The Association Pro Shelter and Protection of Animals ("APAYPA") is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of animals and the improvement of the quality of the lives of animals. We were incorporated in 1984. Our incorporation number is 14776.
We are a tax exempt corporation under Section of the Tax Law of Puerto Rico as well as Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue of the United States. Our financial status is available upon written request.
Villa Michelle is a nonprofit animal shelter operated by APAYPA that receives animals in need of its services. We retain all of our animals for a reasonable period of time in order to give them a maximum chance to be adopted. Unfortunately, there are more dogs and cats than there are homes for them. As a last resort, they are humanely euthanized in accordance with the specifications of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
The shelter cannot be, nor should be, a permanent home for many animals. In addition to food and water, companion animals, especially dogs, need the love and companionship of an owner. This cannot be adequately provided by a shelter populated by many animals.
Villa Michelle is not a government control agency, but it is available to help nearby municipalities, by means of contracts, to control the animal population.
APAYPA and its Villa Michelle employees can offer technical help to other municipalities and entities that want to have their own animal shelters.
the 1980's the stray animal problem in Mayaguez was very depressing. Efforts of the Mayaguez Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, better known as the Animal Protectors of Mayaguez, to help the mayor maintain an animal refuge in reasonably acceptable conditions was very uphill. A group of people belonging to this group incorporated separately under the original name of Citizens Pro Animal Shelter with the purpose of raising funds in order to construct an animal shelter in Mayaguez. After the shelter was built we changed the name to Association Pro Shelter and Animal Protection ("Asociación Pro Albergue y Protección de Animales" or "APAYPA").
This new group, free from the multiple injuries sustained by the parent group through multiple encounters with mayor at that time was able to reestablish communications with the municipal government of Mayaguez. In this way and with the help of the mayor, the Honorable Benjamin Cole, we were able to obtain an unused plot of land in usufruct that belonged to the Puerto Rico Zoo. After making improvements to the lot, we requested the donation of a prefabricated house from Masso and even though this effort failed, they did donate us a roof located in Ponce that they wanted to dismantle. Dismantling the roof, bringing it to Mayaguez, and assembling it turned out to be just as expensive as buying a new one, but all of this gave us hope and induced us to continue raising funds for this purpose.
Sixteen kennels, which still exist, were built under this roof. Construction began on August 8, 1988 under the supervision of Mr. Benjamin Torres who donated his time. The blueprints for the shelter, based on plans suggested by the U.S. Humane Society, were prepared and donated by Engineer Jaime de la Guardia. They also incorporated features of the animal shelter of Bloomington, Indiana, where the president Hilda Ramirez had visited and worked as a volunteer one summer. Of course these plans had to be adapted to the climate and the economic realities of Puerto Rico.
After using all of the raised funds, we still did not have an office, a puppy room, a cat room, or a clinic. We were able to finish what was missing thanks to the efforts of former legislator Deynes Soto who obtained donations of $25,000 from the government in two consecutive years. With the help of the Vice President of the Humane Society of the United States, Phyllis Wright, we also obtained donations from the Edith Goode and Charlotte Parks Foundations. Thus, we were able to begin operating the shelter.
The Villa Michelle Animal Shelter, named by the board of directors in memory of the first stray dog adopted by the president and founder of APAYPA, Hilda Ramirez, began operation in May, 1989.
In the early 1990s we were on the verge of bankruptcy when thanks to a miracle, Julio González called us from San Juan to donate $10,000. This was exactly what we needed in order to continue operations. In 1998 the shelter suffered major damages from Hurricane Georges when the major part of the roof blew off and almost all of our equipment, supplies, books, and records were damaged. Even sadder, we lost all of our cats in this disaster. Fortunately all of our dogs were saved since the roof over the dog kennels was not badly damaged. The generosity of our members and friends throughout Puerto Rico was overwhelming.
Thanks to them and because of generous donations from the American Humane Association (AHA), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty toAnimals (ASPCA), and The Humane Society of the United States(HSUS), we were able to rebuild our shelter.