Vets and charity workers were out in Windsor Park, Saturday, giving free vaccinations, patching up the odd bite wound and signing people up to spay or neuter their pets.
The project is part of a grassroots outreach campaign by the Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts, known as CARE, to bring basic free healthcare to pets and advice to their owners in some of the most underprivileged areas of Cayman.
“It’s obvious that people do care about their pets, though they sometimes fall low on the list of economic priorities, particularly when times are tough,” said Lesley Agostinelli, one of the founding directors of CARE.
“Sometimes people can’t afford to get their pets vaccinated or they don’t have transportation to take them to the vet. We hope this program can have an impact in promoting responsible pet ownership. I think once the resources are there, people definitely want to do what is right by their pets.”
The Operation Grassroots project, funded largely through a $30,000 donation from the 100 Women Who Care organization, has already hosted three sessions for pet owners in Swamp and Rock Hole.
Saturday’s event was the first in Windsor Park.
In total, 73 dogs and 14 cats have been seen by the CARE team, which for this project includes Dr. Brenda Bush from Island Veterinary Services. All have been tested for heartworm and received vaccinations and treatment where necessary, as well as being registered and microchipped. Several dogs were treated for cuts and scrapes from neighborhood fights.
The charity also signed up owners to get their dogs spayed and neutered, part of a wider campaign by CARE to curtail the explosion in the feral dog population, which remains an ongoing issue.
Ms. Agostinelli said the charity was also doing outreach in the schools and trying to work with communities to make it as easy as possible for pet owners to do the right thing.
“We are not talking about dogs here that are tied to a tree and neglected. A lot of them are allowed to roam, but they are looked after and they are loved. They just need a little extra help in terms of resources,” she said.
The team saw 15 dogs and two cats, all of which received their first vaccines, deworming, NexGard, HeartGard and microchips at Windsor Park on Saturday.