Where are we going next?
Animal Balance has over 14 years of experience working with island communities and within different cultures around the world. We make it a point to listen and learn before we make any suggestions for a plan of action. We respectfully work with our partners to create a program that works for their community. Our role is to bring existing resources together and to identify and provide what is missing. We ensure that this is sustainable, as we very quickly connect the local organizations with foundations that can support their work directly, then we move on to help the next island.
We approach humane population control in a targeted fashion, putting all of our efforts into assisting the most in need areas with free sterilization, parasite treatment and vaccination services.
If you are interested in bringing Animal Balance into your community, please inquire about our consultation services. We can provide local groups with the tools and knowledge necessary to build their own humane, community-based population management programs.
With the continued support of our donors and partners, we would like to see the number of campaign dates grow in 2018. If you would like to see it expand as well, please consider making a donation today!
Animal Balance is currently planning campaigns on three Caribbean islands!
In June, a small team will be traveling to work alongside longtime AB veterinarian, Board Member, and friend, Dr. Raymond Deonanan, on his home island of Trinidad. Local animal welfare group, Animals 360, is serving as our local partner for this week-long campaign, that will serve two areas on the island, Charlieville and Barackpore. The campaign will run from June 10-16. It is the hope of the AB team that this campaign will become an annual event, in which we can continue to support Dr. Raymond and Animals 360 as they work to help the dogs and cats on Trinidad.
In April of this year, our Directors Emma and Meredith traveled to the island of Barbuda, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017. At the request of a benefactor, they performed a feasibility study to determine whether or not Animal Balance would be able to provide assistance to the animals on that island, which is still working to rebuild it's infrastructure following the catastrophic storm. The evacuation of humans from the island left many dogs to fend for themselves, and now, as the human population begins to return, they are facing a new generation of puppies that will continue to grow if population management solutions are not put into place quickly. We have set a tentative date in October of 2018, and are currently working on securing funding and supplies for this incredibly important campaign.
You can read Emma's blog detailing her experience during the feasibility study here.
The Dominican Republic has long been an island that holds a very special place in the hearts of the Animal Balance team, and we are extremely excited to be making plans to return later in the year. Our dedicated island partners have notified us that the town of Rio San Juan, on the northern coast of the island, is in need of sterilization for dogs in particular. Our team has worked in Rio San Juan in the past, and are looking forward to what will certainly be a very busy and impactful sterilization campaign there. Although dates have not yet been set for this campaign, the team is working with local partners to secure funding and work on logistics to make a long-awaited return to the Dominican Republic. We have many, many friends in the region, and are looking forward to seeing them again and working together to save lives on that very special island.
Overall, we are incredibly happy to be returning to this area of the world, after focusing our efforts on other regions for the past couple of years. 2018 is certainly going to be a busy year for us in the Caribbean, as we look to save and improve the lives of many animals on these islands.
Prior to 2004 there was no an animal management program for cats and dogs on the Galapagos Islands. The authorities were randomly poisoning dogs and cats with Compound 1080 placed in meat and put on street corners by the trash collectors. This indiscriminate approach has the potential to harm all species who could ingest this substance and die, including children, who would often play in the sandy streets.
The Galapagos National Park Service and ABG are mandated to protect the biodiversity of these islands, while the Mayor of each Municipality is focused on increasing wealth, which often means they are at odds. Tensions were high between the community and authorities in 2003 and witnessing their community dogs dying slowly and painfully in the streets only compounded the situation.
Despite the poisonings, the cat and dog populations were flourishing and could potentially prey on the delicate native species that do not know to flee, or protect themselves, when a predator approaches. The native species needed protection and help, but the local people did not have the tools to allow them to take responsibility for their pets, in an effective way and the authorities were not aware of any other options.
A comprehensive humane animal management was needed to address the situation. We provided the strategy, funds, equipment, medicines and skilled medical personnel in 2004, collaborated with CIMEI (the former ABG) and the Galapagos National Park Service (PNG) and methodically targeted community after community until 80% of the cat and dog populations had been sterilized.
Phase 1 of the Galapagos Islands program (2003-2014) was to focus on each community on each island and work with them to understand the importance of spay/neuter and responsible animal ownership. As each community witnessed the benefits, they requested more sterilization clinics. This helped to create the social change that was needed in order to implement humane animal management program island-wide.
Phase 2 of the program (2014-2024) aims to maintain the existing program with ABG. To this effect, Animal Balance has signed a memorandum of understanding with ABG.
Phase 3 of the program was to introduce a comprehensive 5-year community based sterilization program for community cats, which was signed into effect in December 2016. To achieve this, 50 traps and 50 transfer cages have been sent to Santa Cruz ABG and also to San Cristobal ABG.
Phase 4 The DHPP vaccine was approved for import in March 2017. Our team deployed to the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal for a two-week campaign in the Fall of of 2017 to sterilize dogs and cats and assist our partners at ABG in vaccinating dogs on those islands. Community turnout on both islands was high, and the campaign was a great success. Hundreds of animals were sterilized and vaccinated, making huge strides once again in our continued efforts to ignite social change for cats and dogs and bring humane population management solutions that will ultimately protect all species in the Galapagos.
The Animal Balance team will be returning to the Galapagos Islands in May of 2018 to continue Phase 4 of the program by providing sterilization and vaccination to animals on the islands of San Cristobal and Isabela.
To read our full history on the Galapagos Islands click here.
Galapagos 2017 Campaign !
Our team has just returned from a two-week campaign on the Galapagos islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal where they provided free sterilization for cats and dogs to the communities on the islands. We also provided support to our partner organization, ABG, as they offered DHLPP vaccines to dogs on the islands for the very first time.
386 cats and dogs were sterilized and hundreds more were vaccinated during this campaign, continuing our mission of improving the lives of animals, igniting social change and providing humane population management solutions to the Galapagos.
The team quickly fell in love with the islands and their inhabitants, human and non-human alike. It is widely known that the Galapagos Islands are a precious place, and each time we visit we are reminded why continuing to protect this area is so important.
Animal Balance has been working with the communities, NGO's and humane societies on the Hawaiian Islands since the Oahu SPCA contacted us to introduce Zeuterin to their local community as a non-surgical sterilization options for male dogs on the island. Although Zeuterin was taken off the market in 2016, our work in Hawaii continued as interest in MASH surgical clinics gained momentum. Clinics on Maui, Hawaii and Molokai resulted in the successful sterilization of 881 owned dogs and cats, as well as giving the staff of the local humane societies the opportunity to train on effective MASH set-up and protocols.
Out targeted approach of studying intake data and focusing efforts on the areas that were producing the highest number of shelter intakes was tremendously successful. The Maui Humane Society was awarded a grant from Petsmart Charities to continue with the targeted work in 2016, and communities on both Maui and Molokai showed strong interest in continuing efforts to humanely control the feral cat population on those islands.
With key sponsorship from Alley Cat Allies, Animal Balance launched our Trapped in Paradise program (http://animalbalance.net/trapped-in-paradise/). The goal is to target the highest density areas of cats and systematically work with the caretakers to reach a minimum of 80% sterilization of the colony, with the ultimate goal of sterilizing 100% of the cats.
In 2017 we returned to Molokai, Hawaii and Kauai, partnering with the Kauai Humane Society, executing a MASH clinic for owned and community cats, as well as owned dogs. 200 humane traps and 250 transfer cages were shipped to the island as part of this project.
The Animal Balance team is currently preparing for a March 2018 campaign that will take them back to both Kauai and the Hilo side of Hawaii.
We are continuing with fundraising efforts to expand our MASH and TNR program for the Hawaiian Islands throughout 2018. Our teams will deploy to help the most at-risk populations of cats and dogs, offering spay/neuter assistance, as well as vaccinations, microchipping and parasite treatment.
Our Hawaii campaigns are a massive undertaking. It begins with the recruitment of two teams, a trapping team and a medical team. Ground support is provided by local NGO's. Clinics are held for 6 consecutive days and the teams work around the clock to trap, sterilize and return the cats.
Maui 2015 : 715 cats were trapped and sterilized in 6 days. 150 traps and 150 transfer cages were donated to Maui Humane Society.
Molokai 2015 & 2017 : 467 cats were sterilized in at Molokai Humane Society (which operates out of two refurbished shipping containers!) and 50 traps and 50 transfer cages were donated to Molokai Humane Society.
Hawaii (Big Island) 2017 : 685 cats sterilized in 5 days (clinic was held in an unused ice factory!) 50 traps and 50 transfer cages were donated to local TNRM group Hui Pono Holoholona.
Kauai 2017 : 658 cats and dogs sterilized in 6 days in partnership with Kauai Humane Society and Alley Cat Allies. Funding was also provided through Alley Cat Allies and Petco Foundation for several Animal Balance volunteer veterinarians to sit for the Hawaii licensing exam in Oahu, exponentially increasing the potential capacity for high volume spay/neuter on the islands.