SLAPS, the Saint Lucia Animal Protection Society, has said that the rising cost of living is a major factor contributing to dogs being abandoned by their owners.
SLAPS President, Pam Devaux, told the Times that abandonment of the animals represents a major problem.
“People are not taking responsibility – they have dogs and the females are not neutered or kept enclosed so they go around breeding,” Devaux told the Times.
She noted that a lot of the animals are in poor condition.
Devaux explained that her organization does not have a shelter and gets no support from the government at the moment.
She asserted that as a result, SLAPS raises money through donations and fund raising activities.
“We are inundated with calls from people who have found puppies or kittens abandoned in a box at the side of the road and we cannot handle it – it is becoming a major problem,” Davaux declared.
She explained that SLAPS is willing to help with neutering, which is where most of the organization’s money is spent.
Devaux disclosed that more and more dogs are being dumped on Vigie Beach and Pigeon Island Causeway.
“You can tell that a lot of these dogs are friendly,” she said, adding that they have collars and presumably came from a home.
However the SLAPS President told the Times that whereas in previous years people would have just one or two dogs, they now acquire more for the purpose of protection and then realize that they cannot afford to maintain them.
“More people ask for dogs for security than companionship but you don’t need six dogs because two decent size local dogs will give just as much warning as six,” Devaux declared.
She told the Times that some people call her organization and say if someone does not come to take their unwanted dogs, the animals would be dumped somewhere.
“It’s a horrible thing,” she told the Times.
Earlier this week the Police issued a warning to citizens to keep their farm animals or pets in a safe location.
According to section 26 of the Animal Act of Saint Lucia 2008, the police have the authority to seize any animal found wandering on the highway or public place.
The Act goes on to authorize the police to shoot or immobilize any animal which cannot be seized or which poses an immediate threat to public safety.
The owner of an animal who allows it to stray is liable on summary conviction to a fine of EC$5000.00 or imprisonment of two years or both.