Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas

by Baark!
Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas
Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas
Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas
Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas
Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas
Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas
Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas
Operation Potcake - Nassau Bahamas
Community Involvement
Community Involvement

As most of you probably know, Nassau Bahamas faced a huge outbreak of Canine Distemper Virus that started in June of 2014 and raged for several months.  The vets and local experts estimate anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 deaths of dogs - both owned and stray/roaming.  It was devastating and proved how important spay/neuter and vacinnations are PLUS education/awareness.  Please note - It is not transmittable to humans or cats. As a result we had to revamp our plan for this year's Operation Potcake because the Vet Association advised that with some cases of distemper still present we could not risk a large volume clinic.  

SO! When life gives you lemons - you make lemonade.  We have so many feral cats on this island, and they get overshadowed because they are not as visible as the dogs.  We always talked about focusing on the cat issue and here was our chance.  

Between January 29th and February 2nd 2015 406 cats were spayed or neutered! We had close to 40 cat traps out and about (25 brand new traps were purchased just for this project), close to 100 carriers, mostly borrowed and some we purchased for this project which we can use for future projects.  

We had volunteers out in communities trapping, people calling us to tell us where there were cats that needed trapping, people bringing in cats in all sorts of inventive methods of transport and in 5 days we spayed and neutered 406!!! On the Saturday we actually hit 100! 

We worked out of the Bahamas Humane Society Shelter so it was great to work out of a proper clinic.  The vet/clinic team were amazing along with all the volunteers from people answering the phone to field inquiries, cleaning cages and out trapping and returning cats.  

We are hoping to see less kittens at the shelter this kitten season :) 

We are really pround of our 3 year progress for Operation Potcake! Thank you for your help.  Without you it wouldn't have been possible. 

2015 - Grand Total - 406 cats spayed and neutered in 5 days at 1 clinic 

2014 Grand Total - 1184 dogs AND cats spayed and neutered in 5 days at 4 clinics 

2013 Grand Total - 2,315 dogs spayed and neutered in 10 days at 5 clinics 

We have planned another road count to see how the population of dogs is doing and will be comparing it to the data from our 2012 road count. Stay tuned... and thank you for your continued support!

Portion of Team
Portion of Team
Surgery Team
Surgery Team
2015 Poster
2015 Poster
Recovering is hard work!
Recovering is hard work!
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Summer 2014 brought an unexpected turn of events for Nassau, the animal rescue groups and the OP2015 Planning Committee. 

June and July Nassau, New Providence had an awful epidemic of distemper spreading and we are still seeing cases to date and it is mid September.  We have sadly lost many dogs.  Our local vets estimate between 1,000 and 2,000 dogs have perished to this awful disease. 

The Bahamas Humane Society and the Bahamas Vet Board supported by the Bahamian Government and Humane Society International have been diligent about organizing vacinnation clinics in the communities of Nassau and educating people about proper vacinnations.  

Due to this, it was decided that in New Providence we should not host MASH Clinics for OP2015 to be on the safe side. We do not know if there will still be cases in Nassau, or if a dog carrying the disease but not showing signs could affect other dogs at the clinic. 

So we have decided to focus on cats, we will be having a cat clinic in Nassau, like we did last year, and we will most likely be doing cat clinics in the family islands as well.  There are a lot of feral cat colonies that thrive in the family islands, and we are looking at this as an opportunity to focus on the cats.

We will also plan to be incorporating vacinnation clinics in the family islands and educating people.  

The lesson learned here is no matter how much one can plan you have to be adatpable.  You can be sure that the OPERATION POTCAKE/CAT TEAM will be providing assistance to the animals of the Bahamas! 

Please keep supporting, within the next month we will have details about what the exact plan will be! 

Thank you! Laura

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Garbo - before
Garbo - before

Thank you for your continued support of Operation Potcake.  It is such a worthwhile and needed annual event - we wished we could do it more than once per year but it is a large project to fundraise for and organize, so once a year is all our resources can handle right now!  And YES - you may wonder - Operation Potcake 2015 planning is underway... stay tuned for more details in our next report! 

This report is to highlight how Operation Potcake does not really just last 5 days.  Operation Potcake is a focused 'coalition' where all the animal groups come together to organize and then carry out a mass spay and neuter blitz to help tackle our huge stray dog and cat animal population that exists in New Providence. However, Operation Potcake never really ends and actually continues throughout the year. 

Rehabilitating animals: Spending 5 days in an underpriveledged community connects you with people and animals.  Many need help.  Hannah Foster-Middleton came across Garbo and her family.  We had all the dogs that are owned by Garbo's owner done during operation potcake 2014 but Garbo was too sick.  After going by the house frequently to feed and treat Garbo, she transformed.  It was an awesome education experience for everyone involved.  Garbo was then spayed.  

Here is Hannah's account - 

When Garbo was first spotted, she was hiding out in an abandoned building, starved, and suffering terribly from mange and a secondary fungal infection. Shortly after the initial spotting, during Operation Potcake 2014 - a mass spay and neuter program with several clinics held across Nassau - she was seen by another BAARK! volunteer. It took a while to finally get close enough to her to begin caring for her as she was very timid at first but warmed up to the food, water and medicine quite quickly. It turns out that she is loosely owned by people in the community, however those people were afraid that they would catch 'the mange' and so shunned her, resulting in her deplorable condition.

Her advanced ill-health and the shortage of foster placement opportunities forced us to make the decision to treat her in her current location rather than subject her to further trauma. She seemed to be somewhat surviving here, and that itself was a miracle. Three volunteers took turns feeding her on a daily basis ensuring that she had sufficient water and socialization. Ivomection was administered three times a week, in addition to vitamin and mineral supplements.

After only three months, she was transformed into the beauty you now see in this picture. She is a very happy and affectionate dog who has integrated into a pack. With some education and direction, the community now understands that they cannot catch mange and have taken a more active role in her care.

CAT TNR - our presence in the community made us aware of more spay and neuters than we could fulfill in 5 days, especially trapping and tackling entire feral cat colonies.  Our pressence also educates people in a SOLUTION and we receive many calls after Operation Potcake for continued help.   We have tackled 3 large cat colonies of over 20 cats in each colony since February 2014 thanks to teaming up with the Bahamas Humane Society and Baark!  The most recent were spayed on Sunday June 1st and most of the cats were in heat! Meaning there were about to be a lot of unwanted kittens born but we luckily got there in time! BIG POINTS FOR THE SPAY TEAM! 

Education - For 1 week in the summer, Baark! and the Bahamas Humane Society will be providing sponsored spaces at summer camp at the Bahamas Humane Society for children we met during Operation Potcake who we feel will benefit from the camp. 

Garbo - after
Garbo - after
Garbo - after 2
Garbo - after 2
Garbo - after 3
Garbo - after 3
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Spay and Neutering in MASH clinics VS official vet clinic locations is a wonderful way to accomplish high volumes of spay and neuters and educate the community you are working in.  

Operation Potcake focus' on just that.  For 5 days in February 2014 we had 3 MASH Clinics set up across New Providence for 'Operation Potcake' to spay and neuter dogs. 

We did have a cat clinic based out of the Bahamas Humane Society - as ofcourse cats are very crafty and good escape artists so we thought the most secure location would be best for the cats only. 

1184 was our total for 2014! Dogs and Cats - 5 days - 4 clinics! 

This report will highlight the MASH Clinic at East street from two of our wonderful volunteers who travelled in from the US to donate their time and help! 

Being a non-local Operation Potcake volunteer, every day began the same......it was still dark out as we boarded the bus to our clinics. The excitement on the bus was infectious.....we all were on a 'rescue rush'. Our clinic, East Street Clinic, which was under a tent in the back of Our Lady Church on Deveux St, was a real MASH clinic. We were assigned to the recovery team. This involved performing tasks out of our normal comfort zone, but we were loving every minute of it. Even though every day began the same, no two days were ever alike.

Everyone at East Street worked together......locals and non-locals alike. We had Rick, Tali and Steve who were busy trapping the street dogs as well as providing shuttle service to pets who needed a ride to and from the clinic. Shaun and Byron who were always there providing their assistance with crates, tables and anything else we requested. The local and the international vets and techs working together to 'get the job done'; all with Laura's guidance.

But, we would not have had much to do if we didn't have the cooperation of the local community. The community's participation was very enthusiastic and appreciated. We even had local school children wanting to assist us with tasks. Gabi had an after school program every day for the local youth. This was an educational awareness for them to not only learn, but actually put what they learned to use. Their minds were like 'sponges' and they were so eager to assist us and the animals.

It was so nice to see how everyone was so into their work. The enthusiasm and positivity was exhilarating. We do it all for the dogs...and are loving it! There were no distinctions between locals or non-locals.  We all worked together and we were 'family'.  We had each others' backs and got the job done. 

This was an incredible experience.....one that we will always remember vividly and also cherish the friendships that were made. It was also extremely rewarding. Our time at OP was tiring, exhausting, much fun and for sure our most rewarding experience. We can't wait to come and volunteer next year.


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In January 2013, Operation Potcake consisted of 10 days.  We spayed and neutered 2,315 dogs. All of the animal welfare groups in Nassau worked under the leadership of Emma Clifford from Animal Balance.  We worked really hard and learned a lot!  Emma's plan was to teach us and guide us so we could repeat the exercise again with Animal Balance working in the background as consultants. 

So here we are, planning Operation Potcake 2014 ourselves! Hats off to Emma for teaching us how to 'fish'! Ofcourse we are still in frequent contact with Emma and she has helped us find our offshore vets and volunteers but I think she would be very proud of our local planning team. 

Operation Potcake 2014 is 5 days long and will be hosted at 4 clinics.  Our goal is 1,000 spay and neuters of dogs and cats this time! We are having a dedicated cat clinic to tackle the feral cat problems we are facing in Nassau.

With about 4 weeks to go, vets are confirmed for the project, we are ordering medical supplies, and materials needed.  

We have our four clinic locations confirmed. 

  1. Kemp Road will be at St. Bedes Church hall again like last time
  2. East Street is moving slightly south and will be in an outside setting at Our Lady's church.  We will have the vets operating under a veranda and the recovery tent will be in the grass.  There is a large parking lot for people to come into and we think it is a little sanctuary in the middle of a very busy area. 
  3. Carmichael will be at the Valley Boys Junkanoo shack where it was last time as well. 
  4. Lastly, we are very excited to include a cat clinic this year which will be held at the Bahamas Humane Society in Chippingham. 

We provide breakfast and lunch for all our hard working volunteers, we even have volunteers that work on getting food donated from local restaurants and managing it for us! It is a serious operation! Starbucks has already signed on to donate much coffee every morning!!!  Our days start at 7am and end after 7pm.

So far Sandals has stepped up and donated 8 rooms, and we have private residences as well that people have kindly offered.  

We are all getting excited - posters will be ordered this week and at the middle of January we will be putting up flyers and posters! 

Earlier in December we had the pleasure of receiving the documentary kindly created by Isabella Astengo on Operation Potcake 2013.  We hope you will watch it and see a bit about what Operation Potcake is all about!


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Organization Information


Location: nassau, new providence - Bahamas, The
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Baark! (BaarkBahamas)
Project Leader:
sarah kennedy
nassau, new providence Bahamas, The

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