August 31, 2012
VSPCA wants end to animal cruelty in SVG

The local animal protection society is calling for Vincentians to do more in the fight against animal cruelty and the increasing stray dog population.{{more}}

The Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA), founded by veterinary assistant Kiersten Anderson, has been operating for just over a year to educate the public about spaying, neutering and other ways in which they can ease the suffering that many animals experience.

Anderson told SEARCHLIGHT that although the way Vincentians treat their pets (and other animals) has improved over the past decade, there is still a lot of improvement to be made.

“Dogs and cats are still treated as disposable things… If they die of disease or starvation, no problem, you can just get another,” lamented Anderson.

“Some don’t understand the love and delight these animals can give. And the livestock and wild life of SVG? Again, too much neglect… from not seeing these animals as living, breathing creations.”

In the short space of time that the organisation has been operating, Anderson said that she and several VSPCA members have witnessed too many incidences of animal cruelty – the most recent being a dead cat hanged from a tree in the Villa region.

“When Vincentians can begin to extend kindness towards all of God’s living creatures, the country will be stepping in the right direction,” she said.

“If you perpetuate violence and enable [it] to transcend generation, that is what the … youth will accept as the norm. Conversely, if you teach kindness, and reward behaviours and attitudes that cultivate compassion, we can all (four-legged or not) look forward to a peaceful and respectful future.”

Currently, the VSPCA runs a monthly walk-in clinic in various communities, where residents can bring their pets and other animals to be treated by a veterinarian.

There is also a monthly discounted clinic run at Dr Colin Boyle’s veterinary practice.

“In general, people have reacted positively to the VSPCA and the services we provide … we are receiving more phone calls and appointment enquiries … as well as enquiries about re-homing animals,” said Anderson.

Despite this, Anderson said that the incidences of animal cruelty are still all too common. She said that some of the worst cases she has witnessed include a toothless, emaciated dog that was chained so tightly that it couldn’t lie down; starving dogs on the streets; and poisoning from gramoxone and other herbicides.

“Gramoxone…is often used in the intentional killing of animals. It is a slow, painful and incredibly inhumane death,” she complained.

“It is cruel and all cases of it need to stop immediately.”

Anderson further stated that the organisation faces many challenges on a daily basis – one of the greatest being getting people involved.

“It’s difficult for a few to adequately cover so much that needs to be done – humane education, spaying and neutering in villages; rescue, rehabilitation and fostering; fund-raising; administration. So much more could be accomplished with more people giving a little of their time,” she pointed out.

Anderson also noted that poverty, limited access to rural communities, convincing people that spaying/neutering is a good idea, misconceptions about the organisation, and not having the Animal Protection Act enforced are challenges that hinder the VSPCA’s efforts.

“What good is a law if no one enforces it, let alone knows about it?” she questioned.

“Spaying and neutering is essential for the development of the country. It improves the overall health of a companion animal … it’s a humane way to cut down on the rampant stray over-population and all the problems associated with it, including spreading of disease to other animals and humans and destruction of property and livestock.”

Despite the negative side to her work with the VSPCA, Anderson said that what they do provides an “inner satisfaction” from knowing that they are doing good for the animals and people of SVG.

The VSPCA runs educational sessions in communities and schools as part of its outreach programme, and promotes its work through the website (, social media and local advertising.

Anderson expressed deep gratitude to current volunteers and those who have made financial contributions and supported

their fund-raising activities in the past.

“Without them we could not have even started. But it takes people actively involved to keep an organisation running. Please volunteer, and together we can make a difference,” she appealed.

The VSPCA currently has 120 paid memberships, and its board of directors include Kiersten Anderson, Leslie Barnard, Margaret Ferrari and Mary Barnard. Officers include Lisa Walker and Pam Ratti.

If members of the public want to contact the VSPCA with concerns or queries they can call (784) 532 9327, email [email protected] or leave a message on the organisation’s Facebook page.