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Coronavirus pandemic freezes fundraising for local animal shelter

- $$ raised for new home now being used to sustain animals during pandemic
The Humane Society of the BVI has been feeling the squeeze of the global coronavirus pandemic as fundraising has come to a standstill. Photo: VINO
The Humane Society of the BVI, located in Johnson’s Ghut on Tortola, is a non-profit organisation caring for unwanted animals of society. Photo: VINO
The Humane Society of the BVI, located in Johnson’s Ghut on Tortola, is a non-profit organisation caring for unwanted animals of society. Photo: VINO
For over 20 years, Vijay Bishoondutt, right, the General Manager of the Humane Society of the BVI and his small team have been making life pleasant for the many animals calling the shelter home. Photo: Facebook
For over 20 years, Vijay Bishoondutt, right, the General Manager of the Humane Society of the BVI and his small team have been making life pleasant for the many animals calling the shelter home. Photo: Facebook
A curious parrot at the Humane Society of the BVI. Photo: VINO
A curious parrot at the Humane Society of the BVI. Photo: VINO
Ducks and a turtle share a space at the Humane Society of the BVI. Photo: VINO
Ducks and a turtle share a space at the Humane Society of the BVI. Photo: VINO
Pound puppies?!! Photo: VINO
Pound puppies?!! Photo: VINO
JOHNSON'S GHUT, Tortola, VI- “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others” – Mandy Hale.

For over 20 years, Vijay Bishoondutt, the General Manager of the Humane Society of the BVI and his small team have been making life pleasant for the many animals calling the shelter home.

The facility, located at Johnson’s Ghut on Tortola, is a non-profit organisation caring for unwanted animals of society.

“During the lockdown, an influx of animals came into the shelter. We rescued about 21 puppies when we had the curfew,” Bishoondutt said in an exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News Online on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

“There were a lot of stray dogs on the street, and there was nobody to feed them. It’s a passion. It's animal welfare, somebody has to do it. The animals have life, they are a man’s best friend, if we don’t take them off the streets, farmers will lose their livestock, civilians will get chased by stray dogs, and they will spread diseases too.”

Trying to keep afloat

Despite providing these animals with a dry and safe place to sleep, a hot meal and medication if they need it, Bishoondutt expressed they are just trying to keep afloat amid these trying times brought on by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

He explained that in spite of receiving an eviction notice, which was slated to come into effect at the end of last year, the shelter was permitted to remain at their present location while their new home is move-in ready.

“We reach out to the landlord, and we showed her where we are at, where we are heading. We pleaded, and she was very understanding,” he stated.

“We are in the process of building the new shelter, but like everything else, there is always a push back. We were just about to break ground before Hurricane Irma. It [hurricane] destroyed everything. Meanwhile, the money we had saved for that project we had to put it into this present location to make sure the animals are taken cared of. So we had to go back to the beginning and raise funds.”

Bishoondutt said; however, with the strain on the economy because of the virus, “people don’t have money to donate, and now it’s at a standstill again.”

New home delayed

Plans were underway to construct their new home in Josiah’s Bay. Bids for the project had already been received from interested construction firms; however, he said: “We are half-way off that target,” referring to the projected cost of the undertaking which is in the region of half a million dollars.

He said with no donations coming into the shelter at this time, they have now had to dip into the very funds they raised for the building to keep them afloat.

“We don’t get government funding, it takes us at least $90,000 a year just to run the shelter,” he said, adding that the shelter has bills that must be paid.

Nonetheless, the General Manager remarked, before the end of the year, they should have another fundraising drive because most of their fundraising initiatives involve social gatherings.

He said one of their fundraisers – the Dog Show – would have been held in June, but it will be pushed back because of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page is still available on their website for persons interested in donating to their cause.

24 Responses to “Coronavirus pandemic freezes fundraising for local animal shelter”

  • Questioning Everything (20/05/2020, 08:06) Like (26) Dislike (11) Reply
    To this day I haven’t met anyone with Covid19 all I’m doing is “hearing” from a source or the government but no actual person with the actual symptoms and I must believe this “virus” none sense without question, yea right... Has anyone met someone who had it ? Because everyone they say have it either dead or can’t speak for themselves
    • We in trouble (20/05/2020, 08:33) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
      One bad Hurricane God Forbid.. This Vvirus will disappear..Not even the Virus, the fear, the mental abuse, is more dangerous than the virus...
    • belonger (20/05/2020, 08:48) Like (15) Dislike (7) Reply
      I personally know two people who have died of COVID-19 in two different countries.
      The Government is doing it's bnest to ensure we don't lose another person to this dreadful virus. We must continue to be vigilant here in the VI.
      • BVI tourist (20/05/2020, 09:55) Like (12) Dislike (7) Reply
        Has your government told you that 98% of people recover from Covid-19? It's not a death sentence like Ebola.
        Meanwhile, they are completely crippling your economy. When will they open up - when everyone is bankrupt? Jobs & businesses will be gone forever if you keep tourists out until September. But I guess as long as the government employees keep getting their checks, it doesn't matter to them...
      • @belonger (20/05/2020, 11:10) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
        The doctor could tell you that you have covid right now and 90% of the people would believe it
    • Fran (20/05/2020, 09:23) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      Everyone does not die from the virus. My family members in the states had it and recovered. My son 40, daughter 37, and two sisters in their late 60's. I was frantic with worry because I could not get to my children especially. Their jobs put them in harms way. They were not mingling at all. Even though they are adults, a mother will worry about them until the day she dies. We have been very lucky here in the BVI, but some people will not heed the warnings of safe distancing, might catch it, and make life a living hell for us on these small islands.
    • *Hmm (20/05/2020, 15:41) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
      @Questioning Everything - How you know you haven't, how would you even know if you met someone who have been infected? Is there a particular look to to infected person? Furthermore if you caught it would you be so willing to come forward & share the "good news". I highly doubt that
      • @*Hmm (20/05/2020, 15:58) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
        With all those symptoms for this virus we all have Covid19 and we’re living perfectly fine, smh stop buying into the fear, give the tv a break and you too will question the authenticity of this
    • Aju (21/05/2020, 10:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Just contact the Ministry and let them know you are interested in bunking with a COVID-19 positive person to test your immunity.
  • The Detective on Corona virus Case.. pls read.. (20/05/2020, 08:30) Like (24) Dislike (11) Reply
    Since March ive been upon here telling u all that this Vitus is a Crime against humanity and that the world court need to investigate and prosecute WHO, Bill Gates and China..Now im seeing all these Videos Circulating expressing the same sentiments....1/ Ive said This Virus is Malicious for Profit.. 2/ There is already a Vaccine because before they let loose this virus on the world, they made sure they have a Vaccine...3/ President Trump stand in their way and its Trump preventing them from rolling out this Vaccine, So God Bless Trump he knows what they are up to....4/ The first Wave didnt work, Dont be surprise if there is a second wave they send their agents around the world to drop the virus off again, This time attacking Children, more desperate more vicious, they have to make that money, they have that vaccine they have to get it out., 5/ There plan is to decrease world population starting with the sick and the old, This Virus feeds on weak immune system, 99% of the death had underline health issues known and unknown.... Inclosing... Fear is there Strength. Once we show no fear, dont be afraid, we will win the battle... Do u all know how much money they made from Ebola for a Vaccine.. Ebola disappear on its own.. Yet no Vaccine..Yet they get billions... hmmm. Lord have Mercy on us.....Lord I ask that you continue to give President Trump the Strength and the Courage to continue to fight off these billionaires that want to use us as Merchandise for Profit.....Amen.... .
  • Oh it’s real alright (20/05/2020, 08:31) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    I know several people who have had it in the US. One friend had a fever for 16 days, headaches, dry cough and stomach issues but was never hospitalized, another was in the hospital for a week with more severe symptoms after visiting NY. Both healthy and in their 30’s and have recovered. My friend’s aunt and uncle were just discharged from a hospital in NJ yesterday, both in their 60s, no underlying health issues and now recovering. The chances of “meeting” someone here in the BVI who have it are very slim with only 8 cases. Sorry to tell you it is indeed real. The symptoms can be mild or quite severe..depends on the person and their health prior to contracting it. Not everyone dies from it, the majority have been able to recover and some people had no symptoms at all!
    • @Oh it’s real (20/05/2020, 11:14) Like (34) Dislike (5) Reply
      Not because someone told them they have it means they have it, doctors could tell you anything and there’s evidence that the cdc is telling these same doctors to write Covid19 on these patients even if they have just one of the 30 symptoms, so go and come again
  • Oh Boy.. (20/05/2020, 08:37) Like (39) Dislike (6) Reply
    Most of the Caribbean Casses are been revovering.. Maybe its our unpoluted, clean and fresh Oxygen Air and sunlight...
    • Say what now? (20/05/2020, 10:09) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      Clean and fresh oxygen air? Err, Sir/Madam, have you forgotten about down West where the residents is breathing in toxins from a smoking dump on a daily basis?
  • Faithless (20/05/2020, 08:52) Like (2) Dislike (17) Reply

    Heres a thought why not just put to sleep all the animals that are unwanted, they keep coming because places like this maintain animals that should of died and then expats get them they forget them once leaving or the fad is over and the circle starts again.

  • ABC (20/05/2020, 08:58) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great piece vino
  • Fan (20/05/2020, 09:26) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    One half of Rock City / R.City has it and spoke about it. He said his worse Enemy he wont wish that on.
  • Guest (20/05/2020, 09:42) Like (0) Dislike (11) Reply

    if they truly care about animal welfare, why is it that when i called bout a stray with a serious case of mange, they told me its sunday

  • Humane Society (20/05/2020, 11:20) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great article about our animal shelter, but the Humane Society of the BVI would like to make one correction: We are NOT using any funds we received for the new building in Josiah's Bay for the running of the shelter. So far we received about $110,000 in donations for the new building and keeping these funds separately. At the moment we have still funds from our fantastic Gaming Night, Quiz Night and other fundraising events, donations and shelter income of adoptions and boarding etc, which we can use to keep us going. Due to Covid-19 our finances are tight and other fundraising events like the Dog Show are postponed, so we could use any help from the community!
  • The Deception is real (20/05/2020, 11:27) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lol everyone hear with the same story, the doctors are being told to write the patients off as Covid19 but I forgot y’all watch mainstream news and believe everything without further investigation or critical thinking
  • Eagle Eye (20/05/2020, 13:35) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
    Critical thinking.
    Question. Why is there a curfew still in the bvi?
    Answer. Because the VIP awaits Bill Gates vaccination plan and think the bvi people will accept it with out a fight.
  • @Eagle Eye (20/05/2020, 15:38) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Then man sell we out long time buh “we ain’t out of the woods till there’s a vaccine”, better open up the damn beach fully so we could heal naturally from putting “Kill Gates” in charge of our health
  • cats friend (20/05/2020, 19:29) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    my cat survived Irma and stayed at a destroyed house on frenchmans cay for months. none of the new landlords
    wanted to have a cat there, but she was happy to stay in her old neighborhood and we took care of her in the
    ruins of my old landlords house. for months. then in june 2017 no one saw her again. when i went around
    frenchmans cay to a site near the frenchmans resort, there is an area which was storage. many cats there, which
    i recognized as going up to the top of hill to our property when all was well - to get a meal. some horribly injured
    probably from a dog, but i did note tortola people not so nice on cats. i saw again those often came by the old
    place - but not mine ever again. i am glad for the animal shelter, but i have deep spiritual concerns about you
    folks over there. always breaking peoples hearts. cats name was orange and very good soul.


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