October 7, 2011
People need to change their attitudes towards animals.

The Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) was officially launched Tuesday, October 4.{{more}}

The group was created out of a response to the daily sightings of animal neglect that exists throughout the country.

Its mission, according to members, is to develop the infrastructure for the protection and rehabilitation of animals in need, promote public awareness and understanding of the proper care of animals, and to strengthen the human and animal bond.

Dr. Coleen Philips, local veterinarian and one of the group’s directors, said at the launch that the primary focus will be on animal welfare.

“Welfare does not only deal with making sure that the animal is fed and given medication, but it deals with the five freedoms,” Philips explained.

In order that the group is effective, they will have to target human attitude and behaviour.

“We are going to take a look at local beliefs. Still, people believe that their dogs must eat the scraps from the table, and not much care should be given to the animal because the animal can take care of itself,” Philips said.

The issue of spaying and neutering domestic animals is one that Philips says the group intends to spend a lot of time educating the public on.

She contended that the issue was one of great importance, explaining that if dogs and cats are allowed to procreate without restriction, the end result would be the existence of unwanted animals.

There were also positive attributes to having your pet neutered or spayed, Philips said.

Kiersten Anderson, the group’s first president and Peace Corps volunteer, was also of the view that public outreach and getting people to change their attitudes towards animal care was going to be the most challenging work of the group.

She, however, told SEARCHLIGHT that one of the main objectives of the group would be the promotion of responsible pet ownership.

“Unfortunately, people will be people and you will not always be able to change people’s minds,” she said.

The strategy would be to begin public education within the schools, Anderson explained.

“We can work with the children who have been very responsive,” she said.

The group is expected to begin its community outreach on November 23, when they travel to Barrouallie to begin its first set of neutering.

The executive consists of Kiersten Anderson, President; Dr Coleen Philips and Margaret Hughes-Ferrari, Directors. (DD)