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Many pets & stray animals perished during hurricanes Irma & Maria

- BVI Humane Society struggles to cope, while race horses are let loose @ Ellis Thomas Downs
The BVI Humane Society was ravaged by Hurricane Irma, claiming the lives of a few animals there. Photo: VINO
Many animals of the BVI Humane Society have been flown overseas following damages to the animal shelters building. Photo: VINO
Many animals of the BVI Humane Society have been flown overseas following damages to the animal shelters building. Photo: VINO
The stables at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay were also damaged by Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
The stables at Ellis Thomas Downs in Sea Cows Bay were also damaged by Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
Horses being kept in a paddock after their stables were destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
Horses being kept in a paddock after their stables were destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
BVI Humane  Society Manager, Mr Vijay Bissoondatt. Photo: VINO
BVI Humane  Society Manager, Mr Vijay Bissoondatt. Photo: VINO
The area where the dolphins at Dolphin Discovery at Prospect Reef were kept during Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
The area where the dolphins at Dolphin Discovery at Prospect Reef were kept during Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
Damages suffered by the BVI Humane Society as a result of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Photo: VINO
Damages suffered by the BVI Humane Society as a result of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- While many residents are thankful to be alive after Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 destroyed the Virgin Islands (VI) leaving death, homelessness, looting and desperation in the streets of Tortola and Virgin Gorda for food and gasoline, our animal friends have also suffered.

The untold story is that of the high death rate of animals, including pets, livestock, race horses and stray animals.

Animal shelter struggles; many are dead

Our newsroom last week spoke exclusively to the BVI Humane Society Manager, Mr Vijay Bissoondatt, almost a month following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The killer storms took a big hit on pets, race horses and other stray animals in the VI, causing deaths and many injuries.

According to Mr Bissoondatt, the animal shelter itself was destroyed by Hurricane Irma.

Many of the animals were killed, including 4 rabbits, 3 dogs, 3 ducks and 2 iguanas. He said luckily before the storm many of the animals were evacuated to foster homes and after the hurricane upwards of 60 plus animals were sent to the United States because of links with the international animal rescue organisation there.

Some even reunited with their original owners who had left them at the shelter and had gone away.

Even the Animal shelter was looted

Sadly, after killer storm Irma, the animal shelter located in Johnson’s Ghut on the main island of Tortola was looted.

The Manager revealed to our newsroom that looters took "their generator, power tools, weed wacker and even a washing machine."

He said because of the severe destruction of the shelter, the only home in the Territory for stray and abandoned animals at this time, many of the new animals seeking a home following the two killer storms are turned away.

There are also reports by many livestock farmers of the loss of pigs, goats, sheep, pet birds, cattle and even a few donkeys. The Department of Disaster Management could not provide our newsroom statistics on the animals but instead referred us to the Agriculture Department.

However, it appears that the yard chickens survived it all.

Race horses on the loose

Ellis Thomas Downs, the home of the VI’s only horse racing facility, saw all the horse stables completely destroyed following Hurricane Irma. Many of the horses survived while two were reported killed as a direct result of the hurricane.

Those that survived the rampage of Hurricane Irma were let loose in the middle of the already destroyed track. However, many of the owners still bring food and water for them daily and other volunteer organisations also provide food.

For the injured, including those with broken bones, a veterinarian comes weekly to provide service and support, according to one horse attendant.

One horse owner, Lesmore Smith, has resorted to having about three of his horses in concrete paddocks. It is unclear when horse races on Tortola will ever come alive as the entire track has been demolished.

Another horse owner has constructed a stable and do the routine food and water for his horse, as well as walk the animal around the racetrack for exercise.

Through it all, many animals and domestic pets took a big beating. Some pet owners have reported their pets missing, especially cats and dogs since the hurricanes. This has added to their own stress in coping with the hurricane aftermath.

On Virgin Gorda, while there is no animal shelter, there are groups of volunteers that help with animal food distribution, along with animal care.

Government policy?

It is also unclear if the Government of the day has any policy in place to assist residents with their pets as famers have long complained they get little support from Government with livestock.

Dolphins have left Tortola

The other animals of interest to the Territory were the dolphins housed at Prospect Reef and run by the company Dolphin Discovery.

Before they hurricane they were relocated from their pen at Prospect Reef to a pool on the compound.

Following the destruction of Hurricane Irma they were all taken out of the VI and it remains unclear when they will be brought back. There were no reports of any of the dolphins being killed or injured.

16 Responses to ‚ÄúMany pets & stray animals perished during hurricanes Irma & Maria‚ÄĚ

  • My Take (24/10/2017, 10:36) Like (1) Dislike (37) Reply
    People die you all on here but animals vino you gone white and soft on we
    • i said it (24/10/2017, 16:01) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      @My take, shut your ignorant A.. up. A week before the storm hit, my daughter took our cat, dog and a little stray kitten to Miami. When our house is ready, they will come back. And yes, my heart goes out to everyone that lost their lives.
    • Animal Lover (24/10/2017, 16:12) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      @My Take, maybe if you had a pet you would understand. The way you sound, I would not pay a person like you to clean my cat litter box. I am so happy my little Rocco made it through the storm. If something had happened to him, I would have been so depressed. @ Tom, I am so sorry that your kitten is missing.
    • SHUT UP (24/10/2017, 17:10) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      @My Take, what the heck you mean about VINO gone White and Soft? My Vet once told me you can see how a person is and the way they are by the way they treat animals. Anyone who mistreats animals, I can't stand.
  • tom (24/10/2017, 10:43) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    my little kitten is missing god bless her soul
    • jack (24/10/2017, 13:25) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      because of the power outage all my expensive little fishes died. I was very depressed three days after the Hurricane
  • ... (24/10/2017, 11:22) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    this government does not care about we humans must less cats and dogs struzzzp
  • So sad, USA (24/10/2017, 11:59) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is so sad that the animals had to perish. We just adopted two beautiful puppies that were sent over from the storm in Puerto Rico. We are also fostering some of the cats and dogs until
    they find homes.
  • Windy (24/10/2017, 13:24) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    "However, it appears that the yard chickens survived it all." for real it seems like they double in population
  • --------------------- (24/10/2017, 13:31) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    what happen to the relocation of the animal shelter? We keep hearing about this for years
  • Release them (24/10/2017, 21:09) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    A hard decision but the cats and dogs outside in the storm seemed to do well, perhaps better to let them go to their own devices than he surely killed in a cage?
  • I am not white (25/10/2017, 15:11) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    All my animals were inside my house or on the balconies, all safe and sound
  • Foriegn (25/10/2017, 21:12) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I live in St. Thomas and i am so thankful that my cats survive the storm. Because the day after Irma hit curfew could not stop me from going to check on them just to make sure they were Alive and well.
  • number 1 (29/10/2017, 21:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    A well written piece vino


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