Rejected mongrels find new life abroad - Animal lover secures homes overseas for dogs abandoned locally
Seen as vermin by many Jamaicans, mongrel dogs are often kicked, starved, and forced to steal to survive in a country where poodles are family members, Rottweilers are security guards, and pit bulls are status symbols.
One woman is leading a change with her Animal Haven of Love in St James, an effort that has been recognised globally by dog lovers.
The first thing that Tammy Browne - who has rescued over 1,000 malnourished, scruffy, ill-treated, and abandoned dogs over the last nine years - did was to remove the stigma from their names.
"Some of the dogs we have rescued have limbs missing, some are blind, some have maggots eating out parts of their bodies," was how Browne described the situation she found the animals in when she started her mission. The latest cruel act, she said, was persons tying them and leaving them in the bush to die.
"A little bit of love is all they need, so the first thing we did was to rename them 'Royal Caribbean Terriers' and gave them their own Facebook page. The response has been tremendously awesome," Browne tells The Gleaner.
In the last year, not only has she found several homes for these homeless animals, but she has exported some 200 dogs to families in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and the United States under a programmed tagged Save Our Scruffs.
MONTHLY FOOD BILL
Since the start of the year, some 30 dogs have found homes overseas, and on Tuesday, six of them flew out of the island.
The work being done by Animal Haven is not easy as the home, which currently houses 180 dogs, foots a food bill of US$5,000 per month. Browne survives with help from her mom and dad before he died, in addition to an incredible network of people who she calls animal angels.
Feeding and caring for some 180 dogs currently, Browne said that she could not have done this yeoman job without supporters such as veterinarians Dr Laura Williams at Vet4Pets and an amazing vet from abroad, Dr Rohan Smith, who comes to Jamaica regularly and carries out huge spray clinics with local vet Dr Carey Anderson.
... They are quite amazing creatures
Animal lover Tammy Browne notes that it is a known fact that the abuse and hatred one bestows on animals are reflected in how people treat each other and the society in general. She rescues abandoned dogs and finds homes for them locally and overseas.
The mongrels, she said, are quite amazing creatures. Resilient, supersmart, loyal, and protective of those they love, and they are amazingly diverse.
Browne, who was raised in Mandeville, Manchester, is heartened by the fact that more Jamaicans are setting up feeding stations, helping injured animals, and not just dogs.
Even better news, the charity she runs, Animal Haven of Love, has received 17 acres of land from a British couple in upper St James, where plans are in place to construct a facility that can accommodate not only kennels, but an education room and vet surgery unit.
"An English couple who has been following us on Facebook bought the land for us," said an elated Browne during an interview with The Gleaner at the Fur Ball held to raise funds last weekend at the Wharf House in Reading.
Montegonian Nicola De Lisser opened her home for the Fur Ball, while businessman James Goren was instrumental in helping to register the charity in the United States.
Companies such as Toyota Jamaica and CARIMED have come to the rescue of Animal Haven time and time again.
"Through education, we hope to continue to teach, share, and spread compassion," said Browne.