Antigua & Barbuda
In April of 2018, the AB team traveled to the island of Barbuda, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017. At the request of a benefactor, they performed a feasibility study to determine whether or not Animal Balance would be able to provide assistance to the animals on that island, which is still working to rebuild it's infrastructure following the catastrophic storm. The evacuation of humans from the island left many dogs to fend for themselves, and now, as the human population begins to return, they are facing a new generation of puppies that will continue to grow if population management solutions are not put into place quickly.
In October of 2018, the AB team traveled to Barbuda where we performed 95 dog surgeries in an amazing three day clinic. We performed an additional 50 cat surgeries on the island of Antigua following our trip to Barbuda. Please click below to read our full report on this amazing experience and AB's first ever post disaster campaign.
In June, a small team traveled to work alongside longtime AB veterinarian, Board Member, and friend, Dr. Raymond Deonanan, on his home island of Trinidad. Local animal welfare group, Animals 360, served as our local partner for this week-long campaign, which served two areas on the island, Charlieville and Barackpore. The campaign ran from June 10-16. It is the hope of the AB team that this campaign will become an annual event, in which we can continue to support Dr. Raymond and Animals 360 as they work to help the dogs and cats on Trinidad.
The Dominican Republic has long been an island that holds a very special place in the hearts of the Animal Balance team, and we are extremely excited to be making plans to return later in the year. Our dedicated island partners have notified us that the town of Rio San Juan, on the northern coast of the island, is in need of sterilization for dogs in particular. Our team has worked in Rio San Juan in the past, and are looking forward to what will certainly be a very busy and impactful sterilization campaign there. Although dates have not yet been set for this campaign, the team is working with local partners to secure funding and work on logistics to make a long-awaited return to the Dominican Republic. We have many, many friends in the region, and are looking forward to seeing them again and working together to save lives on that very special island. Overall, we are incredibly happy to be returning to this area of the world, after focusing our efforts on other regions for the past couple of years. 2018 is certainly going to be a busy year for us in the Caribbean, as we look to save and improve the lives of many animals on these islands.
The Galapagos Islands
Prior to 2004 there was no an animal management program for cats and dogs on the Galapagos Islands. The authorities were randomly poisoning dogs and cats with Compound 1080 placed in meat and put on street corners by the trash collectors. This indiscriminate approach has the potential to harm all species who could ingest this substance and die, including children, who would often play in the sandy streets.
The Galapagos National Park Service are mandated to protect the biodiversity of these islands. Despite the poisonings, the cat and dog populations were flourishing and could potentially prey on the delicate native species that do not know to flee, or protect themselves, when a predator approaches.
The native species needed protection and help, but the local people did not have the tools to allow them to take responsibility for their pets, in an effective way and the authorities were not aware of any other options. A comprehensive humane animal management was needed to address the situation. Animal Balance provided the strategy, funds, equipment, medicines and skilled medical personnel and in 2004, collaborated with the Galapagos National Park Service (PNG) and methodically targeted community after community until 80% of the cat and dog populations had been sterilized. Click here to read our latest report on the Galapagos Islands.
Fast forward to 2019 and we are planning a big return to the islands. We have two very exciting new programs in store and are hoping to begin their implementation in conjunction with the government entities on each island very soon.
Animal Balance has been working on the island of Kauai since 2016, providing free and affordable spay/neuter for cats and dogs. During our time there, we have observed a great need for free services for community cats in particular, and have working to meet that need through providing MASH style sterilization clinics. Our team recently returned from Kaua'i where our teams hosted two clinics on the island, one in Koloa and one in Kapa'a for our Mega-MASH campaign. Click below to read the full report.
The Spay Pod….
The Spay Pod began as a partnership between Animal Balance and local non-profit, Kauai Community Cat Project or KCCP. The Spay Pod is a shipping container that has been converted into a surgery unit. It is ideal as it provides a sterile, comfortable, yet efficient size of space for high volume cat surgeries. The Spay Pod is located in Kapa'a and has performed nearly 1300 surgeries since opening in January of 2019. During our Mega-MASH campaign, Animal Balance officially handed over the Spay Pod operations to our friends at KCCP. We are so excited that they will be able to continue to offer affordable and accessible sterilization for cats on the island of Kaua'i.