By Kingsley Emmanuel
THE welfare of cats and dogs in Vieux Fort and environs was given some much needed attention during a four- day spay and neuter seminar, organized by two local organizations last week.
Help Animal Welfare St. Lucia (Helpaws), teamed up with Taj Weekes’ charitable organization, to reduce the number of stray dogs in Vieux Fort. Helpaws was established in Soufriere three years ago by Carlene Penny.
A group of Canadian volunteers who usually work with Helpaws during such an exercise, performed the surgery on the animals. The volunteers include well qualified vets and technicians with numerous years of experience in their professions.
The initiative attracted a large number on animal owners from Vieux Fort and environs, who made full use of opportunity to improve the welfare of the animals for free. They brought animals to the clinic in various sizes and medical conditions, such as broken limbs, tick and flea infestation and underweight, caused by malnutrition and various diseases.
In an interview with The VOICE, Penny said the problem of stray dogs in the south of the island was a serious problem and required immediate attention.
“We have a lot of stray dogs on our streets and no one is taking care of them. What we need to do is to reduce their population,” Penny said.
This she added was being done at the clinic where the reproductive organs of some of the animals are removed.
Penny called on the public to show a more caring attitude towards the animals.
“We must treat the animals nicely. They have feelings too…We should treat them the same way we want people to treat us,” she said.
As it relates to the services her organization offers to the public, she said: “We rehabilitate stray dogs and find homes for them. We come to the rescue of animals.”
Weekes said: “We need to change our attitude towards animals.”
The problem of stray animals in the town of Vieux Fort has been a major concern to the Vieux Fort South Constituency Council, which applauded the effort of the organizations involved in the project.