Trouble in Paradise, Time for Change
I have recently returned to Canada after a two month vacation on your beautiful Island, however the visit was marred by the appalling situation of stray Dogs and Cats in your country. After listening to an excellent broadcast on the Observer radio in February between various animal welfare groups, I had hope that there would be progress to resolve some of the issues. Unfortunately it appears that there is no common ground or compromise between the various parties.
The “Humane” society wants to ignore the problem by letting the dogs starve in the wild, the Spay and Neuter group wishes to start a spay and release program to control the stray population, this the government deems as illegal, the Dogs and Cats group want to rehome strays offshore but the Government has just changed the rules insisting on more stringent standards for exporting than importing, the Dog Control division is conspicuous in its absence, Paaws the only shelter on the Island is full and has a financial crisis due to lack of help from the Government, the police appear to condone the poisoning of dogs and have not prosecuted anybody in the last 10 years for animal abuse, I also heard that there are dog fighting rings that are being tolerated! .
Meanwhile the situation grows worse everyday, apparently there are over 10,000 strays on your Island. Tourists are greeted at the cruise ship terminal by emaciated, mange ridden dogs, I heard many comments from fellow tourists saying that they would not return due to the plight of these animals.
It is time for the Government to step up, the controlling animal welfare board also needs have a more moderate approach with forward thinking members.
All groups should be focusing on these issues and fight a common cause.
Antigua does not need it’s image to be severely damaged in the International travel press due to apparent inaction.
Thank you, John Dodwell, Montreal Canada