The Brac branch of the Cayman Islands Humane Society will have a new weapon in its arsenal to keep the Island’s pets safe during hurricane season.
The group received final permission last week to begin construction on Noah’s Ark, the first animals-only storm shelter in the Cayman Islands and likely in the world, capable of housing 150 dogs, cats, and birds and two handlers during an emergency.
While there will be no charge to house pets at the shelter, resources are limited so for the time being, the staff does not plan on accepting iguanas or fish.
‘The idea came about as we had noticed that a lot of folks, especially the elderly, were not coming to hurricane shelters because they did not want to leave their beloved pets behind,’ said the Humane Society’s Karen Fraser.
‘We were able to pick up a few pets from some people in the past, but with this new shelter, we will be much better equipped to take care of the Brac’s pets if a crisis hits.’
While Noah’s Ark will do its best to accommodate as many pets as possible, priority will be given to those from low-lying areas.
‘We hope to have a pre-registration event by May so that we can know about the animals coming here ahead of time in terms of their training and special needs,’ said Ms Fraser.
The 27-foot x 32-foot corrugated steel Quonset building is being erected at a Government-owned site two miles from the Brac Civic Centre.
Work is under way on the concrete support slab, and the Society has sent out an appeal for able-bodied volunteers to help with the construction efforts so the shelter can be completed by the end of January.
‘We have had an outpouring of support in the community in getting supplies and building materials,’ said Ms Fraser.
‘We still need to raise another $4,000 or so, but thanks to the generosity of so many people, the project is going really well,’ she said.
Along with the donated building materials, the Society has received surplus kennels from a post-Katrina New Orleans pet rescue operation, appliances, supplies, a cistern and a septic tank from local businesses and individuals, as well as cash donations from visitors to the Brac from all over the world.