In 2006, Glen Venezio moved from the U.S. East Coast to Puerto Rico.
It was then that he began to care for the local strays in a way that went above and beyond his responsibility – but also ticked some people off in the meantime.
Now, for nearly 15 years he’s been spending his nights out on the streets, mainly by himself, and spending most of his own money (which can be upwards of $100 a day) to tend to and feed the cats (and any dogs that are in need as well).
According to a 2017 interview with Venezio on Medium, he revealed that because animal rescues to exist on the island, that people believe his work is unnecessary. The neighbors in his middle-to-upper class neighborhood also don’t like seeing a man out on the streets at night, especially one that brings more cats to the area.
“But to see, first of all a man. And then second of all, to see an American man, someone from the states. It’s just so, so strange to them.” He said they wonder, “What does he get out of that? It’s a total source for confusion and rage.”
But Venezio has learned to advocate for the cats and demand justice for them against abuse.
He will call the police – many of whom have become his friends and call him “Hombre de Los Gatos,” or “Catman.”
Many of those officers are on an animal abuse task force that he deals with often.
And Venezio knows what neighbors might be trouble – but he also knows his rights.
For example, sidewalks are public spaces and no one can stop him from feeding the cats there.
Still, people complain about him throwing food on the ground. Then he has to explain that feeding stations are subject to poisoning and can be impediments to pedestrians.
Many think that this is a job for animal control – they should round up the cats and euthanize them. Others say they should go to shelters.
But the idea of companion animals isn’t big in Puerto Rico – or at least it hasn’t been until the latest generation of young people.
So at least now he has hope the cats will be able to find homes in the future.
He refuses to simply leave them alone – that’s what people have been doing all along and it does nothing to solve the problem because the populations simply grow.
Venezio also refuses to leave the cats at the mercy of people who have already treated them so cruelly. He’s seen a lot in his years on the streets with them. He watches their pleading eyes and can’t resist.
And he knows he’s the only source of food and medical care for many street cats.
But the cost was already becoming prohibitive back in 2017.
“Money helps all the time because it’s a huge burden that I cannot afford. The food alone is over $70 a night because I’m dealing with about 250 cats. I always need money to spay and neuter. The cheapest spay and neuter operation you could get in Puerto Rico might be $40 to $50. That’s rock bottom. That’s one cat. So imagine, I’m dealing with many cats. So there’s always more and more to spay and neuter.”
If you’re interested in helping Venezio, you can follow him on Facebook here.
He also accepts donations that all go towards caring for the animals:
“I gratefully accept PetSmart e-gift cards or you can help via Paypal. Paypal https://paypal.me/glencats. ATH Movil account in Puerto Rico 787 231 4981 .
Or you can help with a PetSmart digital gift card by going to https://www.paypal.com/us/gifts/brands/petsmart . Specify my email address — email@example.com — as the recipient.”
In the meantime, be sure to scroll down below to see a short story about his massive and generous efforts.
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