Ten dogs from the Cayman Islands Humane Society departed Grand Cayman on Friday, 25 January, bound for Pets Alive, a no-kill shelter in Middletown, New York.
This brings the total number of Cayman dogs that have been taken by the US shelter to 82.
“It’s a great facility in the foothills of the mountains in Orange County,” said Justine Riseley, a Humane Society volunteer who found the shelter and coordinates the transfers. “There’s lots of land, hundreds of volunteers, they get walked – it’s just a fantastic place.”
Ms Riseley, along with one other volunteer, accompanied the dogs on their journey to their new home.
“Cayman Airways fly the dogs for free, which is incredible,” Ms Riseley said. “This just wouldn’t happen without them. They do require chaperones to travel with the animals to check them in, collect them at the other end and make sure all goes well, but as people can donate their air miles to the Humane Society, these go toward the cost of our tickets.”
Once they reach Pets Alive, it is likely the Cayman dogs will find homes with families quickly.
Because Pets Alive require the dogs they take on to be friendly, able to be housed with other dogs, heartworm free and with no health issues, they are adoptable.
“We send them the best dogs, so sometimes they’re gone within days,” she said. “We expect them all to have been adopted within four to six weeks.”
The Cayman Islands Humane Society is overcrowded and operating at absolute maximum capacity. This has been the situation for many months. Even though a significant number of people adopt pets locally, more dogs and cats are being brought to the shelter than are adopted.
It’s a constant problem for the animal shelter, and one Humane Society staff say will not change if pet owners do not spay and neuter their pets.
“Transferring dogs off island may or may not be a solution,” Ms Riseley said. “But we’re doing what we can for now.”