If you’re thinking right about now as we tiptoe into the New Year that your 2012 resolution to give up those venti mocha lattes and 22-oz. microbrews wasn’t such a hot idea, here’s another idea for your 2012 resolution list that you might like better. Visit Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic! Nestled like a jewel on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, it offers visitors so many things to see and do. Explore a cacao or sugar cane factory, walk down the first street ever built in the New World post-conquest, or just relax on the dreamy white sand beaches! And did I mention how attractive the people are? Heavenly! This is a New Year’s resolution I can handle.
Oh and there is one more thing you can do in Santo Domingo—SAVE HORSES! Yup, the working horses of Santo Domingo need your help. P.S. You don’t have to travel to this world-class paradise to save a horse but it’s a pretty darn good excuse if you ask Ms. Humane Advisor.
Here’s why the working horses of Santo Domingo need your help
Like many resort destinations, the local economy in Santo Domingo has its challenges. Some workers still rely on horse-drawn carts to bring their goods to market and their working horses still suffer under the hot tropical sun–often starving, thirsty, and mistreated. Why? Zero zip nada dinero. Workers sometimes have to choose between feeding their families and caring for their horses.
However, a new law in the District of Santo Domingo has made the operation of horse-drawn carts illegal. The horse carts must be replaced by other types of vehicles like motorized carts so the workers can keep on working and earning. BUT there is little-to-no enforcement of this law because…all together now…nada dinero…no money even for the local government!
Enter Marcos Polanco, the founder of local animal rescue group Sodopreca (Sociedad Dominicana para la Prevención de Crueldad a Animales). Marcos is a man determined to make a difference for the horses (and all animals) of Santo Domingo and he has made it his mission in life to enforce the new ban against horse-drawn carts and take these working horses to well-deserved, wonderful new lives at sanctuaries throughout the Dominican Republic. This Caribbean hero for animals has said, “Maybe in my lifetime, through the work we do, I’ll see these horses and all the animals of the Dominican Republic get the proper care and loving homes that they deserve.” I don’t know about you but such dedication brings a tear to my eye.
And he and his Sodopreca crew (photo below) patrol the city as unpaid volunteers to help animals. Not an easy or always safe thing to do. Go Marcos and Sodopreca!
Back to the horses. Marcos has already transported over 60 working horses with the help of a few dedicated volunteers and a borrowed truck. But Marcos estimates that there are still 800 plus horses that need to be rescued. So the brave and intrepid folks of Sodopreca need their own truck and trailer to safely transport the remainder of the working horses. The price of a truck and trailer, however, is beyond their organization’s budget. You know why by now, folks! NADA DINERO!
Okay, you say, that’s great for the horses but what about the workers who need their carts to make a living, Ms. Humane Advisor? Well, here’s the good news. If Sodopreca is able to procure vehicles to move the horses to sanctuaries, the local government has indicated it is willing to step forward and ahem…find the money aka DINERO to replace horse-drawn carts and wagons with vehicles that don’t require animals, encouraging a more humane system that allows local drivers to continue working! How many times have you heard of a win-win like this one lately? Sheesh!
Here’s how you can help
Now I hate to ask when our own economies aren’t doing so hot and we’re all pinching pennies (you might remind me of my NADA DINERO factor here and rightly so) but your donation to help purchase a truck and trailer is all we need to save these noble and beautiful animals from unbelievable suffering. Marcos is taking care of the rest. Your cash donation will contribute to the purchase of the vehicle and trailer needed and also provide continued care of the horses at the sanctuaries. So here’s the skivvy on the estimated costs to save over 800 horses (and make life easier for workers in the Dominican Republic) with your donations:
Estimated costs in U.S. dollars are:
Diesel truck(s), $11,000 USD each
Trailer(s), $3,000 USD each
Total for 1 truck and trailer, $14,000 USD
CANDi-Cats and Dogs International (they don’t just save cats and dogs, ladies and gentlemen!) is coordinating the donations for this campaign. Email Darci Galati at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her (250) 317-0406 if you can help. When the funds are raised, Darci will fly to the DR and meet with Marcos to buy the truck and trailer. She will also videotape the visit so everyone who donated can see where their dollars went! Unless you want to hand deliver your donation while on that 2012 vacation you made a resolution to take in the first paragraph of this blog. How exciting would that be?
So think about it. Spread the word. Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and any and all social networks. Pass the hat at work, church or your favorite watering hole. Call your rich Uncle Earl or Aunt Buffy who needs a tax write-off. Find a horse lover who likes the idea of these working horses finding their happy-ever-after. Steven Spielberg likes horses! Anybody know him?
Oh and find Marcos Polanco on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/marcossodopreca) to let him know that you think he’s a hero and that you support his efforts on behalf of the animals of the Dominican Republic. And be sure to tell him that Ms. Humane Advisor sent you.