Sad reality in Guyana: there are not enough homes for all animals

Dear Editor,
Time and again, there have been numerous calls from the general public to have animals, both large and small, removed from the streets. This missive will zoom in on small animals, viz dogs and cats. The large animals such as horses, cattle and pigs are an entirely different kettle.
Editor, only those who are directly involved would ever truly understand. It is an endless daily battle. Any attempt to educated the society about the importance of animal wellbeing and welfare is an uphill task since, often times, the welfare of an animal is perceived to be inferior to that of humans.
Editor, the sad reality in Guyana is that there are simply not enough homes for all the homeless animals, and shelters are out of space. The shelters back home are filled to capacity. There simply is neither enough space nor resources to house all the animals. On any given day, an average of about 20 kittens and puppies are surrendered to any of the local shelters, the GSPCA might have a higher number. Now multiply that number by 7, and you get the reality.
There is simply no space!
Those that are not surrendered are dumped every day. Some are placed in bags and dumped in trenches or by the roadside. Some are dumped at garbage dumps. Some are killed by their very owners. These pups and kittens are left to the elements of nature, diseases and parasites. There is no one to care for them, no one to shelter or provide for them. Their next meal is not guaranteed, and their illnesses get progressively worse. Internal parasites proliferate. Attacks from older animals leave them wounded. Attacks from humans who despise them are even worse – chops, poison, burns etc.
Left untreated, their wounds become infected and infested, their diseases and parasites are then spread to our pets, and in some instances to us humans.
When animals are placed in overcrowded shelters, that situation also has complications. Reduced personal space for animals increases their stress levels, encourages fighting and obsessive-compulsive disorders (Stereotypies) such and clawing, biting, head butting, teeth grinding and gnawing etc. Overcrowding also increases the incidence of diseases and disease spread.
Editor, in some cases euthanasia is inevitable. Euthanasia is never an easy option, but it can be the most humane option. Euthanasia saves an animal from such torment. But again, it’s one of the hardest decisions to make. It is, however, the last option. This procedure is fast and painless for the animal, but never for the veterinarian performing the procedure.
Hence spaying and neutering are strongly encouraged.
If people really care about their animals, and do not wish to have kittens or pups, the conscious sacrifice must be made to have these procedures done. Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures done under general anesthesia, and should be done only by a licensed veterinarian. In the females, a small incision in made to gain entry into the abdominal cavity, and the ovaries and uterus are removed. In the males, a small incision is made under the belly and the testicles are removed.
The benefits of having these procedures done are many: no pups or kittens, no birth complications, reduced incidents of reproductive tumours, reduced aggressive dominant behaviours in males and females, less straying and injuries related to straying; and a longer, healthier life for your pet are just a few to mention.
But, as with all surgical procedures, there are risks related, some of which include post-surgical bleeding; infection of incision site; and in rare cases, allergic reaction to the anesthetic used.
Book an appointment with your local veterinarian to get these procedures done. Also, there are numerous animal welfare organisations and animal activists who assist with reducing the cost to have these procedures done. Please contact your local animal welfare organisation or activist to get help.
Also, you can do your part by adopting or fostering an animal; donating food, cleaning agents, toys; or volunteer your time at a local shelter or with an activist in your area.

Anurama Ramgobin
Tails of Hope Animal