saved the injured little dog Miko at the Royalton has written about her experiences on our wiki (Punta Cana/Royalton).
Some readers of the wiki have written to the hotel asking to keep the promises made by the hotel management to Mrs Wagener in a letter published there, too. The Royalton's answer: "...We actively support organizations like “Rescatame” that protect and castrate dogs and cats in the Dominican Republic. ..."
So far their support consists of a donation of towels - a valuable gift for spay & neuter campaigns but far from being enough. An email from RescátaMe concerning a date for spay & neuter of the hotel cats wasn't answered by the hotel. 16.000 supporters of our petition and readers of our wiki are waiting to see promises being followed by actions! We will report...
Also the tourist Sylvia Rudolph who has saved a sick cat at the IFA Villas Bavaro together with her friend has written on our wiki (Punta Cana/IFA Villa Bavaros). Readers have written also to this hotel asking to cooperate with animal welfare.
On February 4th the Villas Bavaro had a cat neutered and vaccinated by RescátaMe. It was called IFA:
Meanwhile the Villas Bavaro has asked RescátaMe for assistance: Being located in a residential area, they are having a lot of problems with unattended animals from the neighbourhood. Is this the beginning of a good cooperation?
We will keep you informed...
Our petition has now more than 15,100 signatures!
Our petition has currently over 14,140 signatures.
There are first comments on our Wiki about Cuba and Dominican Republic/Punta Cana Royalton Memories:
They are divided between Dr. Jose Malaret and Dr. Vicente DeSantis. The hotelmanagers have talked with RescátaMe about spaying and neutering the dogs at the resort. We hope to present the Royalton Memories soon on Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean.
Our Wiki "Tourists report" is ready!
Here animal-loving tourists can report positive and negative experiences made in Caribbean hotels during their vacation. Together with the results of te petition that will be extended til 05/31/2015 and will now address hotels directly, your comments shall help to convince hotels that their guests wish humane treatment of animals and spay and neuter as means of population control instead of poison so that we soon will be able to add further hotels to "Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean".
10/21/2014 Villas Bavaro:
2 German tourists call Rescátame and Dr. José Malaret to help a sick cat. Different from many other hotels, the management of the Villas Bavaro – one of the hotel invited by TUI to join the project Tourism and Animal Welfare – receives Recátame.
…where the tourists from Germany sponsor its treatment. A big Thank you for their generosity and kindness!
We hope to see Villas Bavaro soon on Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean!
TUI has invited 96 hotels and resorts to participate in the project Tourism and Animal Welfare and co-operate with us. We hope that many will accept the invitation!
Ocean Blue & Sand
In September 2014 the Ocean Blue & Sand Golf & Beach Resort requested assistance from Rescátame with the spay and neuter of the hotel cats.
TUI Area Manager Caribbean informed us that the project Tourism and Animal Welfare of the Association for Aid and Support of the Creole Dogs, a co-operative with our partner Rescátame, will be introduced to over 60 hotels in Punta Cana.
The spay and neuter clinic in Punta Cana July 18th - 24th 2014 with Dr. Patzak-Theen and Rescátame was a great promotion for our project Tourism and Animal welfare.
You'll find further details in the report itself.
Our petition currently has 10,583 signatures!
Our petition needs less than 100 signatures!
Our petition needs only another 500 signatures!
Our petition is lacking less than 650 signatures!
Our petition is lacking less than 800 signatures!
Our petiton has over 9000 signatures now! It will be continued til the end of 2014.
Our petition has more than 2000 signatures now and the time has come to continue it bilingually!
Animal Balance want to support the petition and ETN e.V. sent us documents about their successful cooperation with TUI:
The European Society for the Protection of Animals and Nature Inc - ETN e.V. - has a cat project in 30 hotels on Lanzarote together with TUI and the local animal welfare organisation SARA: The cats are caught, spayed and neutered, marked and released in their habitual surroundings at a monitored feeding place. Sick cats are treated and kept til they are healthy before the release.
Punta Cana: The VIK hotel Arena Blanca has its cats spayed and neutered by Rescatame.
Samaná: A man is heavily fined for poisoning 20 dogs.
October 7th a great number of poisoned cats and dogs were found in San José de Ocoa near San Christobal .There has been no information about who committed this crime.
In May 2017 2 guests of the Grand Bahia Principe Resort complex in Punta Cana protested vehemently against the frequent animal abuse by the hotel staff against the resort cats including the killing of a mother cat. Their review on Tripadvisor received more than 160 Likes, the German travel company Schauinsland asked the resort management to spay and neuter the cats and the hotel management seemed to be very much in favor of a spay & neuter campaign in the near future , they also wanted to install feeding stations and educate the staff. In July we were informed that because of personal changes in the management we had to contact the resort owner directly, the Grupo Piñero with seat in Spain. Although we and many animal lovers whom we thank very, very much wrote to them we never received a reaction. We have to conclude therefore that the family Piñero who runs 26 resorts in total is neither concerned about animal welfare nor about the wishes of their guests and we cannot recommend the following hotels to animal friends without restrictions:
Not unrestricted recommendable Resorts in the Caribbean
Not unrestricted recommendable Hotels in Spain
After managers of the Grand Bahia Principe Resort complex had repeatedly said that they wanted to start spaying the resort cats soon we were informed by the local animal welfare organization RescátaMe on the 07 / 14 / 2017 that there are apparently great changes happening in the management right now, the director of the resort having been fired.
A decision concerning a cat spay and neuter operative would have to be made by the resort owner , the Grupo Piñero, located in Palma de Mallorca and consisting of Don Pablo Piñero, his children and grandchildren who operate also the brands Soltour and Piñero. Another hotel that belongs tot hem, the Luxury Bahia Principe Samaná is known to have poisoned dogs in the past…
We received a call for help from a tourist who vacationed with a friend at the Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro in Punta Cana 04/29 – 05/15 2017, a hotel that is located on the same grounds with 5 other hotels of the Don Pablo Collection, the Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana, the Grand Bahia Principe Ambar Blue, the Grand Bahia Principe Ambar Green, the Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa and the Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia that offer altogether accommodation for about 4000 tourists. On the resort grounds there are about a great number of young unsprayed cats that live off what animal-friendly tourists give to them. A part of the staff seems to enjoy to chase them away, abuse them and – to kill them! The tourists were witnesses of the killing of a cat that had 5 kittens. They heard the cat screaming desperately in pain and agony inside a room while the kittens were running around in distress in front of the room. When they asked by-standing staff why the cat was locked away and screaming one woman indicated that the cat’s throat was cut at the moment when they heard the final, mortal scream, followed by silence. The cat was never seen again. The kittens were fed by the tourists and disappeared one by one. This is a severe offense against the Dominican animal welfare law 248-12 and is punished with 1 – 6 month jail or a fine between 5000 – 50.000 pesos.
One evening the tourists were harassed by a group of 4 men from the staff who intended to scare them and who ran away quickly afterwards tearing off their name badges in fear of consequences. This incident is recorded on video and led to a meeting between the travel agent of Schauinsland where the tourists had booked their vacation and the hotel management. The result of the meeting was the decision to spay and neuter the cats and install a feeding station as the travel agent informed the tourists. This information was confirmed in an email sent to us by the customer service manager for the whole resort on 05/23/2017 who added that the staff was going to be instructed to treat the animals properly and that future offenses would have consequences. We received a letter from the travel company Schauinsland on the 05/26 2017 saying that they would ask the Grand Bahia Principe once more to contact the local animal welfare organization RescátaMe in order to realize the plans decided upon at the meeting. RescátaMe has not yet confirmed having been contacted by the Grand Bahia Principe. These hotels in Punta Cana received our petiton No more poisoned and abused dogs and cats at hotels, beaches and in communities of the Caribbean! for four years. During this time there has been contact between a manager of the resort and Rescátame without results. We approve of the resort’s plans and ask the management to put them into practice immediately and to make sure that their staff observe the law 248-12. Their guests Christina P. and Melanie P. have written a review with the title „An unforgettable vacation“ about their experiences on Tripadvisor, to be found under this link:
Here the original German text followed by the English translation:
Ein unvergesslicher Urlaub
„Ich verbrachte meinen Urlaub vom 28.04. – 15.05.2017 zusammen mit einer Freundin im Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro in Punta Cana. Ich will hier nicht unser erstes, ungezieferbefallenes Zimmer kritisieren, dessen Decke undicht war, die Ursache für Überschwemmungen und Schimmel. Wir bekamen ein besseres Zimmer und hätten nun unseren Urlaub genießen können… Doch wie die meisten Touristen kommen wir aus einem Land, wo Haustiere als Familienmitglieder gehalten und gut behandelt werden und gehören zu den Menschen, die vierbeinige Freunde schätzen. Die Art, wie ein Teil des Hotelpersonal die Katzen auf dem Resortgelände behandelte, war für uns unerträglich. Etwa 15 unkastrierte Katzen sahen wir, die weder Futter noch Wasser hatten und vom Personal verscheucht, getreten und – getötet wurden! Wir waren Zeugen, als eine Katze mit 5 Jungen in einem Raum des Hotels eingesperrt war und grauenhaft schrie, als würde sie gefoltert, während ihre Jungen verstört draußen herumliefen. Wir fragten umstehendes Personal, warum das Tier eingesperrt sei und so schrie und eine Hotelangestellte machte uns mit entsprechender Handbewegung klar, dass dem Tier die Kehle durchgeschnitten wurde in dem Moment, als der finale Todesschrei erklang. Die Katze sahen wir nie wieder. Die Jungen, die wir fütterten, verschwanden einer nach dem anderen. Eines Abends wurden wir beim Katzenfüttern von vier Hotelangestellten massiv attackiert. Beim Wegrennen rissen sie sich die Namensschilder ab, wohl aus Angst vor Konsequenzen. Doch wir sahen noch, dass auch ein Kellner des Ambar Blue beteiligt war. Auf unsere Beschwerden hin kam es zu einem Meeting mit dem Reiseleiter unseres Reiseveranstalters Schauinsland und dem Hotelmanagement mit dem Ergebnis, dass die Katzen kastriert werden und Futterplätze angelegt werden sollen. Dies wurde von unserem Reiseleiter und in einem späteren Schreiben von der Direktorin des Customer Service der Hotelanlage bestätigt, die noch hinzufügte, dass das Personal geschult werden solle, was den Umgang mit Tieren angeht. Schauinsland bestätigte schriftlich die Aufforderung an die Hotelanlage, sich zur Umsetzung dieser Pläne mit dem lokalen Tierschutzverein RescátaMe in Verbindung zu setzen. Wir erwarten, dass die bei dem Meeting gefassten Pläne umgehend umgesetzt werden! Die Dominikanische Republik mag ein Entwicklungsland sein, wo es noch Defizite im Umgang mit anderen Lebewesen gibt, doch wir haben nicht Entwicklungsland, sondern 5 Sterne gebucht und erwarten, dass man sich auf dem Hotelgelände dem Standard der Gäste anpasst. Außerdem hat die Dominikanische Republik ein Tierschutzgesetz, das Tierquälerei und Tötung unter strenge Strafen – von hohen Geldstrafen bis zu Gefängnis - stellt. Wir erwarten von dem Hotelmanagement, dass es dafür sorgt, dass die Gesetze des Landes vom Personal eingehalten werden!“
An unforgettable vacation!
“I stayed in the Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro in Punta Cana from April 28th – May 15th 2017 together with a friend. I don’t want to critizice here our first room that was bug-infested and had mold , a leaky roof and flooded floors when it rained because we got a better room and could have enjoyed our vacation from then on. But as most tourists we come from a country with a pet-keeping culture and cherish our four-legged friends and the way the hotel staff was treating the resort cats was unbearable. We saw about 15 unspayed cats without food and water. The staff enjoyed chasing, kicking and – killing them! We were witnesses when a cat with 5 kittens locked away in a room was screaming in agony, the kittens running around in the front in distress. When we asked by-standing staff why the cat was locked in there and screaming so terribly one of them indicated that the animal’s throat was cut just in the moment when we heard the final, mortal scream and then – silence! We neer saw the cat again. The kittens that we fed disappeared one by one. One night we were severely harassed by hotel staff when feeding cats. They ran away quickly, tearing off their name badges, apparently afraid of the consequences following this attack but we still saw that a waiter from the Ambar Blue was among them. Our complaints led to a meeting of the hotel management and our travel agent of the German company Schauinsland where we had booked. The results of the meeting: The cats shall be spayed and a feeding station shall be installed. This was confirmed by our travel agent and by the director of customer services of the resort who added that the staff was going to be trained in the right treatment of animals. It was requested by Schauinsland to contact the local animal welfare organization RescátaMe to realize these plans. We demand that the plans made at the meeting are put into practice immediately! The Dominican Republic is a developing country and that may hold true also in regards of the treatment of other beings – but we didn’t book Third world – we booked a 5 Star and we expect that the resort adapts to their guests’ standards! Besides, the Dominican Republic has an animal welfare law that punishes animal abuse and killing harshly with high fines or jail and we expect that the hotel management makes sure that the staff abides by the law of the country!”
In June a tourist stayed at The Royalton in Punta Cana. She informed us that at The Royalton as well as at other hotels there are many unsprayed cats again. We have removed all big g All-Inclusive hotels in Punta Cana from our hotel guide. They have to be looked at closely. Apparently the spaying begun in the past years has not been continued. We are working on a new spay & neuter program for hotel animals.
A link with these terrible photos and videos that couldn’t be downloaded about poisonings in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, was published on Facebook on March 7th. The dogs died right beside the palace of justice, in the face of the law Ley 248-12 that bans poisonings stipulating severe penalties. The next day the link had been deleted from Facebook and couldn’t be found anywhere anymore. There were rumours that the poisonings had been ordered by Public Health. Following our appeal our supporters protested on the Facebook site of the Dominican Minitry of Tourism and they received an answer: The Minitry of Tourism regretted the poisonings very much knowing that thes practices damage the image of the country. It was said that the director of Public Health in San Pedro de Macoris was already investigating this case together with other authorities
The department for animal rights and animal welfare of the Dominican Ministerio Público published a document that emphasizes the protection that the Dominican animal welfare law Ley 248-12 should guarantee all animals regardless if they live on the street in towns and communities or at the beaches pointing out the penalties for offenders: Between 3 months and 1 year in prison or a fine of 25- 50 monthly wages in the height of the minimum wage. On April 10th we have sent this document to the director of Public Health in San Pedro de Macoris and asked him to inform us about the progress of the investigations.
We protest vehemently against the poisoning of 11 dogs, among them several puppies, and 1 cat in Vista del Caribe, Cabarete on the 9th of August 2016. We demand of the community of Cabarete to prosecute this crime and punish the offenders as the law 248-12 demands. We expect the community of Cabarete to enforce the law 248-12 so that this law will be respected and crimes like this will stop!
We reported this crime to the Ministerio Publico de la Republica Dominicana, department animal welfare and animal rights and asked to prosecute the offender in the name of all supporters of our petition! The offender was identified as a neighbours of the owners of the poisoned animals. He was never prosecuted because the animals’ owners failed to report him to the local police.
Dra Lourdes Ginette Ripley who has spayed and neutered already countless animals in the Dominican Republic with her organization Pet Breeding Control is horrified: At least 19 dogs and cats spayed, neutered and vaccinated by her have been found poisoned in Santo Domingo, on the grounds of the Feria Ganadera where farm animal are kept and once a year a big fair is held. The Feria Ganadera is also a popular place to abandon animals that are taken care of by animal lovers from Santo Domingo.
Poisonings before the fair are common. A message in the name of the supporters of our petition was sent to the Dominican government and president Danilo Medina with the express request to finally enforce the Dominican animal welfare law 248-12 the 2nd article of which outlaws poisonings and punishes violations of the law with heavy fines. If you want to increase the protest’s impact, please copy the photos of the animals poisoned at Feria Ganadera , Santo Domingo, February 21st 2016 , contact the Dominican tourist office or embassy closest to you, confront them with these photos and the message for their government that you won’t visit their country until the law 248-12 is being enforced.
The cat spay & neuter project at the Punta Cana airport was terminated because the airport staff didin’t participate in the transportation of the cats to the vet and back and RescátaMe couldn’t manage this on their own. Although we offered to finance a paid driver the project wasn’t continued.
TUI has limited its support to the email sent to hotels September 20th 2014.
No hotel has yet responded tot he invitation of TUI to co-operate with the project Tourism and Animal welfare. The Grand Palladium has refused to let Rescátame and Dr. Malaret in when a Swiss guest called them to help an injured cat.
In September 2014 the British author Alfred Fox published an article about his stay in the Sirenis hotel at Bavaro Uvero Alto:
He describes how much he and his partner enjoyed the company of the beach dogs that lived between the Sirenis and the souvenir shop of Gundula Reinke. Shortly after they had returned to England they learnt that all dogs had been poisoned. Only 5 of 45 dogs survived. Responsible for this hideous murder: The Sirenis hotel!
We have terribly sad news about Negrita, spay candidate of our project Samaná dogs: She was scheduled to be spayed the first week of November. Instead she became a victim of a rash of dog poisonings at a beach close to her home! Negrita was not a stray dog! She was dearly loved and well cared for by her young owner who is mourning her now! Kim Beddall is asking you all in the name of Negrita to please sign our petition!
40 dogs have been poisoned some time ago that were already spayed and neutered by Collares Rojos.
If you want to do something against the poisonings of animals sign our petition on www.change.org!
Some infos regarding the Dominican animal welfare law
November 23rd 2011 president José Gabriel Jaquez Vasquez signed the new animal welfare law.
March 5th 2013 representatives of the Dominican animal welfare associations Fupradl, Fundación Olimpia Milano, Ghetto2Garden, Pet Breeding Control, Sodopreca as well as journalists of 2 TV stations met to discuss possibilities to improve the law, to make it known to the general public and to improve its enforcement.
A lot remains to be done, despite one positive experience our visiting vet made in Samanà in February 2013, where a man was heavily fined for poisoning 20 dogs. In the centres of tourism the tourists themselves can provide the best protection for the animals by expressing unmistakably that they want a humane and kind treatment of the animals at their holiday resorts, for instance by signing our petition.