Happy New Year to all our members and supporters.
2016 has been an incredible year of growth and challenges for Dogs and Cats of Antigua. There have been plenty of ups and downs but the one constant has been our unwavering commitment to be a true voice for our animals and advocate solely for their welfare.
As a group we have evolved organically dealing with the issues as they arise. We tackled the issue of animal abuse and installed a billboard at Perry Bay. It increased awareness and also a lot of discontent from governmental elements who felt we were portraying Antigua in a bad light.
We lobbied hard to try get the laws protecting animals enforced. We were told by the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner that the police would respond to any and every complaint of animal abuse and that directive was handed out to all precincts. As yet there have been no arrests or prosecutions. Dog poisoning is still rampant and the everyday abuse; animals on short tethers, no shelter, food or water, incessant breeding continues everyday in plain sight without any legal repercussions
We appealed to the Ministry of Tourism and explained how animal abuse and marauding packs of diseased dogs as well as the number of strays are a deterrent to tourism. We were offered platitudes in return but nothing has changed. In spite of no real changes, we will continue to lobby the government for the enforcement of laws which are designed to protect our animals.
We look forward to 2017 and our continued growth. We look forward to continuing support from our overseas alliances and forming new partnerships and outreach programmes to help the dogs and cats of Antigua
As of May this year we had rehomed over 300 dogs and cats locally through our facebook page, with no overhead costs. We are thankful to our adoptive families on island for their support. As the universe of adoptive homes in Antigua dried up we looked overseas to find homes for our animals.
For the last quarter of 2016 through to January of this year we have relocated over 50 of our pups and dogs to amazing homes overseas mainly in Canada and the US.
Thanks to alliances with rescue groups like Beach Dog Adoption Program of Ontario, New Leaf Rescue and FOWA Rescue of NJ, Potcake Rescue of Ontario, SPCA Durham region of Ontario, Grahamville Rescue of ILL and Shelter Chic of New York.
We are also blessed to have incredible individuals like Lindsay Malouin and K’aska Bull and Bettina Stelle who always go the extra yard for us. We are thankful for the outstanding support of our members and our sponsors like Hutchinsons, Paperclips, General Insurance, Antigua Yacht Charter. We are thankful for our retail partners who never hesitate to support us by selling our calendars and raffle tickets and our restaurant partners who have supported our Foodie Raffles. A big thank you to the students at AUA who despite their academic schedules have offered us whatever support they can.
When I look back on the year, one thing that really comes to mind is the incredible teamwork we have achieved and the effort it takes just to save one dog’s life. I remember the case of Layla, she and her sister were dumped as small pups at the cricket stadium in Parham. They were rescued by Ziffy Tyrrell and Gareth Williams. They were fostered by Lynda Simpson Grey and transported to NJ by AUA student Rachel Bourginon. Layla was fostered by Lauren Abello. Over $8,000 was raised by Shirley Pallito for her surgery and physical therapy. She was then fostered by Mitch Brenner and his family before being adopted by a wonderful family in NJ. That is real teamwork.
Thank you to those people who care enough to rescue our animals and those people who foster them and thank you to all those passengers who have helped us by transporting the pups and dogs to our overseas partners. A big thank you to those families who have adopted our dogs and make us smile with the wonderful dog pictures we receive of dogs in silly clothes or frolicking in the snow or posing happily with Santa and their new families. This makes it all worthwhile.
We cannot change the life of every dog but we are changing lives, one dog at a time.
Thank you also to our team at Dogs and Cats for your unwavering support of Antigua’s animals and the selfless use of your time and energy to support them.
Happy New Year to all, we love you and appreciate you.