Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2013 Contents B2
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 23, 2013
From Page B1
If the household doesn t meet the mark, the TTSP-
CA gives the potential pet owner the opportunity to
fix any aspects of their home that present a risk to
the animal s well-being.
The TTSPCA s Port-of-Spain shelter currently
houses around 25 cats, ten puppies, and around 40
dogs. Menard-Agostini says the shelter has been
experiencing a very good adoption rate of 15 per cent
for the intake of animals. Nearly 1000 animals are
adopted from the shelter each year.
"I think this growth has a lot to do with the influ-
ence of TV and the push towards adopting shelter
animals," she said.
"People feel good about themselves and like the
idea of taking in a homeless animal."
She said many of the requests for people wishing
to adopt animals are for small dogs or what most
people refer to as "purebred pom peks."
Given the state of crime many people also coming
looking for large aggressive dogs such as rottweilers
and pit bulls.
Despite the demands for these dog breeds, she
defended the "Trini pot hounds" which make up the
majority of the dogs at the shelter.
She said they are perfectly-suited for T&T s climate,
face little to no health issues during their lifetime,
get along easily with other dogs and can be very alert
watch dogs. The T&T Guardian also spoke to animal
behaviourist and welfarist Kristel-Marie Ramnath
who explained some of the reasons clients bring their
pets to her.
These include aggression towards the owner,
aggression towards other pets, disobedience, hyper-
activity, excessive barking resulting in nuisance calls
from neighbours as well as separation anxiety.
Ramnath said no particular dog breed is more wild
or aggressive than another.
Some reasons for aggression in dogs include prior
abuse resulting in fear-aggression, physical confine-
ment leading to frustration as well as lack of mental
stimulation and exercise which can cause dogs to
have pent-up energy.
Ramnath said aggression is a genetic trait that can
be passed on from parent to offspring.
In such cases, she recommends that aggressive
dogs be neutered to prevent continuation of this
gene. She said: "Dogs who have not been adequately
socialised to humans and other animals during their
imprinting period often show variations of fear-
aggression when coming into contact with unfamiliar
persons and animals later in life."
For this reason, the TTSPCA brings in volunteers
each week to play with the animals and to ensure
that they have become used to human handling.
Ramnath said most dogs are very resilient and
when adopted settle quickly into their new homes.
The key is to ensure the dog accepts its adoptive
family as its "new pack" by engaging in activities
such as reward-based obedience training, walking,
offering treats and playing with the dog.
"Affection and attention are vital," she said. This
includes spending time with the dog and ensuring that
he is mentally enriched through the provision of toys.
"Discipline, not punishment, ensures that the dog
learns to distinguish appropriate behaviour from
The TTSPCA has a low-cost spay clinic and on
the last Tuesday of each month, there is cat
spay special at a reduced price. The Animal
Welfare Network (AWN) also hosts a subsidised
spay week in November. For more information
on these services, or to adopt a pet, call the
TTSPCA at 622-1367 or visit its Facebook page
Harriet rescued Kato in 2011 when she saw
him wandering in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain.
She had him neutered and fully vaccinated
before boarding him at the TTSPCA where he
stayed for six months while she searched for a
home for him.
Through newspaper ads, Kato was later
adopted by a family in Barataria with whom he
lived for eight months. The family later decided
it could no longer care for Kato and returned
him. He is now being temporarily fostered at a
volunteer's home and Harriet pays for all his
She says she is still looking desperately for a
suitable owner for Kato and is convinced he
will make a loyal and loving family pet. If
interested in adopting Kato, call 680-9576.
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