SLAPS Shoots For A Shelter!

Before and After—The miraculous recovery of Casey thanks to SLAPS.

Saint Lucia continues to record a growing number of stray cats and dogs on its streets; animals with no homes nor owners who sometimes become a nuisance and a potential public health hazard.  These helpless and uncared for animals often become the brunt of cruelty by people who find them intolerable.
Battling this problem since August 1998 is the St. Lucia Animal Protection Society (SLAPS) whose objective, as its name suggests is to protect and be a voice for all animals. However, the main thrust has become the rescue of these hapless stray and abandoned animals, to ultimately find a home for them where they will be loved and properly cared for.
However, SLAPS runs solely on the largesse of its members; depending on donations, membership dues and fund raising events as well as the kindness of humane residents who contribute to finance  its ongoing spay and neuter program, medical treatment and food for rescued animals. As far as possible, SLAPS arranges for the animals to be neutered before they are adopted into their “forever” homes.
The Society’s biggest goal at this time is to provide a proper shelter for stray animals.  According to SLAPS’ President, Pam Devaux the organization is forced to beg members and their friends to take in animals to nurse them back to health.
“It often becomes overwhelming trying to cope with the sheer number of requests that SLAPS receives to take in dogs and cats, puppies and kittens.  Many people are under the impression that SLAPS is somehow affiliated to, or funded by a Government agency. They are not.  It is tremendously frustrating for longtime member to still be without premises to help care for all the rescued and needy animals.”  She added that very often the large number of strays act as an irritation to public events which underscores the need for a proper animal shelter.
“There have been many discussions regarding the nuisance of stray dogs in Castries and the several towns and villages that hold regular street parties.  SLAPS is more than willing to assist in finding a solution to this problem but they need a place to evaluate the dogs.  In 2011 SLAPS was instrumental in placing 56 dogs and 14 cats in homes; 37 dogs and 11 cats were neutered, and 10 dogs were euthanized.  Many other animals continue to be fed regularly and many animal owners receive advice and help.  “Up to June 2012, 45 dogs and 5 cats have been adopted; 28 dogs and 9 cats have been neutered; and 6 dogs have been euthanized. The absence of a shelter severely hampers the work carried out by SLAPS. Some of the animals picked up are in really bad condition and sometimes those that are euthanized could have been rehabilitated if SLAPS had premises” Mrs. Devaux said.
In an effort to make some impact on the situation, every year SLAPS embarks on a program to spay and neuter animals in the hope of bringing down the rapidly rising stray animal population on the island. On August 1, 2012 SLAPS will present one of its annual fundraisers that will take the form of a pot luck buffet dinner organized by Barbara Tipson and her staff at Jambe de Bois on Pigeon Island National Landmark at 7.00 pm
Many local restaurants and business houses are coming together to support this venture and will each ‘donate a dish’.
The restaurants that have signed on to date, to take part of the event to help protect St. Lucia’s stray animal population are: Razmatazz, Buzz, Delirius, The Big Chef, Rituals Coffee House, Bread Basket, and Jacques, also Ferrands Dairy, Brydens Liquor and Barbay Limited.  Also donating their efforts to the cause will be the band Annexus and Lulu; other musicians will also be donating their time.
Tickets are being sold in advance of this Fundraising Dinner at $55 per person, and can be bought from Pam 457 5277 or Jambe de Bois 450 8166. All proceeds of this dinner will be used by SLAPS to continue their spay and neuter program, heal and nurse stray animals  as well as help the pets of disadvantaged people on the island who often cannot afford treatment for their animals.
Leading SLAPS’ clarion call is Dr Keith Scotland of the Veterinary Hospital, who, together with another local veterinarian, Dr Jennifer Cenac, performs procedures on the needy animals for a significantly reduced rate.
SLAPS is hoping, as it does every year, that more St. Lucians and people resident on the island will step forward to help these homeless and unfortunate animals find the lives that they deserve.

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