Humane Society facing downturn, requests donations

The Cayman Islands Humane Society is urgently seeking donations as the group faces declining revenues and fresh fundraising challenges. 

The society’s recent annual general meeting installed a new nine-member board, which is seeking to address recent downturns in both thrift shop and bookstore donations, and a concomitant fall in income. 

David Reid, board member and rotating chairman for the society’s most recent gathering, said the group was not in crisis, but that “donations to the thrift shop and the book shop have declined and our [cash] reserves and funding will decline if we can’t keep up” with the society’s monthly budget of between $45,000 and $50,000. 

“Fundraising has declined with the recent changes to continuity and the change of key players,” Mr. Reid said. “We need to build support with new initiatives because things have slowed down.” 

“Donations to the thrift shop,” he said, “are significantly down,” while sales are down by one third, and that is a major contributor to our budget.” Book donations were “down a bit, although not as much, but that doesn’t turn around quite as quickly” as the thrift shop, he said. 

The shop offers used clothes, toys, housewares, small appliances and furniture at reduced prices, while special items of greater value are occasionally auctioned on Ecay. Revenues subsidize veterinary care, shelter and food for the animals. 

Mr. Reid said the society on average boards 70 dogs and about 30 cats, “although we have had upwards of 100 dogs at times, but that is beyond our capacity, and we really don’t want to see the conditions deteriorate.” 

The budget also encompasses the society’s few paid staff, and is mostly drawn from donations and retail operations, Mr. Reid said. Donations come largely from companies and individuals. None is from government. 

While things had slowed, Mr. Reid said, “there is no risk of running out of money, but because of the changes, including a difficult economy, “the board’s challenge is about fund-raising and retail. 

“I cannot imagine it would happen that we’d go out of business,” however, he said. “We have been around for 40 years and have a lot of supporters out there. “There is not less to do, though, and maybe even more to do.” 

The new board retains only two previous members, he said, and was “trying to set up new a schedule” for early next year, “trying to do more, and looking to see if things are being done.” 

The Humane Society website perennially calls for volunteers, saying “we need help in all areas – sorting, pricing, displaying, selling. We especially need help on Saturdays, but we can use you during the week as well,” while reminding the public that U.S.-dollar donations can be made through the Bank of Butterfield, and Cayman dollars through Cayman National Bank, while welcoming bank drafts and air miles. 

Mr. Reid was unable to comment on previous reports of internal dissension at the society, but said the new board was seeking a clean slate: “We are hoping to make a contribution now and to make the best of the situation.” 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. The Cayman Islands Humane Society does not enjoy the support of a large segment of the society due to their support for the Animals Law (2003 Revision) which prohibits people from importing 15 different breeds of dogs into the Cayman Islands.

    This law has clearly not prevented the continued breeding of these prohibited breeds but has negatively impacted on the local quality of such wonderful breeds like the rottweiler, pit bull terrier, and the American bulldog. You even have breeds like the mastiff on the list when it is well known that this breed is typically a very gentle animal.

    It would be best for The Cayman Islands Humane Society to be taken over by people that actually know something about dogs or to be closed permanently and replaced by another NPO that is managed by people that actually know something about dogs.

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  2. Mr. Boland, your comments demonstrate a limited understanding of the issues affecting the Humane Society today, 10 years after the passage of the revised law you refer to. Mr. Reid alluded to those issues in the interview he gave. The public does not want to support an organization that it believes is more devoted to internal politics and individual egos, than to assisting animals in its care.

    Since you mention laws, however, let’s discuss the ones we have relating to the care and treatment of animals. They are pathetically inadequate on their face, and are infrequently enforced.

    A large segment of the public have complete disregard for leashing their animals and safeguarding the public from roaming packs of de-socialized pets.

    We have one or several psychopaths devoted to poisoning animals, whether they are dangerous roaming animals or fenced pets. The perpetrator (s) cannot be caught.

    We have starved, beaten, diseased and injured animals as a result of people not being called to answer for their negligence.

    And your last point regarding the local quality of various breeds. This too can be traced back to poor legislation, specifically legislation that mandates registration of breeders and their stock animals, licensing and inspection of breeding premises, background checks and AKC verification. Right now, breeding in the vast majority of cases, amounts to two amateurs getting together over drinks or dominoes, and saying, Hey, I have a boy dog. You have a girl dog. Let’s breed them and sell the puppies on ECAY. It’s a get rich quick scheme.

    Limiting the importation of specific breeds might not be the best solution, but given what we have to work with-it was a start.

    The next time Government wants to generate revenue, it should consider properly staffing Animal Control and rewriting those laws. It could earn lots of money for roaming and cruelty fines, as well as illegal breeding operations..

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  3. Why has there been 150 dogs and more at a time in the shelter. That is the question. The answer is that people don’t care about animals. The authorities don’t care either. The laws are laughable if non existent. Dogs are forced to breed repeatedly, no matter how it affects the dog’s health. Animals run wild, just like their owners. The shelter floods repeatedly and is substandard in every way. How many loose animals have I almost hit by my car. It’s inhuman and disgusting, not to mention disrespectful to other living beings. Wake up Cayman.

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  4. @Lisa Betz: Please provide me with a link to the study that concluded that A large segment of the public have complete disregard for leashing their animals and safeguarding the public from roaming packs of de-socialized pets.

    This statement is false and can’t be supported by any factual data. Also, the last thing that we need in Cayman is more legislation when it is clear that the existing laws are not being enforced.

    A better approach to this problem would be to encourage the creation of breed specific clubs that would focus on education, training and registration (along with other activities). These clubs would do more to tackle the issues at hand than any new laws or the CI Humane Society will ever be able to accomplish.

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  5. Mack – couple of flaws there, sugar.

    First of all, as far as I am concerned, the evidence is anecdotal regarding the unleashed dogs. I drive around Cayman, I see dogs wandering loose, with a collar. This is not a rare sight, therefore a significant number of people allow them to do this.

    Secondly, breed specific clubs that focus on education? Really? How exactly will that help? Most responsible dog owners already know how to properly care and look after a dog. The people who don’t are the ones who need the education, but seldom would they be seen joining a club to learn more. You can have the best club in the world, but it won’t attract the fools who think it is fashionable to own a Pit Bull because of their reputation.

    Could the HS problems also stem from the well-publicized fallouts at an administration level, leading people to instead give to other animal charities?

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  6. There are no bad breeds of dogs, just bad breeds of people. We have to commit time and to help the desperately needed new Humane building become a reality, somewhere, enforce existing weak laws and clamp down on those who victimize animals. Stop and desist from using animals in any way that hurt, frighten or jeopardize their health. We must protect those animals because we are the only ones who can. We owe it to these wonderful creatures to love and care for them.

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  7. Their are hundreds of people who buy from Humane society raise the price its too cheap 1-3 for clothes that are given free to the society. You could easily sell those items for 5 a piece and more for new stuff.
    How about sending the dogs home back to Canada, USA or England ?? I know they will be better at finding homes for the dogs there.
    The other alternative is death.

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  8. That is one of the main problems now. People are complaining that the prices are too high and so a constant competition go on between the thrift shop and the Red Cross.
    First thing they should do is have a 2,00 two dollar day. It is better to make a dollar than no sale at all.

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