The Saint Lucia Animal Protection Society (SLAPS) has expressed concern about a Castries Constituencies Council (CCC) campaign to rid Castries of stray dogs, saying that the CCC has put the cart before the horse.
According to SLAPS Secretary, Francine Anthonisz, there appears to be no place to put the strays that are removed from the streets.
Anthonisz said her organization met with the CCC, where the stray dog plan was unveiled.
But she told the Times that SLAPS had no idea that the dogs were already being removed.
The SLAPS official said the organisation was asked whether it would be in a position to take the stray dogs that were removed from the streets, but informed the CCC that it could not.
“We already have up to fifty dogs and over fifty puppies that we are caring for at the moment,” she explained, adding that SLAPS rents a facility which does not have the space to accommodate any more animals.
“When they told us the plan we said the best thing to do is to find a place – get somewhere, get the government to release some land to store these dogs,” Anthonisz recalled.
She said because of space constraints at SLAPS, the organisation spays and neuters animals that it picks up, returns them to where they were originally found and feeds them so that they stay healthy and do not multiply.
The SLAPS Secretary told the Times that the organisation supports what the CCC wants to do as long as it is done humanely.
But she said the society is not sure where the stray dogs are going to be put.
“That’s the problem, because we can’t take them in and we are concerned for the animals – they seem to have approached this the wrong way because they should have found a place to put them before they started collecting them,” Anthonisz declared.
She disclosed that she had spoken with the security firm that was contracted to remove the stray dogs from the city and was told that although the removal of the animals has started, there is no place to put the animals.
She admitted that stray animals represent a big problem.
However the SLAPS official said her organisation is a charity that is run by volunteers and does not have the manpower or the money to make a big impact on the stray dog problem.
She expressed the view that a lot of the strays in Castries probably have homes but wander into the City centre knowing that food is available.
Anthonisz said SLAPS has spoken to the CCC about getting people to be responsible for their rubbish.
“There is just so much rubbish everywhere. The dogs know that they can come into town and find food,” she stated.