Our team

Meet the compassionate people that make our rescues possible. Our team is a dedicated, brave and targeted group that go above and beyond to make sure that every animal gets what it deserves: a humane and loving life.

Adrienne Galler Lastra: Shelter Director

Adri was one of the founding members of ADLA back in 2005: she was one of the main participants in rescuing 1,000 dogs from “Dead Dog Beach” in 2006; won the first animal abuse case involving a horse in Puerto Rico; and heads our Shelter.

Adri was born in Baltimore, Md and raised there till she was 19 when she moved to be with her mom in Puerto Rico. She lives in Piñones where she converted her home to what is now the Piñones Beach Project Shelter of Amigos de los Animales. After receiving a BA in Music Education from the Interamerican University in San German, Puerto Rico, she went to Los Angeles, Ca to pursue her career as a bassist.

Read more about Adri
Adrienne moved back to Puerto Rico in 2002 to care for her mom after her mother suffered a stroke. Shortly thereafter Adri began rescuing horses from a notorious housing project called “Llorens Torres” in Ocean Park, managing to clear the housing project of 14 horses. Horses are often used as drug tender among traffickers.

In 2010 Adri and John Saccenti of Career Development Institute, brought the first ever 6-day Animal Control Officer/Cruelty Investigator course to Puerto Rico which is certified by the Office of Animal Control of the PR Health Department.

At Adri’s home there are always 40+ rescued critters in different stages of rehabilitation so her life is never boring!

Amanda R. Collazo: Executive Director

Amanda grew up in Ponce, Puerto Rico and has lived on the island for about 25 years. Her friend Ela asked if she wanted to come volunteer one Saturday at ADLA. And she never left 🙂 She fostered and afterwards adopted Wendy Bee from Amigos in March 2016. Wendy’s a cute little black sato. Next to that, Amanda also has two sibling kitties: Bandit and Gigi; and one rescue cat Olive.

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Amanda has always been aware of the animal welfare situation in Puerto Rico needing more attention. She says: “I became more enthusiastic about doing something to change the situation when I became involved in Amigos: the more I learn, the more people I meet that care and are involved in making a difference, the more animals I see that are in need, and the more animals I see that have found good homes; the more inspired I become.”

We are very happy to have Amanda on our team, wooooo!

Board of DirectorsPatricia Cara – Board President

Patricia first came to know of ADLA through her children, and has been coming to the Saturday morning clean-ups since 2011. She believes there are way to many stray and abandoned animals in Puerto Rico, and that better education and access to information are needed in order to eliminate the stray animal problem.

Even before her involvement with ADLA as a Board member, Patricia was a committed rescuer: she has three rescued dogs and two cats at home in Guaynabo.

Read more about Patricia

ADLA alumni Acacia is one of Patricia’s sweetheart’s (and Pat sometimes calls her “her flower”). Acacia suffers from a little ADHD and thinks she is a lap dog (but she’s not). She is definitely the alpha dog of the house! Doggy Valentina was rescued 10 years ago after recuperating from being run over by a car. Valentina was very shy at first and it took a while to get her acclimated to the home, but she is now a very happy old lady. Finally, doggy Lucas was adopted when someone brought him into the family vet. He is a beautiful black lab/pit bull mix; very rambunctious and keeps Valentina on her toes (they have a September/May romance going on).

The cats: Gato and Mushu, were found as kittens (each in a different park). Gato is a typical cat: she prefers to be left alone (unless of course she wants attention). Mushu, on the other hand, loves attention and is always underfoot. Mushu was found with one eye hanging out and rotting, but she is now a very happy one-eyed black cat who loves to attack toes under the sheets in the morning.

Patricia’s the kindest and most patient President we could ask for!

Board of DirectorsAdele “Glenn” Helmers – Board Vice-President

Glenn joined our Board early 2018. She moved to Puerto Rico five years ago from South Carolina and, as an animal lover, wanted to make a difference for the many struggling animals we have here on the Island. She started volunteering at our Saturday clean-ups with her son and quickly moved on to being on our Board and giving more of her time “to the dogs”!

Glenn has had dogs all her life and is currently the mother of Big Boy and Ginger, two fluffballs. Big Boy is a sensitive feeler and, in Glenn’s words, “Ginger has the attention span of a gnat but is dang cute!” Both pups love to walk on the beach and in their neighborhood of Condado.

Glenn’s our Twitter expert and (accordingly) keeps us on our toes!

Jennifer Tasch – Board Secretary

Jennifer is a New York native, raised in NJ and moved to Puerto Rico 25 years ago after meeting her Puerto Rican husband in college. A year later, she adopted her first strays from a beach in Isabela, and has made rescued satos a part of her family ever since. She recently moved to New Jersey part time and still resides in Guaynabo. Jennifer shares her home with her two-legged family, as well as four four-legged family members named Colorado, Nacho, Bobby, and Rudy. Colo and Bobby were adopted from Amigos de los Animales, and Nacho and Rudy were rescued from the beach in Manati and the streets of Bayamon. Jennifer loves large dogs, and her current pack ranges in size from the “smallest” at 65 pounds to her big baby Bobby who weighs in at 90.

Read more about Jennifer
Jennifer first learned of ADLA when she received their email newsletter 6 years ago and saw a picture of Colorado on her screen. It was love at first sight. He joined her family, and she and her two kids David and Natasha became shelter volunteers on Saturdays. Her children have cherished the experience of aiding Adri with her tireless work, and found at ADLA the perfect place to contribute to a worthy cause which touched their hearts, having been raised as animal lovers from a young age. Jennifer is a moral vegan who values the right of all animals to live lives free of mistreatment and suffering. Jennifer is thrilled to assist Adri as best she can in her endeavour to relieve the suffering and abuse of so many mistreated and abandoned dogs who have been fortunate enough to find love and caring at the shelter of ADLA.

We feel very thrilled with the great support of Jennifer! You can reach her at Jennifer@amigosdelosanimalespr.org.

Ela Stolarczyk – Board Director

Ela was born in Poland and during her childhood the sight of a homeless dog on the street was common. She grew up observing the end of communism, and how it changed lives of people…Apparently also lives of animals: nowadays when she visits her homeland, Ela doesn’t see homeless animals on the street. She moved to the US to do her PhD and since then she has been working as a research scientist in the biomedical field.

Read more about Ela
In Kentucky she adopted Leo, her first dog and best friend. Leo has travelled with her a lot, within the States, Poland and Puerto Rico. Ela lived in Puerto Rico for about 3 years and found the stray animal situation greatly diminished the Island’s beauty: ” The first time I came to Puerto Rico for vacation. I was enchanted by the warmth of people and the undeniable splendor of this little island. However, this image contrasted dramatically with the number of homeless, often sick and malnourished dogs and cats wandering the streets, and the number of animal corpses on the sides of the highways. It was (and is) heartbreaking. Once I moved to Puerto Rico I decided to actively do something towards improving the welfare of animals and reducing the overpopulation. This is when I came to ADLA for a Saturday cleanup…and stayed.” From ADLA Ela adopted Kimba and Bongo, the children of the first dog she rescued with Adri. Ela recently moved to Colorado and her days are brightened by the pack of 3 happy dogs, each of very different character.

Our days are brightened by Ela, we are so lucky to have her! You can reach her at ela@amigosdelosanimalespr.org.

Elisha (KC) Bell – Board Director

KC is the medical expert on our Board. She served as a veterinary technician, trainer, and working dog handler in the military before her retirement and subsequent move to Puerto Rico. Once here, she wanted to continue providing services to the animals (which is where she feels she belongs) and also interested in the labor of shelter love.

KC has worked almost every single type of job in the animal field, including: zookeeping, adoption facilitator, kennel and pack manager and quarantine coordinator, doing so at rescues, boarding facilities, and pet stores. She now lives in southern Virginia with her boyfriend and best friend Rob, and their four children.

KC’s our go-to for help with doggy behavior and breed identification.

Andrew Reape – Board Director

Andrew loves animals and especially his two family dogs Wally and Summer. Andrew describes Wally as a cockapoo, a little gentleman and completely awkward; and Summer (Wally’s sister) as a ragamuffin, and a lady (when she wants to be).

Andrew left his family dogs in Philadelphia when he moved to Puerto Rico right before Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. He was interested in dedicating his time to animals, and missed his own, so ADLA was the perfect fit!

Andrew helps with our banking and finance– and in return we let him hang out with dogs! You can reach him at andrew@amigosdelosanimalespr.org.

Our Team