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The VSPCA one year old and going strong


The Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for me will always be synonymous with Kiersten Anderson.

It looks like it was only yesterday when a new Peace Corps volunteer graced our shores with her presence to embark on her two-year sojourn here to live and work in the Vincentian community.{{more}}

I received a call from the local coordinator of the Peace Corps, asking me if I could speak to some Peace Corps volunteers about some animal matters. I gladly consented, as over the years I have had a very cordial relationship with a few Peace Corps volunteers.

Firstly there was Sarah Gertmenian, who had a degree in mathematics. She was interested in Veterinary medicine and over a period of two years, while working as a teacher in the Mespotamia valley, she spent a few hours at our clinic after work three times weekly. I am pleased to say that she subsequently went back home and eventually entered Veterinary School; she graduated as a Veterinarian about 10 years ago.

Relatively recently, there was Karen Nann, who basically did the same and is now pursuing studies to be a Veterinary Technologist in Colorado.

The meeting was organized and Kiersten Anderson and Jessica Greathouse attended.

The young ladies were here in the country for a few months and communicated to me their concern about the large number of stray dogs seen on the streets. They were very concerned about the physical condition of some of these dogs and wanted to do something to help.

I explained to them that there was no Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals existing in St Vincent. But that over the years, I had worked with individuals, especially in Bequia, doing subsidized spays and neuters.

One of these persons was Marian Plumberg (also called Marian WhyKnot) originally from Denmark. Over a period of about 15 years, for about six months every year, she would solicit donations, from tourists and locals alike, to go towards the subsidized spay/neuter programme in Bequia. Marianne was a very proactive person. She would drive around the community in her open back jeep, with the name ‘Why Knot” written on it, looking for stray or neglected dogs and cats. Rumour has it that she even rustled up dogs with rightful owners, sometimes without their consent, to have them spayed and neutered. Marian regrettably died a few years ago.

After Marian, there was Carroll Ruth of the Moonhole Company in Bequia. She created a fund for another such programme for dogs and cats from the Paget Farm area. She is now an active participant in the VSPCA.

Two years ago, a part-time resident of Bequia, Mr Sam Tull, took up the mantle and formed BARCC (Bequia Advocates for Reproductive Control in Canines).

He donated money towards another subsidized spay/neuter programme for the dogs in Bequia. This is ongoing and through this programme, I offer my expertise to do spays and neuters for dogs in Bequia at a subsidized cost to people who cannot afford to pay to have the operation done. People from Bequia who are interested in having their dogs spayed or neutered free of cost can contact our Bequia clinic at 457-3538 for appointments.

So, when Kiersten, full of enthusiasm, informed me that she was going to work towards the formation of the VSPCA, I was quite skeptical, as countless persons over the years in St Vincent, had expressed interest in the formation of such an organization and it never actually got off the ground. After a few meetings, I realized that she had what it takes to do it.

One year after, the VSPCA was incorporated as a non-profit organization, it is a force to be reckoned with.

After serving as its president for one year, Kiersten Anderson feels confident enough to pass over the reins of leadership to a new president, duly elected at the first AGM held last Thursday at the Alliance Francaise.

The new president who will guide the VSPCA for at least the next year is a well known animal enthusiast in SVG. She is Mary Barnard, who will be ably assisted in her duties by a very competent board of directors. This board consists of Margaret Ferrari, who as a lawyer was instrumental in the incorporation of the organization; Leslie Gonsalves, Winston Ferguson and Lauren Gun-Munroe. The Secretary is Pam Ratti and Treasurer, Lisa Walker. All of the members of the board have been advocates in their own rights against animal cruelty and have played exceptional roles during the first year of existence of the VSPCA.

Kiersten, who will be completing her tour of duty early next year, will continue to work closely with the organization.

I wish the VSPCA all the best in the coming years.

For further information, contact:
Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981