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A Closer Look at Noah's Ark: Cayman Brac's Hurricane Shelter for Animals (Part 2 of 3)

Published on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Email To Friend    Print Version

Karen Fraser displays one of the ‘Doggie Banks’ built to raise funds for the Cayman Brac Branch of the
Humane Society

This is the second of three parts of yet another amazing story of the resilience of how the people of Cayman Brac, the middle sized Sister of the trio of Islands which make up the Cayman Islands, take matters into their own hands to make the community work for all who live, work and love the Brac.

When Hurricane Paloma hit the Cayman Islands last November, it set several records for its intensity. Seventy percent of the buildings on the Sister Island Cayman Brac were either damaged or destroyed. Noah’s Ark proved, once again, to be a safe haven for otherwise defenseless animals. After the storm, the Grand Cayman Humane Society offered their emergency pet food stocks – several hundred pounds of dog food, cat food and bird food – to Cayman Brac pet owners so that they would have something to feed their pets in the aftermath of the storm.

Noah’s Ark received further assistance from the Government, who provided a generator so that the shelter could continue to care for the animals even during power outages. Cayman Airways also offered to help by providing free air passage to animals in need of emergency veterinary care.

Although Noah’s Ark is a new initiative for the Humane Society, it is born out of a long tradition of local concern for animal welfare. In 2002, the Cayman Islands’ Humane Society recognized animal activists Karen Fraser and Debby Scott for their efforts to help injured animals and pets in distress. The two women sought to cover the costs of various animals’ care by selling used paperback books at Coconut Boutique at Divi Tiara Beach Resort. Often, however, they would end up contributing money from their own pockets to make up the difference. The Cayman Islands’ Humane Society (CIHS) encouraged the women to form their own Brac branch of the Society. Fraser and Scott gladly accepted the offer, recognizing that the CIHS could offer them much-needed assistance with their ever-growing pet “patient” load.

The CIHS immediately provided T-shirts for sale and the funds from these sales enabled the Brac Branch of the Humane Society to expand and upgrade their services. Today, the CIHS continues to support the Brac branch by covering the cost of the vouchers issued to pet owners who can’t afford to spay and neuter their animals. In addition, the Brac branch continued to raise its own financial support from the sale of used paperback books at Coconut Boutique, the proceeds from all sales at the Paws and Claws Thrift and Gift Shop and from their annual Christmas fundraising event.

These fundraising efforts have enabled the Brac Branch of the Humane Society to sustain several ongoing animal and pet owner services, such as maintaining cat feeding stations, supplementing the supply of pet food to several low-income households, walking dogs for the elderly, and offering a free spay and neuter service. The latter service, in particular, has proved invaluable to the pet owners who would otherwise not have been able to afford it.

When Karen Fraser first moved to Cayman Brac in 1977, she saw the many unwanted homeless cats and dogs roaming about and realized something needed to be done about it. In 2002, soon after the opening of the Humane Society in Cayman Brac, the free spay and neuter service was introduced with the help of Island Vets.

Look for part three of this feature next week in the Sister Islands section of Net News
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Nora Martin:
We are just looking into selling lots of land in Cayman Brac; do you know what impact this may have on the wildlife? You certainly are doing a grand job; maybe we could put your web link onto our website for you to maybe gain some donations?


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