The second West Bay Grassroots animal welfare clinic at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School over the weekend was a big draw for the community.

The event was organized by Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts, known as CARE, which educates about responsible pet ownership, animal welfare and animal behavior as a way to prevent ill treatment, cruelty and suffering to domestic animals.

The clinic at the weekend followed a similar one held in the district last month.

The new Grassroots program, made possible through money raised last year by the charity 100 Women Who Care, builds on CARE’s existing free community spay and neuter initiative and aims to assist under-served communities to improve the lives of pets by offering preventive veterinary care and sterilization.

This little pup is off to a good start thanks to the Grassroots program.

“We now have a whopping 60 dogs signed up from the district – all shapes and sizes, colors and ages, all residents of the district, and it was wonderful to see such a positive response from the public who really do care and want what is best for their pets,” CARE Director Lesley Agostinelli said on the organization’s Facebook page.

The animals received their first vaccine, deworming, other necessary treatments, a microchip and had a full health check under the supervision of Dr. Brenda Bush of Island Veterinary Services. Several animals were signed up for spay and neuter.

Speaking with the Cayman Compass later, she said that at the clinic it was clear those who brought their animals in were very proud of their pets. She said the organization was grateful it could assist owners from under-served communities who, though they love their pets, might not have the means to take them to the vet for treatment, or to provide them with preventative treatment for common, and preventable, problems like heartworm, fleas and ticks.

She said she hopes that the organization will be able to continue to receive sponsorship for the preventative treatments CARE is able to offer at its clinics, like the vaccines and monthly heartworm, flea and tick medicine that so many in the community may find out of reach financially.

“People have responded so well to these clinics, and also through them getting access to information that is not out there, which they are able to share with their neighbors, for instance that heartworm is a preventable but deadly problem that is spread by mosquitoes. The knock-on impact is really great. The same goes for the microchipping, where we are again having people able to register their pets.”

Joanna Laws of Island Vet, in blue, helps out at the clinic.

Ms. Agostinelli thanked Dr. Bush and Joanna Laws of Island Veterinary Services, along with the 11 volunteers who helped with processing and interacted with the large number of animals and their owners at the event.

Ms. Agostinelli told them, “We know and we can’t thank you enough for all of your help, calmness and hard work, which certainly paid off for all those wonderful dogs.”

Ms. Agostinelli’s message to pet owners still thinking about whether to bring in their pets to the next clinic is to just do it.

“Don’t be afraid to bring in your pet and to seek help,” she said.

“You aren’t being judged. As an owner, you are the voice for your pet, and we are here to help and to educate.”

The next West Bay clinic will be held on March 11.

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