One animal advocate questions whether the Cayman Islands Humane Society is putting the interest of the animals first.
This, after she told Cayman 27 her bid to foster a shelter dog with special medical needs was denied due to what the Humane Society termed ‘negative comments’ on social media.
“So far all of the dogs that I have fostered have been adopted successfully, so that is really, really rewarding for me,” said Linda Clark.
Ms. Clark, a frequent foster, said she was ready to open her home again, after seeing an appeal for assistance on the Humane Society’s Facebook page on 11 November.
“I saw Cookie on Facebook, who needed medication several times a day, had mange, needed regular baths to help her with the mange, and I thought oh, this is perfect, I will be at home, I will be able to give her the regular medication she needs,” recalled Ms. Clark.
She told Cayman 27 that when she expressed her interest in fostering Cookie, she received a quick response.
“Given the recent negative comments about CIHS operations recently made on Facebook, sadly we don’t feel that you can assist us any longer with fostering,” said a message from the Humane Society Facebook account.
“I was particularly disappointed by this because I knew she would be a really difficult dog to foster and I knew how difficult it is in the shelter, they do work really hard to give all the dogs their medication and walks, but it’s just very labour intensive and they don’t have the staff to do this,” said Ms. Clark.
Ms. Clark told Cayman 27 social media appeals to find a foster home for Cookie continued for days after her offer to care for the animal was rebuffed. She called the experience confusing and disappointing.
“The overall aim, no matter what perspective you are looking from is to help the dog, so I couldn’t understand why something on social media would impact the ability of a good foster,” said Ms. Clark.
Ms. Clark has since opened her home to ‘Joey,’ a foster dog from another animal welfare organisation.
She said she worries the spiteful actions of a handful of Humane Society decision-makers could stain the good works of other staff and volunteers.
“The shelter is doing a lot of amazing things, and it just seems that some individuals for some reason, are not being fully respected by the shelter, and they could just be a bit more sympathetic with the community that they are being involved with,” said Ms. Clark.
Cayman 27 reached out to the Humane Society Monday (26 November) morning for comment on Ms. Clark’s aforementioned concerns.
Cayman 27 reluctantly agreed to hold the story for 24 hours to provide the Humane Society board an opportunity to prepare a substantial response to our query. A statement was provided Tuesday that shared some general statistics, but failed to address Ms. Clark’s concerns:
“For over 45 years, the Cayman Islands Humane Society and our volunteers, have been dedicated to providing shelter, care and attention to all unwanted companion animals and seeking out responsible and loving homes for them.
In the past year we have rescued 645 animals, facilitated 460 spay/neuter surgeries, 410 rescued animals have found their forever home, 168 have been transferred to our Rescue Partners, and approximately 60 animals are currently being fostered.
Our dedicated volunteers will continue to provide the highest level of care that we can for the animals that we rescue. This level of care includes medical treatment, food and a safe and secure environment for the animals to live in while they wait for their forever homes. And of course we could not do anything without the help of our dedicated staff to whom we are always immensely grateful.
We will continue to work on finding adopters both on island and with our rescue partners in the US and Canada in order to give our animals the best chance at finding a loving home.
Our thanks to everyone for your constant and enthusiastic support.”
The Humane Society did not answer follow up questions, and also refused to provide an update on Cookie’s situation.