Moving from New Jersey to Puerto Rico in 2006, Glen Venezio was ready to start his new life.
He had no clue what that was going to become.
Today, the hundreds of stray cats in his neighborhood likely wouldn’t be alive without him.
When he arrived, the number of stray cats and dogs he saw roaming the streets shocked him. The neglect and physical abuses they were suffering made it more heartbreaking.
Sadly, he learned that Puerto Rico left these stray and feral colonies largely unchecked.
There were no TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) programs to help control the population.
With only a few small shelters available in the area, he knew he needed to step in and help.
He began small.
Glen would feed the cats and dogs on his block in the wee hours of the morning. As he fed the starving animals, more and more would show up.
He ventured further, extending his route to the next block. His heart dropped when he saw how many more were just a short distance away.
So from 1:30-6:30 AM each night, Glen’s feeding schedule now includes over 250 felines in a 10 block radius.
Sometimes there are even a few dogs and in the past have been chickens! If these additional mouths weren’t tended too, they’d simply start stealing the cats food.
Now, Glen is going through SIX 16-pound bags of dry food and about 40 cans of wet food…A NIGHT!
He calculates this adds up to about $100.00 a day!
This has been happening for over a decade.
“It is about being present for these animals that are so hated here by most people, going out every night religiously, in pouring rain, in storm conditions, on burning humid hot nights, when I am ill.”
When we say he does this every night, that means holidays spent by others celebrating with friends and family too.
Glen spends these nights saving souls, who certainly celebrate when they see him.
“Happy New Year to all of my friends here!!!!!!!!!!!”
“I am a little nervous to go out into the street to my cat route today in the dark. There are many drunken people. I am scared for the animals in the streets with all the fireworks. The people don’t give a damn about the animals possibly getting hurt from the fireworks.”
“It is a very scary night for me rather than a joyful one, but anyhow, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.”
And this is all done on his own dime or through donations.
Whenever he can catch them, he also pays for the cats to be spayed/neutered as well.
So far, he’s gotten about 1/2 of the animals that he feeds, spayed or neutered.
Happily, he’s even been able to get a few of the more social cats adopted into safe home.
But with people constantly abandoning their animals at an alarming rate, there are more and more mouths to feed all the time.
Compared to the U.S., the abandonment rate of animals on the island is staggering.
There’s no way he can say no to the animals that depend on him.
Even as mentally and physically exhausted as he is, his heart motivates him to continue his lifesaving routine.
“I can’t do all this with the cats anymore but I somehow do it every night. I feel sick and exhausted mentally and physically, but still push myself for these animals who need help and food.”
At his own peril.
The streets of Puerto Rico that he covers, are not necessarily full of rainbows and smiling people willing to help his cause.
There is a REASON Glen does his feeding during the morning hours.
He’s been punched in the face and sprayed with pepper spray from a water gun. Even getting the license plate of the man who attacked him, Glen received no justice.
While he says most of the “dangerous” people out at night leave him alone, it’s surprisingly the local residents he gets the most resistance from.
They believe the cats give their neighborhood a bad “look”.
He is harassed and threatened continuously.
Glen’s even had to call the police a time or two. He often needs police assistance on his route.
In return, he is happy to help the Puerto Rico State Police with many cruelty cases.
“I scream my lungs off. And the people hate me more. I’ve been hurt. I have to protect myself. I have people threatening me.”
Many of the local residents do not like the cats, therefore do not like Glen for helping them.
Even if he’s helping maintain and control the feral/stray populations.
“There are numerous streets now where I have to “sneak” and feed the cats there in rushed panic, to avoid people threatening or trying to hurt me.”
“This is wrong on so many levels and reflects the lack of compassion here, but I do it and feel the panic each night so these animals can at least eat. Who wants to have to call the police every night in order to feed starving animals? It is wrong, ridiculous.”
Glen, the Catman of Puerto Rico, needs our help now more than ever.
With the sheer number of animals that rely on him, he is ALWAYS in need of food.
He feels the stress every night when the food seems to go faster and faster, leaving him to worry where the next meals will come from.
We can help him though and support his selfless and amazing efforts.
“I have ZERO funds for the cats after tonight’s route……I can urgently use PetSmart e-gift cards, which you can purchase online in any amount, and they then send it to my email, and I can use it for cat food TODAY in my local PetSmart”
If you would like to help Glen by donating PetSmart gift cards, please go to https://petsmart.wgiftcard.com/ to order one. Give the name Glen Venezio and email address as the recipient firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also donate via Paypal at https://paypal.me/glencats, or if you are in Puerto Rico, via ATH Movil account 787-231-4981.
Let’s show Glen he’s not alone in his quest and we have his back from around the world. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glenPR
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP & SPAY AND NEUTER!