The amazing, compassionate animal protector who was the catalyst for the Cape Verde program, Judith Kizell Brans, lost her battle with cancer a few days ago. We are very sad that she is no longer with us; however she started something beautiful that will save and improve countless lives forever. As such, we are dedicating our humane animal work in Cape Verde to Judith’s memory.
Judith asked a colleague of mine, Robert Blumberg of the Tsunami Animal-People Alliance (Sri Lanka) for help. Mr. Blumberg heard me speak at the HSI/HSUS Conference in Las Vegas a few years ago and then asked me if AB could please look into the possibility of helping the dogs, cats and people of Santiago Island in the Cape Verde Islands group. Thanks to a grant from The Alice Morgan Wright and Edith Goode Trust, we did.
Alice Ng and I flew to Praia last June and met with Judith to find out as much as we could about the situation. She told us exactly what we needed to know, without us even having to ask the questions. She simply got it. She connected AB with so many key people and gave us such insight into the situation there that we were able to start the program. She opened the door for us. I am delighted to tell you that the ASPCA and the Winsome Constance Kindness Trust of Australia have kindly helped to fund the first animal sterilization clinic in the Old Town of Praia, scheduled for February, 2014. This is the start of an island-wide humane animal management program that will benefit everyone.
The Cape Verdean dogs are in terrible shape, covered in mange, many limp around with broken or oddly healed legs, they suffer from malnutrition and parasites. They scrounge through the garbage, it is pitiful. THAT is all going to change.
At this time, we have recruited the medical team, we have been given approval by the Department of Agriculture to import our medicines, our dog cages are on the dock in Boston and about to be shipped down to Praia and we are working on raising the last $6,000 that we will need to buy the medicines. We plan to sterilize and treat approximately 600 dogs and conduct medical trainings with the local veterinarians.
In addition, while Judith while was in hospital emailing me more and more information that would help, she introduced me to our new amazing local coordinator for Cape Verde, Claudia Fernandez. She is about to take the dog census, conduct humane education and involve the local Para vets with the program. Plus, she has told me that she would like to continue to organize high volume sterilization campaigns and copy the Old Town clinic all over Santiago Island. That means this program is sustainable. That is a terrific start for positive change that has only happened due to one very special lady, Judith Kizell Brans.
Thank you to Judith for being the strongest voice for the animals that they could ever have hoped for. Cape Verde is 400 miles off the coast of Senegal and off most people’s radar. Judith made sure that we heard her cry for help and so the entire program will be conducted in her honor.
Never ever doubt it; one voice can change the world.