Barbuda has become a haunting place after Hurricane Irma. The only people there are animals, and there are just a few soldiers and police officers. We are keeping them safe, and helping them recover.
Yesterday, September 14, we met with the Minister for Health and Environment of Antigua and Barbuda and agreed to a plan for temporary shelters and feeding for dogs.
Shelter can save lives
Shelters for dogs are designed to keep them safe and away from farm animals.
Dogs are often frustrated and hungry, which is understandable. Barbuda was home to many young donkeys, lambs, and baby goats. These animals could be at high risk of being attacked or eaten by hungry dogs. This will be stopped by the shelter.
Also, we want dogs to be respectful of the men and women who are protecting the island from being turned into a disaster zone. If dogs are seen obstructing their work, this could lead to fatal consequences.
We are also needed by farm animals
Once we have a plan for the pets, then we will focus on pigs or horses because they are more sensitive to changes and bad weather.
The grass is available all over the island and can be grazed by goats and sheep. Although we know the work ahead of us to help these animals will be difficult, we are determined to do our best to help as many as possible.
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Ivory, the dog, is reunited to his owner
Next, I will visit Antigua and Barbados Humane Society to meet Ivory and Irma and Tiger who we found yesterday.
Ivory’s owner was thrilled to hear that Ivory had been saved and is now frantically searching for a place to live that will allow him to take his dog.
We would love to meet Tiger’s owner (and find out her real name as she was named Tiger by us! We hope to find Irma a loving home.
Local animal lovers are available to help
Barbudans should also be included, as this is their home. Many of them are keen to help. They miss their animals and their homes.
They were not allowed to take their farm animals or pets with them when they were evacuated.
To prepare for the future, we must work together with the government
We will also be working with the government, in addition to our partnership with Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society. We will ensure that no one ever has to make the horrible choice of abandoning their animals.
It is important to keep in mind that this island country has never been subjected to a storm like Hurricane Irma.
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We will not only address the immediate welfare and emergency needs of animals, but we will also share our expertise with the government on how animals can be included into future disaster plans.