Who we are and what we do?
Our goal is to better the lives of animals in general on the island by changing legislation, by education and training, by stimulating awareness to the public, by lobbying to implement the new laws and have them enforced, and to protect the healthy animals against being euthanized. To protect them, an all inclusive animal sanctuary is mandatory and we are working toward that ultimate goal.
- Pursue Legislation. The current laws consider animals to be an object and not a subject. Authorities are not able to protect animals by pursuing the animal's guardian in a criminal law suit. Humans treat animals as property and treat them in any way to suit themselves, whether it is for sport, profit, or plain abuse. There are some Ordinances concerning animals in effect that date as far back as 1946 and 1952. These are out of date and have no concern for the rights of animals. A draft ordinance has been re-written, submitted to government in December 2003 and is now in the process of being reviewed for implementation. You can find a summary of this draft ordinance here.
- Improve Enforcement of Legislation by cooperating with governments, private organizations, and the public by complaining for animals to be treated with the respect to which, as individuals, they are entitled by virtue of possessing inherent value.
- Promote the Philosophy of Animal Rights and Ethical Conservation in order to show that animals, plants and other natural phenomena such as unspoiled wilderness areas, mountains, valleys, rivers etc. have an inherent value, which is independent of any value which humans attach to them.
- Show that Animals exist in their own Right and are not individually or collectively, whether wild or domesticated, a means to human ends.
- Gather Statistics of the Community. The most important aspect of a healthy community is to know exactly how many animals are in good hands. The number of abandoned, abused, homeless, stray or feral animals needs to be monitored to determine how successful the community performs in improving the environment. There are currently no validated statistics available on the island.
- Provide Animal Owner Assistance. Members and volunteers visit homes where animals are chained, underfed, appear sickly, are not sterilized and are exposed to other animals, and where animals appear to need help in general. Initial conversations lead to expose where difficulties lie in the person's ability to treat the animal well. In some cases, where it is deemed by the foundation to be justified, help may be given in the form of donating animal shelter, animal food and water bowls, tie out lines in lieu of chains, identification tags, leashes for exercising, fencing, spay and neuter certificates, among other things. Where it is not possible for persons to spend time exercising an animal, members of the foundation will provide these services voluntarily.
- Rescue Animals - No-Kill. Between July 2003 and November 2004, at least 54 dogs were rescued from being killed or dying a slow death. They have all been brought back to good health and are in loving homes. More than 20 domestic cats have been rescued from death and are living happy, healthy lives.
- Numerous feral animals are being fed and cared for by compassionate members of the foundation. Animals are located in all communities over the Dutch side of the island.
- Adoption Centers on the island are at two locations: Cay Hill and Cole Bay. However, these centers are far from the badly needed facilities to bring rescued animals to health and to present them for adoption. The foundation currently seeks more foster homes and permanent homes for all animals, until such time that the island has its proper animal shelter/sanctuary, adoption center and education center.
- Encourage Spay and Neuter. Promote and encourage sterilization of animals to reduce overpopulation and improve the overall health possibilities of animals. The long time Animal Welfare Foundation is active with a spay/neuter program. ARFS is working to increase and enhance the level of spay and neuter operations carried out to achieve a minimum of 70% ratio of the population.
- Promote Community Awareness Programs. Provide animal care tips and advice using all media channels. Currently, the foundation publishes a weekly newspaper column on Saturday, to this effect. Other programs in the way of television publicity, radio interviews, brochures and flyers, newsletters, and direct mailings are in progress.
- Maintain a campaign encouraging humans to adopt a Cruel-Free Lifestyle.
- Initiate Projects and Campaigns that highlight specific types of animal abuse, exploitation, neglect and implement measures to end these.
- Develop Plans for Sanctuary / Boarding Center / Education Center. Land and buildings are badly needed to house the tremendous numbers of abandoned and abused animals on the island. Because space is severely limited in the two existing adoption centers, many healthy animals are being euthanized. The foundation is actively seeking sources of funds and donations for the development of an animal sanctuary where animals may be rescued, brought back to good health, and brought forward ready for adoption. For those who are not adopted, they may remain at the sanctuary without threat of death.
- At the same time, the plan is to have a self-funding sanctuary through boarding facilities and educational and tourist visitor programs.
As long as people believe that killing homeless animals is "just one of those necessary evils", it will continue. Some people still think it will be impossible ever to bring an end to the killing of homeless animals. Among them are some of the largest, oldest, and most well-known (and well-funded) animal organizations and humane societies. Today, we all look back at those and other social evils of the past as bizarre anomalies. Yet in our own time, many people, including even the large humane and animal rights groups, still give in to the daily slaughter of abandoned four legged family members in "shelters" everywhere. The bottom line is that as long as people believe that killing homeless pets is one of those "necessary evils" that can never be stopped then it will never be stopped. The resources, the talent, and the know-how to bring an end to this horror within this decade are now with us. All that's required at this point is the ongoing commitment to get the job done. Everybody knows it's wrong to be killing homeless pets. We all know, too, that none of us can turn this thing around single-handed. To bring an end to the killing, we all have to work together. We have to shed old notions of what cannot be done, find common ground, and always put the needs of the animals first. The general public needs to be on board, too. Millions of people now understand the need to adopt their pets from shelters, rather than patronize pet stores and puppy mills; to have their animals fixed; and to care for them like any other family member. There is certainly a long way to go. But the goal is clearly in sight. How wonderful it will be when there are finally No More HomelessPets!