WHAT is a motorist to do when one has to share the busy streets with that one mutt who feels entitled to trot the highways in its own time and at its own pace?
I find myself constantly pressing on my imaginary brakes when I’m on a vehicle and a stray animal runs across the street.
Whenever I see strays, I remember my British stepfather who visited the island for the first time three years ago. Every time he saw a stray, he would point out and shout “hound”. This made me giggle uncontrollably because he did it so often and he just could not wrap his head around why there were so many stray dogs running around so freely.
I also remember this one occasion, also three years ago, where my colleagues and I were driving around when we saw a healthy looking terrier running around near the Derek Walcott Square and this dog looked more like it was lost rather than stray because it would go up to any and every one in a very friendly manner. I was convinced that this dog needed help and the animal lover in me just would not let it rest. My colleague then suggested that I go after it and said if I could catch it then we could take it to the St. Lucia Animal Protection Service (SLAPS). So I agreed and it was then that I realised that my colleagues were being rather mischievous as I caught them recording me as I chased the poor pooch around town. Needless to say, I gave up the chase and called SLAPS anyway to come over to retrieve it.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a deep love and fascination for animals and was a regular donor to charities including People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and so it hurts to see the way animals are treated in St. Lucia.
For now, I’m going to leave out the way people treat the “pets” that they keep at home and only address the strays.
Why would anyone think it was okay to kick an animal to death, maim it with hot liquids or run over them with their vehicles?
I know from experience that strays can be a major nightmare but killing them? Really?
My seven year old daughter has seen so much road kill that she now thinks that she is brave enough to witness a human autopsy. Talk about desensitisation!
If you can be so barbaric to slay innocent animals for no good reason, I shudder to think of what else you are capable of.
With that said, my heart goes out to the people from SLAPS. It seems like they are fighting a losing battle that absolutely no one cares about.
This organisation needs so much more help than they are receiving…if they are in fact receiving any help because they are doing the job that no one wants to do. It is sad to see that there are people who care enough to take care of the strays yet they are inhibited because they are seriously lacking in space, resources and manpower.
There is a pack of stray dogs that has become infamous in Castries because they are frequently spotted holding up traffic or occupying sidewalks like bosses. The pack, which can go up to 15 dogs strong consists of dogs that are not scared to be seen, not aggressive and apart from the chance of getting nauseated by the sight of some sickly looking animals, they are not scared of human contact so why oh why are these animals still roaming the streets? Why isn’t there an organisation up and running with responsibility for handling these animals other than SLAPS which is in fact used for animal rehabilitation and re-homing?
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some of these animals are sick and diseased and need to be euthanized but instead of being humane, the poor animals are left to suffer until their final breath in more ways than one.
People, if you want no part in dealing with this matter then at least nip it in the bud because the majority of these strays came from homes where pet owners simply did not care to look after their animals properly or they were abandoned by owners who no longer wanted or was able to look after their animals. For goodness sake, if you know you can’t look after a pet, leave it at its original owner’s house because that cute little puppy or kitten will grow up faster than you can say “mash” or “chat” and they become responsibilities…tedious ones at that. So if you know that you don’t have the time, patience or finances to be pet owners, leave them for someone who does have what it takes.
And to the barbarians who find sport in hurting defenceless creatures, please stop. If the animals are being a nuisance, contact SLAPS and the animals will be taken away but please know, that it is neither big of you nor fulfilling to harm animals.