PAWS washes dogs for a good cause

Don’t forget to wash behind the ears!

The Protection of Animal Welfare Society, known as PAWS, held a free community dog wash in East End over the Heroes Day weekend. Susanna Gatta, one of the organization’s co-founders, said that more than 25 dogs were washed and registered with PAWS over the course of the event.

“As always, we had a great response from the East End community,” said Mrs. Gatta of the Heroes Day weekend event. “Thanks to this event, we met several new dog owners willing to let us assist with providing free spay and neuter surgeries for their pets.”

Twelve volunteers from St. Matthew’s University Shelter Club assisted in the event, and the Department of Agriculture provided free pamphlets on responsible pet ownership.

It’s very important, Mrs. Gatta said, for pet owners to contribute in making sure there are no unwanted litters on island.

“Unfortunately, when dogs and cats are not fixed, they proliferate and that is how we end up with unwanted animals who become feral, like the wild dogs affecting residents of north George Town,” she said. “A major part of our dog washes is the educational aspect.”

Local filmmaker Aidan Hew documented the event and photographer Michelle O’Shea-Hayes took photos of the many volunteers who came out to support PAWS. This year’s dog wash was held in honor of Sassy, a dog rescued by PAWS who ultimately had to be euthanized due to a medical condition.

“Sassy was a wonderful dog and she will be dearly missed by all who knew her,” Mrs. Gatta said.

PAWS currently assists around 21 local families with monthly deliveries of pet food, and it also helps with heartworm and flea/tick medication as well as annual mobile vet visits.

The organization saw an increased number of pedigree dogs brought to the community dog wash, and PAWS representatives believe that is evidence of unregulated breeding in Cayman.

“We believe there are many backyard breeders looking to make a quick, easy profit by breeding their dogs and selling the puppies to people who really do not have the resources to take care of them properly,” Mrs. Gatta said. “These dogs are just as susceptible to heartworm, fleas, ticks, and other medical problems as other dogs. Perhaps even more so because of overbreeding.”

The next PAWS big event will be the annual fundraising gala dinner at Grand Old House on March 2, and details of the next community dog wash will be posted to the group’s Facebook page.