As hundreds of work-permit holders get set to depart the Cayman Islands, local animal charities say they are concerned that there could be an increase in pets being abandoned.
The organisations are urging people to take their with pets with them when they leave or, if they cannot do so, either surrender them or have someone foster the animals.
“Please don’t just abandon the dogs. The last thing we want to see is packs of stray dogs terrorising people and things like that. Do get in touch with us, reach out,” pleaded Caroline Johnson of One Dog at a Time.
In a Zoom interview with the Cayman Compass, Johnson said that while the dog charity has space challenges, she would rather have the animals surrendered than be dumped at the side of the road.
“For anybody who is leaving the Island and really cannot take their dog with them please contact us. Obviously, we have limited space, but we know other people who might be able to help them as well,” she said.
“For people who have no intention of coming back to our island or collecting their dog, then in some ways, that’s easier because then we can get them adopted as soon as possible on island.”
Over at the Cayman Islands Humane Society, director Saskia Salden said they too are appealing for people not to abandon their pets.
She said since the lockdown started people have been leaving their pets.
“We have seen some animals being returned. But also, on the other hand, because we have so many people that want to help us with fostering it’s easier for us nowadays to find homes for these animals so they wouldn’t be stuck in the shelter,” she said.
However, Salden told the Compass via Zoom that the Humane Society is bit worried about what will happen when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
She said once everybody goes back to school or back to work, or leaves the island, she is concerned that “we’re going to have not only our animals coming back to the shelter, but also the animals of people that have left or are still leaving”.
Since the lockdown she said about 10 animals have been surrendered.
Salden urged pet owners who are leaving Cayman to contact their vet or the Department of Agriculture to see what they can do to take their pet with them “which is of course better for everybody, better for the person, for the animal and for us as well”.
Johnson is also encouraging residents to become foster ‘parents’.
“What better to do with your time than spend it with a new furry friend that you might like to adopt? Certainly, we’ve had several people who have started out fostering and then within three or four days they’ve said, ‘We love the dog. It has changed our lives. Please … can we adopt them?’” she said.
153 North Sound Road, George Town, Grand Cayman (next to A.L. Thompson’s)