Animal Defenders St. Maarten Concerned With Amount of Abandoned Animals in the Community
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Animal Defenders St. Maarten Concerned With Amount of Abandoned Animals in the Community

PHILIPSBURG - Animal Defenders St. Maarten has been noticing an increase in irresponsible pet behavior in the community of St. Maarten, particularly with regards to pet owners leaving their pets behind when they are moving abroad or to another place of residence. The Animal Care organization is appealing to the community to act responsible in caring for their animals, ensuring that they receive a healthy and long life of care and companionship; “We have been noticing an increase of pet owners abandoning their dogs when they move to another residence or when they leave the island. Additionally we have also seen an increase of dogs being abandoned at the Philipsburg landfill and, although we try our best to feed these animals, this has become an increasing problem island-wide,” said Mercedes De Windt of Animal Defenders.

The organization is urging those who have pets to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that their pets are well looked after when moving to a different location. And urges the community that if pets will become an issue in the future, to not adopt a dog or cat in the first place; “What we would like to emphasize is responsibility. We urge the community to act responsible to other living beings and to ensure that they have a good quality of life. When dogs and cats are abandoned this creates an extra strain on society in terms of a growing stray problem which, aside from causing societal erosion also has the risk of spreading animal borne diseases to pets that are well looked after,” continued De Windt.

Additionally, Animal Defenders urges the community and community groups to tackle the stray animal problem on island, rather than promoting the transporting of animals overseas; “although we always commend efforts to ensure that stray animals find a good home, what the island really needs is a tackling of the stray animal problem locally. This can be done through ensuring that the dogs which are strays are fed and watered regularly, something which Animal Defenders does through a volunteer program; ensuring that the population is educated on how to properly care for animals; and a spay and neuter program. This last point is also important: many times focus is placed on spaying female animals, but this is an invasive procedure that results in a long recovery time. We therefore also recommend neutering the animals, so ensuring that the males are castrated which is a much less invasive procedure and has the added benefit of reducing the amount of runaways and fights in the male population.”

Animal Defenders St. Maarten plans on initiating a three-pronged approach in tackling the stray problem of St. Maarten, ensuring that animals are provided with a good quality of life, that stray animals are kept under control through spay and neuter programs and that the population is educated on the importance of caring for animals; “We believe a strong country is one in which all beings, human and non-human, are respected and cared for. That is why it is important that the community realizes how essential it is to care for their animals,” concluded Animal Defenders St. Maarten.

For those interested in assisting Animal Defenders through becoming a feeding volunteer or by donating dog and cat food or funds for medical treatment, you can contact Mercedes De Windt at 5533116 or Tadzio Bervoets at 5263509.

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