Reuniting pets with their owners and building emergency shelters for animals in Barbuda

15 September 2017

After Hurricane Irma, Barbuda is an eerie place. Apart from a handful of police and soldiers, the only inhabitants are animals. We’re keeping them safe and helping them recover

By Scott Cantin, Disaster Communications Manager for World Animal Protection reporting from Antigua and Barbuda

Yesterday (September 14), at a meeting with the Minister of Health and Environment for Antigua and Barbuda, we agreed a plan to create temporary shelters for dogs, and get them fed and watered.

Shelter could save lives

The shelter we build for dogs will keep them safe, but will also keep them away from roaming farm animals.  

Understandably, dogs have been frustrated and incredibly hungry. We saw many lambs, baby goats and young donkeys in Barbuda, who could be at risk of being eaten or attacked by desperate dogs. The shelter will help stop this happening.

A herd of goats were left to fend for themselves after all residents in Barbuda had to be evacuated.

We also want to avoid dogs becoming aggressive toward the men and women guarding the island while it’s still a disaster zone. This could have fatal consequences if the dogs were seen to be preventing them from getting on with their work.

Farm animals need us too

Once we have a plan in place for the pets, we’ll focus on pigs and horses as they tend to be more sensitive to new circumstances and bad weather.

Sheep and goats can graze on the grass, which remains abundant all over the island. We know that the work ahead to help all these different animals will take a very long time but are committed to helping as many as possible.

Ivory the dog is reunited with his owner

My next task is to visit the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society to see the dog Ivory and the two cats Irma and Tiger that we found yesterday.

Ivory the dog was so happy to have been discovered and will be reunited with his owner soon.

Ivory’s owner was ecstatic to hear Ivory had been rescued and is frantically looking for a place to stay that will take his dog in as well.

We hope to find Tiger’s owner too (and learn her real name, as we named her Tiger ourselves!), and find a good home for little Irma.

We also rescued Tiger the cat, and took her to Antigua where we'll try to find her owners.

Help from local animal lovers

We want to involve Barbudans as well, after all this is their home and many of them are eager to do something. They miss their homes and mostly miss their animals.

Sadly, they were not given the option of taking their pets or farm animals when they were ordered to evacuate.

Working with the government to prepare for the future

As well as our partnership with the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society, we’ll work with the government. We'll ensure that in future, no one has to make the terrible choice of leaving their animals behind.

It’s important to remember that this island nation had never seen storm like Hurricane Irma before. 

Apart from the emergency needs and welfare of animals right now, we’ll share expertise with the government about how animals can be included in future disaster plans.

Please donate today. Your kind will help us help animals like Tiger, Irma, and Ivory.

 

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