New Shelter ‘a dream come true’

The new Animal Rescue Shelter facility opened last week at the Lower Valley Agricultural Complex to the praise of Government and Humane Society representatives alike.

‘It’s a dream come true,’ said Susan Gatta of the Cayman Islands Humane Society.

‘Yes, it’s a dream come true,’ echoed Chief Agricultural and Veterinary Officer Dr. Alfred Benjamin.

The Minister of Agriculture, Gilbert McLean, who addressed the group in attendance for the official opening, heralded the event as ‘a great achievement for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture.’

‘This shelter will provide a safe and healthy environment to care for strays and neglected animals, and will also provide a centre for the treatment of injured animals,’ Mr. McLean said.

Mr. McLean indicated that he is an animal lover himself. ‘Therefore, the senseless acts of abuse to animals on this island affect me deeply,’ he said.

‘The opening of this shelter, and its mandate, will be an extension of the new Animals Law, which we will continue to refine to ensure best practice in all areas of animal protection and welfare.’

More than 12 years in the making, the new shelter replaces the Smith Road dog pound, which was heavily damaged during Hurricane Ivan and since demolished.

The new shelter contains a medical treatment room for injured animals, a food preparation room and a ten dog kennels with inside and outside areas.

In addition, a small alcove has been retained for the housing of cats.

There is also a small office in the facility, something the old pound did not have.

A staffed office will allow residents to bring strays animals directly to the shelter if they wish.

Others on hand for the opening included the Governor’s wife Emma Dinwiddy, Rudy Myles, president of the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society, Giuseppe Gatta, president of the Cayman Islands Humane Society, Anne Ostberg of the US-based animal welfare organisation Pegasus Foundation, and Christina Gabela of the Humane Society International.