Having reviewed the letter to the Caymanian Compass from Mrs. Belfoure published on the 18th of January 2005, the Cayman Islands Humane Society board of directors wish to make the follow observations and comments:
We do appreciate the assistance of Mrs. Belfoure and her family during hurricane Ivan. Many homes and properties were severely damaged and our shelter was no exception.
We relied heavily on assistance of our members to house animals prior to, during and in the wake of the storm, ensuring that all animals were provided with as much help and assistance as possible.
A proportion of animals were found temporary homes for this period though some were regrettably left in the shelter for the duration of the storm.
These animals all survived, though some obviously were affected by their experiences – as indeed we all were.
In the particular case of Mrs. Belfoure, we were informed that whilst this puppy was ‘being fed and getting fat and healthy from being fed properly’, its collar was being imbedded approximately 1 inch into the puppy’s neck. The skin around the neck area had broken causing a wound that was open to infection. This injury was observed by a professional veterinarian who was to perform a spaying operation on the puppy at the time. The puppy received immediate medical treatment and the shelter was notified.
Ordinarily, questions would have been raised as to the cause of the injury however, there was a great deal of work to be done associated with the damaged shelter and our animals welfare. In addition to our existing problems the shelter was inundated with animals that were either left or abandoned by their owners who felt the need to leave the Island. Some of these animals have never been reclaimed. The shelter was beyond its capacity but fortunately, we received assistance from various animal welfare groups and we were able to airlift 200 animals to Houston who would have had to have been euthanized.
At the time many homes on the island including Mrs. Belfoure’s was not in a condition to house animals, this was explained. We have strict adoption policies that include home visits to ensure that the animals ‘surroundings are suitable for any adoption. Taking into consideration these facts a decision was made that it was in the best interest of the puppy to be flown Houston where good homes were waiting for puppies.
As for the two puppies that ran away, if their collars had inflicted similar injuries, the chances of them dying due to infection are a lot higher than them being poisoned.
Hopefully they have been rescued and are now receiving the care that they require.
The staff and volunteers of The Humane Society work very hard to find homes and to reduce suffering and injury inflicted to our animals. This is done on a very limited budget and with the most basic of resources. Every case that we handle is discussed in great depth and any decisions made are always with the animal’s best interest in mind. This case was no different.
Board of Directors
Cayman Islands Humane Society