An alarming article in The Daily Herald (St.Maarten) reports that the Netherlands Antilles occupy the third place on the world list of countries where animal abuse is common. The Animal Aid Foundation named the Netherlands Antilles as a vacation destination with a large scale of animal suffering in its annual list based on reports from tourists, doctors, colleague organizations and others. The list did give an exact reproduction of the animal suffering and the ambulatory  with animals in the concerned countries. Top of the list is Greece which took over the first spot of Spain (see The Daily Herald St.Maarten. email: webmaster 330)

Various recent incidents have alarmed enough people to react to the escalation of the dog situation on Bonaire. Not only are free roaming or/ and abandoned dogs a danger to themselves and the traffic, the over population will never cease if drastic measures won’t be implemented. The F.A.W.B. will reintroduce the animal tags, because this registration system had died a silent death years ago.  Together with the animal shelter, registration will be organized. All dogs, having an owner, must be registered; the tag must be worn on the collar. Dogs (with or without dog tags) that roam unleashed on public roads will be collected and put in quarantine. Owners of the dogs will be traced and have to pay a fine. Dogs without tags will be kept for three days and then will be put asleep. Or, if they are adoptable, kept in the shelter and will be sterilized.

Together with another animal welfare organization in Venezuela the F.A.W.B. is trying to set up a possible free sterilization/castration program for dogs and cats.

Also the F.A.W.B. ordered cages for dog catching. Years ago, when the shelter worked with this very effective system, some kunuku owners asked to borrow this cage, but unfortunately never returned it. Ever since, dog catching on Bonaire stopped and since it is often impossible to approach abandoned dogs, they breed more dogs and many of them either get hit by cars or die a slow death by starving.
Another issue that has been approached by us, is re- installing of an active dog catcher, this is a government affair and since the animal organizations are taking actions in the first two above mentioned cases, we certainly count on the government to do its share. But we are hopeful about the willingness and possibilities to set a real change in motion. Often a situation has to escalate before we wake up and take action. Animal protection isn’t just making sure that every animal has the right to live a good life; it’s also about avoiding future suffering. Education, registration, sterilization and sometimes elimination of unwanted and suffering animals are the objectives that need to be applied, in order to grow into a healthy situation.

Lous Rood

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