Saturday, October 8, 2011

Two years since Rasher was killed

In Ireland near where he was born
Today is a terrible anniversary for us.  At this time on 8 October 2009 we had no idea that our world was about to be turned upside down by the irresponsible actions of a single person.  Yesterday in 2009 was the day that Giorgio Chiarel, the manager of the RIU hotel in Sal authorised the Delegation of Health to place strychnine on the beach outside Sal's largest hotel.

By 5pm the following day our beautiful dog, Rasher, had eaten that poison.  By 5.10pm he had died a horrendous, painful death in the turtle hatchery in front of many of the RIU hotel's guests. 

There are some who will never understand that love for an animal can be as strong as love for another human but there is no doubt that Rasher was our family, part of our world and we will never be the same without him.  Not a day goes by without us mourning his loss.  Our lives are diminished by the sadness that we have in our hearts every day.

This is made even harder by the recent pushing by some hotels and restaurants for yet more killing of animals.  Their idea?  A kennel in the desert, thinly disguised as a humane option, but in reality a place out of the view of tourists where animals can be killed.  As one hotel manager told me "yes Jacquie, it is the same, but less hard for people to deal with or know about, since it is not happening on the beach in front of people." 

Sleeping peacefully in the turtle hatchery
Clearly not many of the managers or owners have learned anything at all.  Not only this, but they can hide their involvement since although it is the hotels and restaurants pushing the government to build this concentration camp, it would be the City Hall kennel and they can claim to have nothing to do with it.

Always happy to get a ride on the quad
Indeed, in a recent email the Public Relations Depart of the RIU head office stated that they do not get involved in this issue but must respect the actions of the local government.   Therefore, once again refusing to accept any responsibility in the death of who knows how many dogs in the years since they opened here on Sal and conveniently forgetting that it was they, not the government, who requested poison to be placed on the beach in 2009.

There is only one way to control free roaming animal populations and that is a sustained neutering programme coupled with public education.  This includes advising hotel and restaurant guests not to feed dogs (which causes animals to congregate in unmanageable groups) and closing access to premises.

Thankfully the current manager of the RIU is more enlightened and is planning on using ultra sonic dog deterrents and giving more information to guests as well as allowing the dog and cat association to fundraise at the hotel..

As for Giorgio Chiarel?  Any reprimand from the RIU hotel?  Not at all, instead a reward - the manager's job at the new RIU Touareg on Boa Vista.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

And the poisoning continues

Despite the results achieved with three sterilisation clinics (1000+ animals neutered so far), it seems the message is still not reaching some individuals, businesses and organisations.

The recent calls for the removal and destruction of free roaming dogs in Santa Maria simply has no merit.  Poorly thought out, it will no doubt be poorly executed as well.

Which dogs will be removed?  Will this include owned, registered and neutered dogs?  How long will they be held for?  Who will kill them and by what method?  (It certainly won't be by lethal injection since there is no Euthanol here and no staff trained to administer it).  Since there is no law here to say that you must keep your dog in your house or on a lead, how can this be legal?

And how will this solve the problem?  Natures abhors a vacuum.  Soon the areas where the dogs were taken from will be repopulated and the cycle begins again. 

For many it is a case of 'out of sight out of mind' and this is typical of the short-termism that afflicts many people here.  The answer?  If you don't want dogs and cats in your restaurant or hotel, close off access, ensure that food is not available and support neutering clinics.

In the meantime, it seems things are worse in the residential area of Murdeira which is notorious for poisoning animals.  Cape Verde Pets