Janet Begley, Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers Published 5:07 p.m. ET June 16, 2020
Marina Harvey, HALO office manager, holds one of the more than 50 dogs rescued last week from the Bahamas.(Photo: JANET BEGLEY/SPECIAL TO TCPALM)
SEBASTIAN More than 50 dogs and 18 cats rescued from the Bahamas made their way to Indian River County last week, thanks to HALO No-Kill Rescue.
The animals arrived via a charter flight from Grand Bahamas sponsored by GreaterGood.org, landing Friday morning in Fort Lauderdale. Animals were then transported by HALO volunteers in three vans, arriving by noon in Sebastian.
It went really well, said HALO Executive Director Jacque Petrone. The plane came in early and all of the dogs and cats are in really great shape. We hope to have them available for adoption quickly and their pictures will be posted in phases on our website.
The dogs and cats were rescued from the island streets by the Humane Society of Grand Bahamas, whose shelter was destroyed in August during Hurricane Dorian. The animal shelter was hit with a deadly storm surge nearly 20-feet high, with more than 5 feet of flood waters filling the building.
More than 110 cats and dogs died in the flood, but the six staff members manning the building survived.
Just as the Grand Bahamas shelter was in the process of rebuilding, COVID-19 struck the island, with a nationwide lockdown going into effect in April. All transportation to and from the island was halted, and once again, animals began to overwhelm the island.
The shelter could not keep up with the number of puppies and kittens being born, and Bahamas law requires animals be at least six months old before theycan be flown off the island.
Not having an adequate spay and neuter program on the Bahamas is a drawback to controlling the pet population, Petrone said.
It seems the solution should be so simple, said Petrone. Were talking about an island so it should be as easy as going out into the community and getting the animals spayed and neutered.
Many of the animals Petrone rescued last week from Grand Bahamas are young- about 7 to 10 months of age. There are some older, senior dogs that will also be available for adoption once their quarantine is completed.
Although many of the rescued dogs are typical Bahamian potcakes as mixed breeds are known in the Caribbean, there are others breeds such as Pekingese, Retriever and Shih Tzu mixes that will also become available for adoption.
Im hoping if everything goes well, we can start the adoption process quickly, said Petrone. In the Bahamas, they dont vaccinate dogs for Bordetella so there could be some issues with kennel cough popping up but overall, theyre in good shape.
Anyone interested in adopting one of the rescued dogs or cats should check the HALO website http://www.halorescuefl.org for more information. As the pets become available for adoption, information and photos will be posted. The adoption center is located at 710 Jackson Street, Sebastian, just off U.S. 1. Call 772-589-7257 for more details.
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