Humane Society needs new home

The Cayman Islands Humane Society spends a lot of its time looking for homes for dogs and cats.  

But now it’s looking for a new home for itself. 

After spending nearly 20 years in its location at the junction of North Sound Road and Sound Way in George Town, the 40-year-old Humane Society is hoping to find new, bigger premises.*

Fundraising has already begun to pay for a larger site that can house the society’s animal shelter, its thrift store and its 
secondhand book shop. 

Last week, Cayman National made the first donation to the Humane Society Building Fund, handing over a cheque for $6,000. 

Humane Society Director Janette Fitzgerald said ideally the organisation is seeking new premises, but if it can’t find anywhere suitable, then the funds will be spent in repairing and renovating the aging building that the shelter has been in since its inception four decades ago. 

The building is too small to house not only the scores of abandoned and rescued dogs and cats there, but also the tens of thousands of books in the Book Loft and the huge quantities of clothing and second hand items in the Thrift Store. 

“We have 30,000 books upstairs,” Ms Fitzgerald said. “Over Christmas, we had to ask people to stop donating books to us because we literally had nowhere to put them. A couple of people gave us some storage space, saying they had a spare bedroom, but then again, if the books are not on display, we can’t sell them.” 

As of Friday, 11 January, there were 60 cats, 75 dogs and 25 pups in the shelter. “It’s definitely overcrowded,” Ms Fitzgerald said.  

As well as having space issues, there are also concerns about the future safety of the building’s structure. “We’ve had an engineer in who has checked it out and it’s safe, but it’s only a matter of time. I don’t know how long we can go on here,” Ms Fitzgerald said. 

The upstairs floor is sloping and water has come through the building’s walls when the site has been flooded, all contributing to concerns over how long the building can continue to house the operation before a major overhaul is needed. 

“If we can’t find anywhere else, then the money we raise will go towards ensuring the building is safe and structurally sound in the future,” the director said.

The Humane Society first rented the building in 1994 and with the help of public donations bought the premises at auction in 1997.

The society hopes to find a new site that will allow the stores to be on the ground floor, so older people or those with mobility issues will be able to access them easily. *

“We’ve had older people telling us they’d love to buy books here, but they can’t get up the stairs. The same with the thrift store. They’re both upstairs,” Ms Fitzgerald said. “In my perfect world, we would have a big store with the thrift on one side and the books on the other.” 

 

Fundraisers needed  

While caring for abandoned animals is the major work of the Humane Society, the organisation could not exist without the donations it receives from the public and from companies in Cayman. 

With that in mind, Ms Fitzgerald is also appealing to people to help out with raising money for the Humane Society. 

“We need people who have a background in marketing or fundraising who want to help us out,” she said. “There are so many people on the Island who have a talent for fundraising. We need them.”
The Humane Society’s largest annual fundraising event, the Fur Ball, will be held on 12 April at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. 

 

To find out more about helping Humane Society with its fundraising or to offer help with finding a new premises, contact Ms Fitzgerald at [email protected]

 

*Editor’s note: This story has been changed from the original for clarity and accuracy. 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Actually the HS has only been in this building aprx 15 years. I spent the first 10 years of my life living in this building and I am no where near 60.

    This building was home to alot of good Caymanian and expat families back in the 60’s to late 90’s. This site is also the place where the first gym on the island was started. The neighbor, Mrs. Luna made the best peppemint candies every Sunday on an old nail just outside her back door. Her son Gagoo still carries on this family trade and sells the candies from door to door downtown. It is also next door to a house where one of the most popular Cayman boy bands The Juveniles was started. They practised almost every day on the porch. AL Thompson provided dolly houses which were the fridge boxes they would throw out every day for the kids in this building. Scotts unknowlingly provided play toys with the old rusty tractors out back which is now where Westar is located. Mrs. Patsy provided and still provides the best Patsy Pepsi ever to people on that street (If you have never had one you should. They are perfectly chilled to almost freezing).

    I kinda got carried away there with a lil Sound Road history, but this is not just any building; it was built by my grandfather Elford L. Dilbert who also built many of the government buildings which are still in use today.

    This building has a lot of history and if its walls could talk it would tell a lot of good stories about the people that lived there and Dr. Donohue who owned and ran a veterinary facility out of it before the HS moved in.

    This is a good building and if it could be repaired to suit the needs of the HS it would be wonderful based on its history.

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  2. Pet’s are our best friends. They don’t lie, cheat or steal. When they fall on hard times, it takes folks who are kind and good hearted to keep them alive and well. With this in mind, let’s donate cash, send a check to the humane society. Donate something and give up something if need be to help our friends at the shelter.

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  3. This has been a long standing need for the CIHS. The money being spent on patching up the current centre is a waste. The centre needs sensible plans to move them forwards over the next five years. The centre needs better management and closer control over its finances so that the money raised is spent wisely. People may then help them to raise further funds. What was the figure raised from the Camana Bay Fashion Show and how many dogs were rehomed from this big event? No answers are forthcoming from CIHS?

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  4. Regardless of how long the Humane Society has been in this building (though I do believe I remember it to be longer than 15 years), I think they’re right in wanting and needing a new location. The facility is too small and too inconvenient (ie. access to the book store and thrift shop). There’s hardly any room for parking, and it’s difficult to get in and out. Plus, it’s a very dangerous road for the volunteer dog walkers to cross. Please give generously!

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