Donated crates needed for St. Croix nonprofit

Oct 07, 2016
Photo by: Donated Dogs from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, are prepared for transportation to the States.

A United States territory is getting a helping hand from a friendly nonprofit with a mission. Healing Paws is doing its part to get the animal welfare situation on the island of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, under control with its program, Paws From Paradise.

The program involves sending dogs from the island to the States via outgoing airlines. Almost every month, about 30 dogs leave the island. However, the crates they are transported in only go one way.

“They are in big need of soft crates for the interior cabin and hard crates for cargo,” said Karen Owen, president of STAR Ranch. “The airlines charge $100 to $200 per dog to travel. It is a huge undertaking for a three-year-old organization.

The “island dog” has been years in the making. After Hurricane Hugo ripped the island apart in 2008, hundreds of dogs, cats and chickens were dispersed across St. Croix.

After years of free breeding in the mountainous terrain, the “island dog” has short leg and is kind of fuzzy.

“They are totally adorable, but there are far too many of them,” said Owen.

Donated crates will be sent to Miami, where they will catch a boat to St. Croix.  Anyone leaving St. Croix via American Airlines or Jet Blue can “escort” a dog back to the states, where Healing Paws has 52 contacts for adoption, including Brother Wolf in Asheville.

To donate a crate, call STAR Ranch at 400-4940 for pickup. To learn more about Healing Paws, visit or email