March 02, 2012
Introducing ‘Operation Potcake’ The Solution to the Street Dog Problem in New Providence We need YOUR help to make this a Success for the Cats, Dogs and People!
What is Operation Potcake? ‘Operation Potcake’ is a 10 day high volume, high standard cat and dog sterilization campaign, often called a MASH clinic (Mobile Animal Sterilization Hospital) targeting up to 2,000 of the un-owned and loosely owned cat and dog populations of New Providence. The cats and dogs will be sterilized in large numbers so that the populations are unable to reproduce and start to decline naturally. The animals will be treated for internal and external parasites and vaccinated against disease. The goal is a healthy population of cats and dogs who cannot reproduce.
EVERY animal protection organization on New Providence has joined forces to form a coalition to organize this campaign, in conjunction with Animal Balance, an international NGO who assists islands with humane animal management strategy. The local organizations are; The Bahamas Humane Society, The Bahamas Veterinary Association, The Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture, BAARK!, Stray Busters, ARK, Proud Paws and Pink Potcakes.
What About The Future? Operation Potcake will address the cats and dogs who will probably never see a vet in their lives, while the New Providence 5-Year Low Cost Spay and Neuter Initiative will continue to address the sector of the populations who have owners in low income areas. The Veterinary Medical Association of the Bahamas (VMBA) has pledged to sterilize 60 animals a week at a cost of $50 per animal, which totals 3,000 animals per year. The VMBA states “It is anticipated that Operation Potcake’s contribution during 2013 would give a substantial boost to the total number of spays/neuters during the first year of our five year project. If, indeed, a total of 5,000 dogs and cats are spayed/neutered during 2013, [3,000 by members of the V.M.A.B. and 2,000 by Operation Potcake] this would provide an almost immediate reduction in the number of unwanted dogs and cats in the subsequent years, and would effectively jump-start the 5 year program” Volunteer Veterinarians, Animal Technicians and Kind Helpers Will Descend on the Bahamas in August!
This is a true milestone in animal welfare in New Providence, now we can work together to efficiently take control of the over population of cats and dogs on New Providence. The Animal Balance volunteer veterinarians, animal technicians, dog and cat experts are donating their time, skills and expertise and are paying for their own airfares to help New Providence. They will be arriving in January 2013 from all over the planet to help the Bahamian animals. Many people on the island are kindly donating accommodation for the volunteers. We will use local classrooms as temporary animal clinic sites. We will bring expert dog handlers who can catch un-socialized stray dogs. We will all work together and pull resources to make this a success.
How Can YOU help? We need your help so we can purchase the drugs and medical supplies that we will need to safely sterilize the 2,000 animals. Together we are holding a huge fundraising drive. We need to raise $50,000 before August. We can do that with your help. If you are associated with the medical field, can you donate any of the items we need? The list is attached.
Why Should YOU Help?
High numbers of in-tact dogs and cats cause a myriad of problems for the community and the animals can suffer greatly as a result. By sterilizing them we will:
• Reduce the spread of any zoonotic diseases (from animal to human)
• Reduce the spread and increase of diseases amongst the animals
• Reduce the number of road accidents associated with large numbers of free roaming animals
• Reduce the number of bites and scratches incurred
• Reduce the number of free roaming dogs and cats that you see on the streets who are suffering from injury and disease
• Reduce the noise and disruption at night when males are chasing females in heat
• Reduce the roaming distances of male dogs as the females will not be coming into heat
• Reduce pack fighting over females in heat
• Help people to take better care of their pets
• Increase the human-animal bond
• Increase the degree of veterinary care that the animals receive
• Increase the health of the cat, dog and human populations
• Create a more harmonious existence for all
We must act now. We need your help. Please make a donation to Operation Potcake via Animal Balance’s website at: http://www.animalbalance.net/Donate.html or send a check to: Animal Balance, PO Box 8454, Bend, OR 97709. Or email Clifford@animalbalance.org for our wire details.
Together we can do this and help the cats, dogs and people of the Bahamas.
Additional answers to questions you may be asking: Why has it been moved to January 2013 from August 2012? The clinic has been postponed for two reasons. One reason is the intense heat of August in Nassau. We thought it was a good time because the schools would be empty and traffic would be less with schools out, but after speaking more in depth the vets feel that as we are working with animals that are not used to being handled to begin with they will be under considerable stress being trapped, lured into crates and confined. With heat being a factor this could put our patients at a risk during and after the surgery.
Also, as we have visitors coming from all over the world we do not want anyone to suffer from heat exhaustion as our days will be long and labour intensive. Secondly, is the amount of preliminary work required to make the 10-day program successful. Local volunteers from the animal NGO’s have to do a lot of work before teams arrive and the clinic begins. We have to confirm the clinic locations, fundraise, gather donations of materials, arrange for enough traps, crates and carriers, canvas and poll the neighbourhoods for the dogs.
We want to have roughly identified and ‘pre-registered’ the 2,000 animals we will be spaying and neutering and talk to the residents of the communities before the teams arrive so it is just a matter of a streamlined collection service as the pick-up process can be very time consuming for the roaming dogs. For example, just on our spay day community walk on February 18th, we collected 4 dogs and had them in carriers in the truck ready to go as a man said they were his and we could take them to get spayed and neutered. Just as we were about to leave a lady came out and told them we could not take them as they were her dogs. It was quite a considerable waste of time.
Why are we putting the animals back on the street if they are stray and homeless? ‘Stray’ animal is a very loose term in the Bahamas. In our experience MOST animals have a person that will speak up for them. We consider most to be roaming or community dogs as most dogs you see have a caregiver. Cats are also very independent and have excellent survival skills. However, we never return an animal to the street that appears to be struggling to survive. A very skinny, sick, or injured dog would not be returned. We would assess the ability and cost to rehabilitate the animal or make the decision to humanely euthanize. We are going to face these issues during ‘Operation Potcake’ as we do in our regular spay and neuter community work. We will have foster homes lined up for young puppies, or friendly adoptable dogs that can be rehabilitated from skin conditions or a treatable illness/injury. We will also have the Bahamas Humane Society inspectors working with us as there are inevitably going to be cruelty cases to be addressed.