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BVI Humane Society’s New Shelter

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Q & A with Nancy Woodfield Pascoe

Photography by Shannon Gore

The Humane Society of the BVI was established in 1975 to promote animal welfare and preservation of wildlife in the Territory. In a recent interview with Nancy Pascoe—a member of the Humane Society’s Board of Directors—she talked to VIPY about the news and progress of the new animal shelter with the phenomenal efforts of the BVI community.

The Animal Shelter as it is more commonly known was originally supported by non-profit membership of individuals and corporate members, whose annual membership fees provided financial assistance to daily operations. Ms. Tessa Gunter took on the role as the first Humane Society manager; a position which she held until she passed away in April 2013. Since 1997, the assistant manager of the Animal Shelter has been Vijay Bissoodutt who then became the manager in 2013.

  • What is the BVI Humane Society and when was it founded?

In December 2013, the Humane Society of the BVI was legally registered as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) under the Virgin Islands Non-Profit Organisations Act, 2012. It is governed by a board consisting of Nancy Pascoe, Colin Riegels, and Nigel McPhail. The society is no longer a membership based organisation, but donations are received as a result of animals adopted, fundraising activities, grants, and bequeaths.

Additionally, the Humane Society provides revenue generating services such as boarding pets, grooming, and sale of pet supplies. This income allows the recurrent expenses for the Animal Shelter to be provided for, with any additional being saved in the new Animal Shelter development fund. Annual fundraising events include Gaming Night, the Dog Show, and an auction entitled Paws for a Cause.

  • What is the intended purpose of the new shelter? Where will it be located? And when will it be finished?

The Animal Shelter is currently located at Johnson’s Ghut. At this location, the Humane Society was able to construct a facility with larger boarding kennels, a veterinary clinic, multiple yards for dogs, and the ability to care for animals other than cats and dogs.

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In 2013, we purchased one acre of land at Josiah’s Bay, Tortola for $150,000, using funds saved over the past 10 – 15 years for the construction of this new facility.

As the land is located close to a salt pond, we are very aware of the environmental sensitivity of the area. As I work for the National Parks Trust, I want to ensure we build a sustainable facility and have therefore invited Dr Shannon Gore, former Marine Biologist at the Conservation and Fisheries Dept. to be our advisor for the project as she literally wrote the book, Best Management Practices: A Guide to Reducing Erosion in the British Virgin Islands.

  • Please tell me more about donations of money and building materials for the cause
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Detailed construction costs will be generated from the architectural drawings. Construction will take place in phases and it is hoped that once planning permission is acquired early this year, phase one can begin.

The Humane Society has approximately $200,000 available at present that will be used to begin phase one.

Fundraising events will be set up to encourage people to donate towards the cost of a kennel, or square footage. All donors will be acknowledged on artistically designed plaques at the new facility.

We are also writing grant applications to charity foundations and have been successful in acquiring $25,000 from the Martha Morse Foundation in the USA.

Additionally, the Paypal facility on the Humane Society website will be activated to allow online donations – bvihumanesociety.org

  • How will the Humane Society progress in the future?

We are developing an awareness campaign for spaying and neutering pets in order to create a future community that has less stray animals. We will be identifying members of the community from all cultural backgrounds to pose with their pets that have been spayed and neutered with messages about the health benefits and responsibilities that pet ownership brings.

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We would like to encourage members of the community to volunteer at the Animal Shelter. We have two full time and one part time member of staff, but the Shelter is open 365 days of the year and the animals must be cared for by compassionate people.

With lots of cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies available for adoption, the diligent work of the Humane Society is never done. It is with further assistance from the community that the organisation will make those huge strides to accomplish their goals as a BVI animal haven.

Erin Paviour-Smith

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