(Pink Duck Publishing blog post)
Funds for Cayman’s homeless and abused animals were given a boost recently, thanks to the Cayman Islands Humane Society’s annual gala Furball, held April 2019.
Held at the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, animal lovers gathered for the event which raised $60,000, enough funds to run the shelter for one month.
Furball 2019 gala funds
Laura Medley, shelter director, said that most of the funds will go towards the day-to-day operating costs of the shelter.
“We run at a deficit every month,” Laura said. “It costs $60,000 a month to run the shelter, and the money we make from our shops is not enough to cover all of the operating expenses of the shelter. Fundraisers are therefore essential to help us meet this deficit and ensure that the shelter can keep running.”
She added: “A small portion of the funds will go towards our new cage project where we are working towards replacing the cages in our quarantine room and cat and puppy adoption rooms.”
The Furball gala was brought back to life by the Humane Society four years ago and has since served as the charity’s main annual fundraiser. Guests enjoyed an evening under the stars at this year’s event, which featured delicious food and drink, live entertainment, and a lantern release. There was also the ever-popular silent auction and raffle.
“The live auction was thrilling, and guests won amazing live auction prizes including items from Cartier, a weekend trip to Little Cayman, flights to Canada and stays at the Kimpton Seafire and Westin,” Laura said.
The event also recognised those who have gone above and beyond to making a difference to the lives of Cayman’s neglected animals.
Nicole Keenan won the Volunteer of the Year award, Pat and Nigel Cox won the Animal Heroes of the Year award, and Sarah Dyer won the Special Recognition award. Jason Jairam, a familiar face at the shelter for some 14-years, won the Employee of the Year award.
Animal neglect and abuse
Animal welfare has been a hot topic in the Cayman Islands for decades, with an increasing number of reports by local media highlighting horrific cases of abuse and neglect.
The Humane Society was established in the early 1970s and since its inception has gone on to help hundreds of thousands of animals in need, many in a severe state of neglect.
The shelter houses more than 100 animals – around 60 plus dogs and some 50 cats, many of which go on to be adopted.
“The sheer volume of animals that we see come through our doors means that we are nearly always running at 100 percent capacity,” Saskia Salden, board director at the shelter said. “We have also seen over the last few years an increasing number of animals surrendered to the shelter with complex medical needs therefore our vet costs are one of our biggest expenses.”
The Humane Society is just one of several animal welfare organisations working to help Cayman’s neglected animals. Others include One Dog at a Time, PAWS Cayman, Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts, and Canine Friends Cayman.
Saskia said that while it is great that there are numerous animal welfare organisations all helping Cayman’s animals, education is the key, along with harsher punishment for animal cruelty cases.
“Educating the Cayman community about animal welfare and the importance of spay and neutering is vital to reducing animal overpopulation,” Saskia said.
Here are five ways you can get involved and help the islands many animals in need.
Make a donation: Money can’t buy love, but it can buy food, treats, medicine and shelter. The Humane Society relies on donations from animal lovers and every dollar helps save lives.
Fundraise: Fundraisers are always welcome. Fundraising events have included bake sales, donations instead of gifts at children’s birthday parties, contents of piggy banks, and lemonade stands.
Become a member: Membership costs just $40. Members receive monthly newsletters and the opportunity to vote on the key issues impacting the work at the shelter.
Foster: The most frequently fostered pets are nursing kittens, puppies, and adult dogs that have suffered from abuse, injury, or are receiving heartworm treatment. The shelter also frequently relies on fosterers when they are at capacity, helping them to save more animals in need. The shelter supply everything you need to foster a pet and will work to find your foster animal a loving forever home.
Walk a dog: The shelter’s doggies love to get out and stretch their legs. The shelter welcomes dog walkers daily. Confident dog walkers can take a pooch down to the beach. Staff can advise on which dogs are best suited to longer adventures outside of the shelter