The Cayman Islands Humane Society shelter on is slowly getting back on its feet after heavy rain and subsequent flooding forced the shelter to evacuate early last week.
After an appeal was sent out to volunteers, all the animals in need of relocation were collected from the shelter on North Sound Road for foster care while the shelter dealt with the aftermath of the flooding.
According to Jason Jairam of the humane society, the staff were shocked when they came in to work at 7am on Monday morning, 21 May.
“The whole inside of the shelter was completely flooded with 6 inches of water. The cats were going completely crazy,” he said.
The animals were quickly moved to higher ground, while the humane society sent out appeals for people to foster dogs and cats displaced by the flooding. Foster homes were found for all the animals by 7pm Monday evening, allowing the staff at the shelter to focus on recovery and cleanup of the shelter.
Although no animals were lost due to the flooding, the shelter suffered losses related to the flooding.
“We lost about $1,200 in vaccines and medication because it was in a small fridge on the floor and the fridge got damaged. The washer and dryer we lost, the scale we had to open up but we could repair it. We lost a filing cabinet with some important adoption documents in it, but fortunately we did not lose any food,” Mr. Jairam said.
The electrical wiring at the facility was also undamaged by the flooding.
Apart from the damage to equipment, the entire facility also had to be cleaned up after the water had been pumped out.
“The cleanup Tuesday took all day, we had to get all the cages sanitised. It was a lot of hard work. Thanks to all the volunteers who came out and dedicated their time to us, and all the volunteers donated cleaning supplies,” Mr. Jairam said.
According to Twila Escalante, shelter liaison, the humane society could not have hoped for a better response from the public.
“The humane society is very grateful to the many helpful people, too numerous to name, who helped in every way possible from fostering our shelter buddies, cleaning and recovery, donating funds and items and much, much more. The outpouring of assistance given freely by concerned members of the community coupled with staff and members was just outstanding,” she said.
According to Carolyn Parker, president of the humane society, flooding at the shelter is not a new problem, but has been worsened over the years due to changes in the area.
“The flooding has been a major problem for the property and exasperated following the increase in the height of the North Sound Road and AL Thompson. We are the lowest property in the entire area,” she said.
This was echoed by Mr. Jairam, who said that there was nothing that could be done to protect the shelter.
“We’ve had flooding over the years, but other than Ivan this one is the worst. This happened overnight. All the wells are blown and up to date, but it is just the area. The place is low and the water table is high,” he said.
The humane society has been looking for a new location for the shelter for many years, but unfortunately it faces many challenges, including the fact that the location would have to be zoned as industrial in order to allow them to operate a shelter there. Even if a suitable site is found, the society lacks the finances needed to purchase a site and build a new shelter.
Ms Parker said she was hopeful that due to the emergency fostering of shelter animals some of the animals might end up being adopted by their foster parents, something that Mr. Jairam said had already been bourne out in a couple of cases.
“It was a good thing in a way, because we already have three adult dogs adopted as well as a cat, and many of the animals are not back yet,” he said.
However, Mr. Jairam said he remains concerned about what the rest of the year might bring.
“We’re only now coming into hurricane season so we’re expecting a lot of rain still.”