When a dog rolls over here in Cayman these days it isn’t a cute trick whereby the pup wants his tummy tickled. According to the Cayman Islands Humane Society, the seven year rollover policy not only affects ex-patriot residents but also affects their pets.
‘It’s not unusual for us to receive panicked phone calls from residents who have just been rolled over, they need somewhere to bring their pets because they have to leave the island immediately,’ explained Shelter manager Sugar Evans in a press release.
This scenario impacts the already over-crowded animal shelter on North Sound Road, and causes heartbreak for owners and pets alike, she said.
‘The cats and dogs who are rollover victims are usually quite stressed when they first arrive. They have been taken from their comfortable, loving home and brought to our busy noisy shelter,’ said Ms Evans. ‘They don’t understand what is going on, and sit waiting for their owners to return. But of course they never will.’
The Cayman Islands Humane Society cautions all ex-patriot pet owners to be ready for a rollover scenario and there are a number of practical ways owners can prepare to help them stay together with their animals and move off the island with relative ease.
• All owners should check the importation regulations of their home country; many countries require a system of documented vaccinations and microchipping before they will allow a cat or dog to enter that country. The UK, for example requires a rabies certification to avoid lengthy quarantine, which takes some eight months for completion.
The Department of Agriculture (947 3090) issues health certificates and vaccinations for pets likely to travel overseas. Don’t leave this to the last minute, do it now as you never know when you may have to leave.
• All pet owners should have an airline approved travelling crate for each pet; these are available at pet shops island-wide.
• Owners should set aside some money to pay for transportation costs and various fees. A small amount paid into a savings account over a number of months can go a long way, especially if there are multiple pets involved.
• Seek out a temporary home ahead of time by asking friends and relatives in your home country if they can accommodate your pets until you find a home for you all.
• Do not rely on finding a home for your pet here in Cayman. The Cayman Islands are saturated with companion animals, many unwanted and homeless. It can be extremely difficult to find a home for a pet here.
‘Pets are for life, and owners need to consider their pets in all their future plans, whether it be hurricane planning or a major move abroad,’ stated Clare Hasart from the Board of Directors.
‘It is very sad when owners and pets are wrenched apart, but by forward planning this can hopefully be prevented. Of course the Humane Society is happy to take any pet in to the shelter when parting cannot be avoided. We will help in any way we can to help keep owners and pets together.’