Deputy Prime Minister Underscores Importance of BARC in Reducing Health Hazards Caused by Stray Animals

Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 02, 2019 (SKNIS): During the opening of the Basseterre Animal Rescue Centre (BARC) on July 30, 2019, Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards, underscored the importance of the centre in helping to reduce the health hazards stray animals cause.

“Stray dogs and cats pose a plethora of sanitation and health hazards in our societies,” he said. “They forage at garbage sites and it can spread waste, which causes the place to lose its aesthetic appeal. These actions can also increase the risk of pathogens occupying human spaces. Furthermore, stray dogs can pose a safety hazard to people’s property and companion animals since they have tendencies of becoming aggressive.”

Therefore, he said, it is crucial for animal care programmes, such as those provided by BARC, to be celebrated.

“We are very aware that over the last 16 years many volunteers have helped communities island-wide with managing a number of stray animals in our neighborhoods,” he said. “This situation can only improve with the opening of the BARC where there is a commitment to continue to strengthen efforts to reduce the population of stray cats and dogs and thereby contribute to safer and cleaner communities.”

Deputy Prime Minister Richards stated that the government hopes that the existence of the centre would become the place where unwanted animals are sheltered instead of being abused and abandoned across the island.

“Therefore, the government welcomes this initiative and looks forward to your partnership in increasing the community education about proper humane animal care,” he said. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis remains committed to making this nation an even greater nation. Thus, we welcome any undertaking that not only improves the national landscape, but also enhances the public knowledge and treatment of animals.”

He added that the government is also looking forward to more nationals and visitors showing appreciation and a respect for animals and is confident that the Basseterre Animal Rescue Centre would be instrumental in this regard.

BARC is the first of its kind in the Federation and will offer a safe and caring environment for abused and neglected animals, adoption services, population control services through surgical sterilization, education for new and existing pet owners about how to be responsible and caring pet owners, and raise awareness of animal cruelty.

The first building includes an examination room, reception area and pavilion that will be used to host community programmes. A second building, opening later this year, will house kennels and an additional examination room.

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