VSPCA issues full response to allegations
The VSPCA was asked by media outlets to respond to accounts from community members stating that their dogs were missing after they returned home to their evacuated zones. The allegation is that the VSPCA moved – or removed – their animals. I can say with absolute certainty that this is not the case, and sad for everyone involved… The guardian who has come home to not find his or her dog, the animal itself, which has gone missing, and of course our organisation, which has been on the ground and frontline working for the past two months straight to ensure we are helping as many people and animals as our resources and small team allow. The two animals in question in the article below, which reporters forwarded me images of, have been addressed and clarified as one: not being this person‘s dog and two: not being touched by the VSPCA.￼￼
30 of the 33 dogs who flew on the recent flight to Florida, had been in the VSPCA’s care since long before the volcano erupted. Of those three post-eruption: one was from Union island and confirmed homeless prior to being sent up by a local rescue organisation on Union, the other had been in private foster care after being abandoned and confirmed unowned, and the third, Sophie, was given to the VSPCA’s field team on a food-drop mission in Chateaubelair by her owner, along with her puppies. Sophie flew to our partners at Humane Society of Tampa Bay and is doing great. Sadly, all but three of her puppies passed away after vigorous treatment for parvo virus, which they had contracted most likely before coming into our care.
The freedom flight took a great deal of the VSPCA‘s time, and other valuable resources and was in the works for over a year. In disasters, people experience great trauma. The VSPCA extends its sincerest condolences to everyone who has been affected, in one way or another, by this volcanic natural disaster. We recognize that the bond between person and animal runs deep, and we celebrate that in our education and outreach programmes. We know that a person’s animals can be great healers and motivators for them to get up every morning and continue to make a life for themselves and their family.
To say that the VSPCA is taking animals, is not just untrue, but it’s unfair. Our ground team has been working nonstop and are doing incredible work all over the island… we have bought thousands of dollars worth of material to create feeding stations and then erected them in the red zone for animals to access. This has curbed attacks on livestock and also saved many from near starvation. With donor funds, we continue to purchase animal food and distribute, pay our team fair wages, and have animals treated by our veterinarian who, without intervention, would continue to suffer.
We have been told we are not doing enough and that all of the puppies in the red zone need to be picked up and corralled somewhere. We have been told we are taking animals from the red zone. Let me tell you the truth: we are doing the best we can, every single day. We made a hard decision early on to not pick up animals in the red zone, because there is no registration system in Saint Vincent and we would not be able to tell who was owned and who was not owned. We also do not have a shelter, and the foster/adoption culture in Saint Vincent is still emerging. To say that we have taken people’s animals from the red zone and shipped them to Florida is false. The truth of the matter is, though each dog is an individual, many look similar, and many have died horrific deaths in the last two months. To come home to not find your animal is heartbreaking, but I guarantee you that it’s not at the hand of the VSPCA.
Anyone who has questions about any of our operations or the freedom flight is welcome to message me directly anytime. +1-408-857-2048. Please help us get this messaging out to address these false statements.
We thank those of you who have held strong and continue to support the work of the VSPCA, as you can. Whether it’s donating, sharing our posts, commenting with support… We hear and see you. We have no space for negativity or falsehoods, rumors or toxicity, we let our work and our output speak for itself. If you see problems for our animals in Saint Vincent, then your eyes are open. We ask that those who are able to, join us as volunteers and help expand our reach and mission to help more animals and people and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Please continue to help us, help them.