Mercedes De Bruyn, United Dog Foundation, mid campaign in Noord

True to her promise to organized the second Spay and Neuter project in May 2018, Mercedes De Bruyn, United Dog Foundation, arrived here with a team of veterinary surgeons and technicians to perform surgeries, during a 4-day clinic in Noord, aiming at successfully sterilize up to 400 dogs. Their focus is stray dogs, no owned-strays, no pedigrees, and they successfully recruited help from a large number of local volunteers, I saw Inge van Roon of Animal Rights, and I understand Zoe Conijn of Luna Caring Team, and Dyane of Sgt Pepper’s Friends, are in the mix.

On their first day, Mercedes reports they operated 96 animals, cats and dogs. They have enough working vets and care-takers, and their trapper teams are bringing in street dogs/cats, from various neighborhoods.

It’s a big undertaking with registration, sedation, surgery, recovery and aftercare departments, all on a shoe-string budget in the crumbling former post office in Noord with towels covering broken windows, and ancient, lazy, air conditioners that haven’t worked in years, in rebellion against the order to now cool the surgery room down.

But it works like clockwork, volunteer pickup trucks come in loaded with traps, delivering patients. Most of them looking tense and unhappy. Trapping requires patience and love, besides incredible stamina and determination. Some of the traps used were made by WEMA, some donated by Philip Animal Garden.

It sucks to send all these lovable four-legged dog/cats back into the street post-op, but it is a reality, a few hours after their procedure animals are released back into their former environments.

The volunteers keep track of that. It’s not an easy job. You cannot make a mistake here. The dog/cat must be returned to the right place otherwise he/she will be chased away by the resident population.    

I met Ritz Carlton Resort Manager Louella Brezovar on Sunday at the Noord location, next to Total Finance, across CMB, she delivered bottled water, ice, a fan. Earlier in the month, she mapped the location of 35 dogs, adults and puppies in the Alto Vista area – unfortunately, a favorite dumping ground for unwanted animals. She helped trap them this weekend and basically says, her neighborhood, is now free of sexually active strays, they have all been neutered.

 I met Debbie Kunder an Animal Shelter volunteer with Jacqueline Boderie, Criollo Trappers, they came in with a truck load of traps from the Calabas area. The dogs in their traps were young, and in an OK shape, once neutered and returned to their neighborhood of origin, they will resume miserable life on the street, but unable to procreate, they will not be burdened by puppies, which is a huge relief.

A tourist walked in, in bikini, hand-carrying a donation. She adopted a cunucu dog last year, while on vacation here, and returned this year with a token of appreciation for the volunteers.

The question remains:

How do you teach the locals to spay and neuter their owned-strays?

That is a big challenge.

Stimami Sterilisami already spend over half a million florins on the campaign designed to give pets a better life, but locals here do not respond fast enough, and many unwanted animals are the result of this total public indifference.

I don’t understand. We are NOT A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY, we are a first world country and we should be able to help our pets, by becoming more responsible owners.

Sure, the rescue of puppies and kittens in noble and admirable, but we have to get to the core of the problem, which is reproductive control. We spend so much money on glitter and feathers in Carnival, we should be able to spay and neuter our pets, with the subsidy of Stimami Sterilisami, it’s a low-cost procedure.

BEFORE SIGNING OFF: The government HAS to introduce a dog tag program. Anyone who wants to have a dog/cat must present at the local vet for a tag, and vaccinations. You may charge Awg 45 for the government tag, then extra for the vaccinations. At Awg 75 for neutering, which is subsidized by the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, you will enjoy your pet, and save our community from unwanted animals.

IN A PERFECT WORLD: We should have a teacher, going from school to school, a paid for Animal Rights advocate, a professional, making her/his way through our educational system to teach children about proper care to cats and dogs.

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May 28, 2018
Rona Coster