Chateaubelair residents raise alarm about missing dogs
by: Katherine Renton
Multiple evacuees/residents from a North Leeward community are unhappy after finding their dogs missing, and their suspicion is falling onto the non-profit organisation, the Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA).
However, the VSPCA assures that this is not true, that they have only taken into their care a handful of dogs that were in a dire condition, and who they confirmed had no owners.
Tari Codogan, a vision and performance artist and freelance reporter from Chateaubelair, chose to stay in his home village, in order to document firsthand via live stream on Facebook the eruption of ‘La Soufrière’ volcano.
He took it upon himself to appeal to persons through these daily broadcasts for food to feed the dogs in the area, because he believed they would become aggressive towards the livestock if he didn’t.
“…I fed all the dogs in the area. So they would follow me. And there was this special one Rocky, who was the first dog that I start feeding; he was living with me,” Codogan told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday, June 7.
“…I went away and I came back, and Rocky was not there. So I think he woulda come. I went looking for him, he didn’t come. I asked if anybody seen him, nobody saw him, and I kept feeding the dogs, still no Rocky,” he recounted.
He had heard of the May 20 ‘Freedom Flight’, on which the VSPCA, in coordination with other entities, flew 33 dogs that had been in their care to Tampa, Florida for adoption by families there.
“…I strongly suspect that Rocky is one of the dogs that were sent,” Codogan commented adding that there was someone from Fitz Hughes working with the VSPCA who he claimed took dogs from the area.
He said that he feels really bad because the dogs weren’t strays and he got attached to Rocky.
“Rocky is a big star, Rocky been on all the lives” and persons have been asking about him, he said, adding that Rocky’s owner is “torn up”.
He wants to see ‘Rocky’ returned to his owner, and the dogs belonging to other owners who are complaining about the same thing, returned. He said that he wants the dogs to be taken care of in Chateaubelair, suggesting a fund and a dog pound.
Another resident of Sharpes, Chateaubelair, 44-year-old Conley Porter, claimed: “…I saw my dog in a picture with a lady, they say she’s in Miami.
So I don’t know how my dog reach there because I run from Soufrière and left the dog home…”
“I feel sad knowing that the dog used to be by the shop dey every day and just missing like that. So I want to know what’s going on, how am I gonna get compensation for my dog or anything like that,” he queried.
Fifty-year-old Rohan Williams also of Sharpes, Chateaubelair revealed that two of his dogs, ‘Brown Girl’ and ‘Wild Ting’ are missing. He had left to go to a shelter, but returned for the first time two weeks after the first explosive eruption, and his dogs were missing.
“I did say well, they dead, but since I dey understand that people pick up the dogs them in the area, the stray dogs, and my dog ain no stray dog,” he said. He share that he misses his dogs which accompanied him to the mountain and he doesn’t believe they are dead because they are strong. He said he wanted to get his dogs back.
SEARCHLIGHT reached out to the VSPCA’s Co-founder and President Kiersten Anderson, on Tuesday, June 8.
She explained that ‘Sophie’ is the only dog that flew out on the ‘Freedom Flight’ from the volcanic hazard zone. Thirty of the 33 dogs on this flight were in the VSPCA’s care before the explosive eruption.
‘Sophie’, she said, was picked up in Chateaubelair after the VSPCA’s field team observed her with her puppies, and found the owner, who said they could take her and the puppies. The owner apparently helped to load her onto the vehicle. Many of her puppies, which could not travel being too young, have since died from Parvo.
Besides this dog and her puppies, the VSPCA have picked up two male dogs, one from Owia and one from Sandy Bay, who they also confirmed were unowned. One of these dogs needed to stay at the vet for serious medical treatment.
Additionally, they picked up two others on the Windward side.
“…They were just gonna die, I mean they were in really rough shape, starvation, dehydration, lethargic, no real zest to try and eat, and we knew that if we had left them there they would have passed, and we confirmed with people in the area that there was nobody to look for them,” Anderson explained.
Their attention was recently drawn to puppies abandoned in the bushes. Police officers had apparently stopped them to alert them that the puppies were there, and the mother hadn’t been seen for days. They have taken these into their care, and found foster homes for them.
Anderson was asked about a particular dog in a picture uploaded online as having been adopted by an individual in Florida. This is the dog that Porter said was his male dog that went missing. She explained that the female dog had been picked up in Villa 10 months before the flight, as part of a litter of puppies.
A video of ‘Rocky’ was sent to the VSPCA, and they have responded that the dog in the video was not removed or engaged with.
Williams did not have photos for reference.
“I know that everyone is going through a lot in their own ways, and the last thing I would want is for someone to think that we are deliberately inflicting harm on their person or their livelihood by tampering with their animals,” Anderson indicated.
“…We do our best to help as many as we can, and any time we have to have the conversation about – is this animal going to crash and die overnight if we leave it? – we do due diligence with making sure that we are checking in with every single person that we can in that area, to determine if that animal is owned or unowned. And then even if we determine it’s unowned, we still post them on social media and to determine if someone does come forward to claim the animal,” she stated.
She encouraged anyone with questions to reach out to her personally at (408) 857-2048 or [email protected] Persons may also direct message on social media platforms.