Charlieville, Trinidad –
The Animal Balance team has just wrapped up five days of MASH spay/neuter clinics in the towns of Barrackpore and Charlieville, on the gorgeous island of Trinidad. This was AB’s first trip to the island, part of the dual island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, and the first large scale spay/neuter project on the island.
Trinindad, while considered to be part of the Caribbean, lies just seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. It is both rich in cultural and bio diversity, hosting a wide range of fauna that is similar to what can be found on the South American continent. With species such as leatherback sea turtles, red howler monkeys, green iguanas, and 400 species of birds, calling Trinidad home, maintaining the balance of cats and dogs on the island is crucial. Trinidad has a human population of just under 1.3 million and has a land area of 1,833 square miles.
The campaign was held in partnership with local animal welfare group, Animals 360, and our dear friend, AB veterinarian and board member, Dr. Raymond Deonanan. Dr. Raymond was even so kind as to host three days of the campaign at his home in Charlieville.
The campaign has been a dream of both Dr. Raymond and AB Executive Director, Emma Clifford, since the pair met and became fast friends in 2012. Dr. Raymond has helped with many AB campaigns in other countries, and we were thrilled to finally be able to help him on his own island.
The first two days of the campaign were held at a community building in the town of Barrackpore, on the southern end of the island. Animal Balance was joined by volunteers from Animals 360, who assisted with registration, health checks, and discharge, as well as three technicians who work with Dr. Raymond in his mobile veterinary practice. Together, the teams successfully sterilized 129 cats and dogs on the first two days of the campaign. Animals 360 took appointments for the surgeries, which allowed some control over the flow of the surgery day. The team quickly noticed, especially the surgeons (!!), that there were many more female animals than males. This is great news in terms of controlling the population, as fixing the female animals definitely reduces the risk of accidental litters and makes a huge impact on humane population control efforts.
We enjoyed the opportunity to interact with local residents and were graciously thanked for providing services that they have been in need of for some time.
After two days off, spent exploring a local nature reserve, checking out some of the local beaches, and doing some shopping at the amazing Indian bazaars around Charlieville, the team got back to work, setting up a clinic on the ground floor of Dr. Raymond’s house, where the team was also lucky enough to stay for the week.
During the three days in Charlieville, the team once again saw a majority of female cats and dogs, sterilizing another 200 animals. The turnout and support from the community was incredible. We saw many people come to drop off their animals for surgery and then end up staying for the rest of the day to assist the team in whatever way they could.
Overall, the Animal Balance volunteer team of 13 people, along with volunteers from the local community, successfully sterilized 329 cats and dogs in 5 days. Each dog and cat was also given anti-parasite medication and dogs were given a DHPP vaccination. Most importantly, however, were the connections that were made to lay the groundwork for ongoing return campaigns to Trinidad on an annual basis to continue with this important, lifesaving work.
Animal Balance looks forward to continuing to provide the communities in Trinidad with humane population management solutions for their cats and dogs.