Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ray finds his forever home!

No dog deserved to find a loving home more than little Ray!   We know that anyone who sees Ray falls in love with him and that is what happened one day on the beach of the RIU hotel.   Amongst the many people who stopped by to give him a cuddle, a visitor from England, Helen Horsfall knew she could help him.  Although she could not take him home herself, she thought a friend of hers would be interested - and she was right!

That friend, Kirsty McMullen, wrote to Ray the very next day.  She told him how brave she thought he was with his battle to survive and invited him to join her and her family (including Arthur the dog, Percy the cat and three rescued battery hens) in Solihull in England.

She told him that he can look forward to long walks in the woods and lots and lots of love.

Ray was so excited that he ran round and round in circles (well he does that even for the smallest things).  So now all we have to do is wait three months as required by the UK authorities and then in September Ray will be on his way to England.  In the meantime we are trying to prepare him for his new life with lots of walks on the lead and a little bit of training.  We are not sure if we can prepare him for RAIN but Ray says it's ok, he's going to get used to it and big brother Arthur will help him settle in.

We're going to miss him that's for sure but we're so happy for him.

What a long, long way Ray has come and what a little survivor he really is.  Just take a look at these photos and videos to get an idea of how hard his battle has been.

From being unconscious and unable to move, lift his head or feed himself

Ray is now living life to the full!
From not being able to walk or move much he is now playing on the beach with other dogs

In the meantime we have to raise the money for his flight to the UK which could be as much as £600.  If you can help with any small amount Ray would be so grateful.  

Help Ray get to his forever home. 

PS Ray says "Please like my facebook page"  Let's find Ray the puppy a home

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dog deliberately killed in Santa Maria, Sal

Run over by a quad bike, not once but twice and left to die.

Taylor was a well known and much loved character.  Usually seen hanging around with his four legged & two legged friends at Angulo's at the eastern end of Santa Maria, Taylor had one flaw - he loved to chase vehicles.  Cars, quad bikes, motorbikes and bicycles - all of them were fair game to him.

On Friday 29th June he became a victim to a terrible and cruel act.  Witnesses watched as an orange quad bike drove at high speed up and down the road behind Angulo's, sending Taylor into a frenzy.  Then they watched in horror as the quad bike hit him, not once, but twice and drove away, leaving Taylor lying in the road, bleeding and dying a slow and painful death.

Later the quad bike was identified as belonging to the owner of Funana d'Vila, a restaurant in Santa Maria, although it is not clear who was driving the quad bike.  Walter Dahringer has previously been implicated in an act of animal cruelty when he killed a cat that happened to wander into his restaurant.  Cat Beaten to Death in Santa Maria

Taylor was like many, many dogs here on Sal - for some reason any kind of vehicle going past his territory had to be chased down.  Other than that, he was a placid and friendly dog.

Amongst the many sympathisers, there are some who are saying that they can understand why the unknown person driving Walter Dahringer's quad bike did it - and that Taylor and other dogs like him are "annoying and need to be taught a lesson". 

Being chased by dogs as you drive by may be annoying - but is it reason enough to deliberately drive over a dog, back up, hit him again and then leave him dying in agony?

As for the culprit, there will be no police involved or legal actions because the witness fears reprisals, but everyone can vote with their wallet.  If you don't condone these acts of extreme cruelty, you know where to avoid for your night out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's find Ray the puppy a home!

If ever there was a deserving case this is it.  Little Ray was hours from death as he lay unconscious in someone's house.  At only 6 weeks old he had been hit by a motorbike and it was his good fortune that the SOS Cats & Dogs free clinic was happening that week.  None of us were confident that he would survive, but he did and now he needs a good home.  He has been left with some problems with sight & depth perception but he is a lovely and very lively dog.  He needs someone with plenty of time to devote to him and someone with a lot of love.

Let's make this go viral!  Please like Ray's very own facebook page.  

Click on the thumbnail to read Ray's story in English, Portuguese, Italian, French, Spanish & German.  Please download it and send it to your friends.


My name is Ray, I am nearly 6 months old (born approximately beginning of December 2011) and I live in Sal, Cape Verde. 

They call me ‘The Miracle Puppy’ because no one knows how I survived.  I was brought to the SOS Cats & Dogs clinic in January after being hit by a motorcycle and I had already been unconscious for several days.  No one knew what was wrong with me, but everyone wanted to give me a chance.  Ines, the vet, treated me with fluids, antibiotics & vitamins & hoped for the best.  I stayed in a box in Jacquie & Neal’s house and little by little I started to wake up.  Eventually I began to be able to move around a little.  At first I could not stand up or walk, I would try & try but I would just fall down in the sand.  I was really comical and made everyone laugh!  They all thought that I would be disabled but I proved them wrong.  Now I can run, play & be naughty just like other puppies, I still have some trouble seeing clearly but that’s getting better and anyway nothing can stop me!  I was living with Izzy and she was a great foster Mum, but at the moment I have to live alone on a patio in Santa Maria.  Even though the volunteers are taking great care of me, I really need someone special in my life that I can smother with the all the love that I have inside me.  I hope you like my photos – it’s hard to get a good one because I never stay still!


Ray’s paperwork is almost complete and he will be ready to leave Cape Verde by the end of May.  Assistance can be given for the cost of the flight if necessary.  Ray is about 15kgs and is the height of a beagle – he probably has a little more growing to do.  Although he is partially sighted he is very enthusiastic about life!  Consequently he needs a home where he has some outside space to let off steam – he does see things but cannot always stop before he runs into them!  He does not appear to have anything wrong with him that would entail a lot of veterinarian costs, but he would need to be checked out once he is in Europe.  He responds well to whistles and is beginning to learn to walk on a lead.  He is fine with other dogs & cats but older animals might find he is a little too boisterous for them right now.  Please remember he is still very young but he is smart & capable of learning.  He has not been with young children.  He is very affectionate and would be best suited to someone who can spend a lot of time with him.


contact Jacquie at for more information
Visit Ray’s facebook page & please circulate this to all your friends

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stray Animal Management Strategies

Many other countries have a much more serious problem with stray animals than we do here in Cabo Verde, so it is interesting to see how other organisations manage their populations.

SCAD based in Bangkok have published this very interesting summary of strategies that work and don't work.  Stray Animal Management Strategies.

Here also are the links to the two reports mentioned:

Guidelines for Dog Population Management W.H.O. Geneva, 1990 (page 74): ‘Removal and killing of dogs should never be considered as the most effective way of dealing with a problem of surplus dogs in the community: it has no effect whatsoever on the root cause of the problem’

Report of W.H.O. Consultation on Dog Ecology Studies, related to Rabies Control, Geneva 22-25 February 1988 (page 11): ‘In none of the studies did the elimination of dogs by any method have any significant long-term effect on dog population size’

100,000 unwanted animal births prevented.

In two weeks, veterinarians from Germany & Cape Verde performed 529 sterilisation operations on dogs and cats - an estimated 100,000 unwanted animals have been prevented from being born, plus there are huge benefits to the animal's health and life of the owners.

Read more here.

How is this number calculated?

If each animal has 6 puppies/kittens twice a year and half of them are female, who then have 6 puppies twice a year, the figure grows exponentially.

Year 1 - 529 x 6 = 3,174 births
Year 2 - 3,174 + 529 (from year 1) = 22,218 births
Year 3 - 22,218 + 3,174 (from year 2) + 529 (from year 1) = 155,526

Insane numbers that hardly seem possible!  The ONLY way is sterilisation.  Please support the association's work by writing emails or making a donation - any small amount goes a long, long way.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2,500 less puppies will be born in 2012 in just one day of the clinic

The fourth sterilisation clinic organised by SOS Cães e Gatos (Cats & Dogs) started yesterday.  The clinic is part of a strategy to reduce the dog and cat population of Sal in a humane way.  The vets that come over from Germany are specialists in this sort of work and travel all over the world helping associations in this way.  Because they are such experts it is possible to perform many operations each day - it is almost like a production line, with the best German efficiency!  The wonderful veterinarian Ines Leuw can sterilise a female dog in less than eight minutes!

Recently there was a lot of discussion, led by the hotels on Sal, about the creation of a 'kennel' that would be built and run by the City Hall.  This kennel would be out in the middle of the desert and the dogs would be collected from the hotels and held there for an unspecified time when the owners must collect them and pay a fine.  If they are not collected then they would be killed.  This not very well-conceived plan has so many problems that it is hard to know where to start, but here are a few;
  1. Who will collect the dogs, since many strays are not approachable?
  2. Which dogs will be collected?  Will the neutered dogs be included?  How to determine if dogs are owned or not?
  3. Who will take care of the dogs?  Where will the money come from to feed & water them?
  4. What if people cannot reach the kennel or do not have money to pay the fine?
  5. How will they be killed and who would do it?  There would be no humane way since the veterinarian would not kill healthy animals.
A family of ginger kittens recovering from their operation
This 'solution' is really just a death sentence for the dogs, but in a less obvious way than the still-used practice of throwing meat laced with strychnine on the beaches.  As one hotel manager stated ' Yes, the dogs will be killed, but it will be less difficult for the tourists to deal with'.  In other words, for everyone it would be a case of out of sight out of mind.

The problem is of course that this is only a short term 'solution' and therefore not really a solution at all.  As quoted many times on this blog, the World Health Organisation states that 'no extermination of dog populations by poison, shooting or other means, has every succeeded anywhere in the world'.

Therefore the aim is to sterilise as many dogs & cats as possible and programmes such as this carried out on islands have a special chance of success.  Since there are few new dogs wandering on to the island (unless they swim from Boa Vista!), the results can be quite dramatic.  

The veterinarians at work
In just the first day 30 females were sterilised.  These 30 females could have two litters (of 6 puppies) during 2012, if 6 of these were female, they could also have 12 puppies this year.  That means in theory

30 x 12 = 360 puppies
50% female = 180 who then have 12 puppies of their own = 2,160
Total new dogs prevented in just one year = 360+2,160 = 2,520

There is no way that an extermination programme could get anywhere close to this efficiency!

Strange how the Capeverdean people who line up outside the clinics each day can follow this logic, but the mostly European hotel & restaurant owners & managers can't seem to grasp the concept!!

The clinic runs in Santa Maria (opposite the old May O'Leary's) until the 15th January and then at Africa 70 in Espargos from the 17th - 22nd.  Call 957 2162 for more information.