From its inception and with the help of its owners, the Bahia Redonda Marina in Puerto La Cruz has been a free range, no kill animal sanctuary. Over the years many cruisers have taken on the job to help with the animal rescue effort, particularly for cats and dogs. Through neutering, spaying and adoption and with the help of people like Magda Reyes, Maria Castillo and many others we have worked to keep the animal population under control.
Sadly, as this beautiful country deteriorates, people are becoming unable to feed, neuter or spay their pets, or in many cases feed themselves. Consequently, our adoption rate has gone down, and people are smuggling more kittens or cats into the marina in the hopes that since they are unable to care for them, we will, and we do – well we try – but this is becoming more and more difficult as the economic situation in Venezuela changes.
Animal food, even at the ‘black market exchange rate’, is becoming more expensive every month, the price of cat food has gone from $1.00 per kilo to $7.30 for the cheapest cat food, and dog food is now $4.00 per kilo. To save money we’ve tried feeding the cats cheaper dog food, but this has created another problem, many cats are starting to suffer from urinary tract infections caused by kidney stones, and this means more money spent on doctors and medicine.
Although the people are suffering, the animals are suffering the most in Venezuela. I know it will seem silly to some, to worry about feeding cats, kittens, and dogs twice a day in a country where people are standing in long lines for hours to buy basic food, while workers lose weight because they are only able to eat one meal a day. But the animals are unable to provide for themselves, so we are doing the best we can to help them, this includes feeding them and visits to the vet if they become really sick. I say really sick, because I have been taught how to diagnose and treat small ailments by a few helpful veterinarians. We also regularly de-worm all the animals, and neuter and spay all adult cats and dogs.
Last year to help keep our animal population down we organized five ‘Sterilization Day’ campaigns where people could have their pets sterilized for a fraction of the price charged at the veterinary clinics. We held a few ‘Trap, Neuter, and Return’ sessions for animals in public parks, markets, and a residential building next to the marina. We successfully sterilized about 150 cats and 20 dogs. These campaigns have become difficult to maintain due to lack of medicine and the high prices of what is available.
Take Me Home
Our adoption rate for the past three to four years was at a steady average of 10-15 cats a year. The economic crisis has reduced adoptions to only four cats in 2016, and we now have 56 cats and four dogs in our care. All the cats and dogs were abandoned and/or smuggled into the marina, a few came to us in terrible condition, but all are given a bath and food, and if ill, medical treatment and eventually they are spayed or neutered.
This marina has always been a no kill sanctuary, and we would sincerely love to keep it this way. The marina owners graciously and thankfully continue to buy us food but with the rising number of animals and spiraling cost it isn’t nearly enough, and we are now in desperate need of help. To support the animal rescue effort, we need money for food, medicine, and for sterilization and veterinary visits.
The cruising community has always loved and rescued animals. So, we are sincerely asking for your help with this noble cause, helping animals who are suffering in a country that is suffering.
We are doing our best with the animal rescue effort and don’t want to have to put animals to sleep. Without the resources, sadly we may have no choice.
To help, or to contact us, or to simply follow our work and our lovely animals, please visit the following:
Facebook: Help A Cat
E-mail: [email protected]