Simone Johnally | Value the life of an animal, whatever its breed | Comment

There is no doubt that the excellent work done by Montego Bay Animal Haven (MBAH), in partnership with Save The Scruff, to find some of our new “Royal Caribbean Terriers” homes in need was needed and deserves praise, so Jamaica Veterinarians’ Association applauds them!

Social media has been inundated with humorous memes, including “Dog dem going a farrin ‘a live good life lef wi!” Although pet travel has long been made easier to and from Jamaica. MBAH has a recent history of exporting as tourists and foreigners fall in love with our animals, wanting to help through donations, rehabilitation and adoption. This, however, is one of the few examples of such a massive exodus and while the commentary is entertaining, we need to identify the root cause. Why would 144 of our local bastards leave Jamaica?

Many Jamaicans care deeply about animals of all types. Besides organizations like MBAH, Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA), and Animal House, there are many people who dedicate their tireless time and effort to caring for animals and trying to change hearts and minds. mind of those who don’t. ‘t. We are happy to see local businesses take over to donate to MBAH to make it easier to continue their work. It took a long time and continued support to all of our animal welfare organizations is badly needed.

The Royal Caribbean Terrier (otherwise known as the mongrel) is used locally to describe mixed breed dogs with little breed distinction on physical appearance, and they make up the majority of our stray population. Sadly, many Jamaicans oppose their adoption, and those who own them often do not see them as worthy of the same medical care and attention that “high” breed dogs tend to receive.

“Nuttin ‘cya do dem;” “Dem did not die of any disease;” I didn’t even buy it! are cold and common explanations sometimes heard by vets.


As a result, they receive substandard care despite the fact that they may suffer in the same way. They are struck by cars and can spread diseases such as those caused by internal and external parasites. “Dogs get thefts, not fleas,” a popular meme hints at improving their prospective conditions abroad. Ignoring these necessities along with abandonment and free range breeding perpetuates the stray dog ​​problem. As a company that does not focus on alleviating this problem, then we are helping to create sick and lonely dogs.

The population inevitably reproduces, resulting in overpopulation. By not attacking their mass reproductive capacities, we will always lose in the battle to save them. They can breed about twice a year with average litters of six to 10. Imagine how many can be born each year, many of which suffer and die before reaching adulthood. Those that survive to maturity can reproduce themselves in less than a year, perpetuating the cycle, a nightmare for animal welfare and population control.

JSPCA and MBAH do their best to save horribly treated or abandoned animals, also running community spaying and neutering clinics in low income areas with high roaming populations. Although extremely valuable, it is simply not enough given the scale of the problem. In the absence of other options, shelters are often forced to put unadopted animals to sleep in an attempt to make room for other animals in need. These organizations are donation-driven and the need for their services far exceeds the funding and time available. Without continued, substantial funding and the hands to get the job done, they will have a hard time expanding their business. The JSPCA, which works not only at the national level but also with a regional scope, has been trying to relocate for years without success. This is our officially recognized animal welfare organization and should not be taken for granted. Tangible support is needed.


Our animal laws are painfully outdated and inadequate. The recent passage of the Dogs Act (Liability for Attacks) was a necessary start, but now others like the Cruelty to Animals Act, the Pound Act, the Keeping of Animals Act and the Public Health Act need to be addressed. For starters, the fines in our archaic laws are slim. The exclusion of internationally accepted standards is more important. Why do our laws ignore the seriousness of torture, sexual abuse, poisoning and neglect? Why don’t the regulations describe their basic needs? Humans can speak for themselves; animals cannot. We are responsible for their well-being, and the interdependence of humans and animals should offer them their protections, just as it is our responsibility to preserve the Earth. We want our justice system to recognize the importance of this situation and put Jamaica on an equal footing with other nations, including others in our region, who have well-established standards of welfare. animal.

After changing the Dogs Act (liability for attacks), which assigns criminal liability to owners of dogs injuring humans, perhaps we can now focus on protecting dogs from humans who injure them or mistreat them, from neglect of proper nutrition. , shelter and appropriate medical care. There is significant scientific evidence that supports that individuals who mistreat or harm animals continue to do the same to humans. Likewise, being kind to animals is directly related to kindness to humans. By educating people about the proper care required for an animal and its relationship to human interactions, we can then begin to build a kinder, gentler society.

So why would strangers want to adopt our dogs? The answer is simple. These people understand the value of an animal’s life regardless of its breed. This is reinforced by their national perception of animals and by a culture of welfare supported by strong legislation. Locally, we need a broader understanding of what property entails, with appropriate repercussions for those in breach.

The JVMA believes that change can come from a healthy combination of the following strategies:

1. Public education

2. Improvement of local legislation on animal welfare

3. Management of the wandering population, including spraying and sterilization and resettlement programs

There is a tremendous amount of work to be done to raise our standard of animal care in Jamaica, including companion animals, food animals, and sport / attraction animals. “A basket full of cocoa.” This requires political will and a concerted effort from all parties. Let’s transform the minds of our future generations and the lives of our animals.

Dr Simone Johnally is a Veterinarian, President of Public Relations and President of Animal Welfare at the Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association. Send your comments to [email protected]

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