The Saint Lucia Animal Protection Society (SLAPS) is seeking Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption to boost its efforts in getting stray dogs off the streets.
SLAPS President, Pamela Devaux, explained that the organization is a charity which spends a lot of money on dog food.
“If we could claim the VAT on that dog food and other items that we buy like disinfectant, that money can be put into caring for the dogs including getting dogs neutered,” Devaux told the Times.
She said that all of her organization’s resources go into feeding, neutering and trying to find homes for abandoned dogs and cats.
Devaux revealed that a SLAPS member rescued, cared for and found homes for over fifty cats last year.
She said that last year her organization found homes for over one hundred dogs.
“It is hard because there are more dogs than there are homes and we try to make sure that the dogs go to good homes, to people who can afford to take care of them and will not tie them up,” Devaux told the Times.
She explained that volunteers do the work of SLAPS.
Asked about the organization’s work in ridding Castries of stray dogs, Devaux told the Times that the animals present a problem.
She noted that a lot of the dogs in Castries are extremely afraid of humans as a result of being abused.
“Nobody can just go and pick up a dog,” Devaux told the Times.
She observed that a few of the animals are friendly but the majority do not trust humans.
“To ask what we are doing – we are not professionals, we are volunteers, mainly older volunteers and we have tried in Gros Islet to pick up dogs that are just roaming, but it is extremely difficult,” Devaux said.
She estimated that out of every twenty-five dogs found roaming, there may be one that is friendly enough to be picked up.
According to Devaux, over the years there have been several meetings with the Castries Constituencies Council (CCC) on the issue.
She said SLAPS is willing to help, but is very clear that the animals have to be treated humanely if the organization is to cooperate with the CCC.
“If they are going to be put down they have to be euthanised by a Vet; not shot by somebody who wants target practice,” Devaux declared.
She recalled that there was a major clinic at the Marchand grounds in October where some 400 dogs from the Castries area were spayed and neutered.
Devaux said if several such clinics can be held, over a few years there will be a huge difference in the stray animal population.
But she asserted that such efforts have to be consistent.