New Shelter Plans

The Cayman Islands Humane Society is pleased to announce that, after two years of discussion, it is progressing plans for a new, purpose-built facility thanks to a peppercorn lease from Dart.

In the 22 years since the generosity of two donors enabled the Humane Society to purchase the existing shelter, what was once a significant asset has become one of the charity’s biggest challenges.

Recent heavy rains that flooded the shelter’s offices, quarantine room and kennels have highlighted the severe, recurring issues associated with the Humane Society’s current location.

Humane Society Board Director Lesley Walker says a new facility is desperately needed to enable the Humane Society to continue its vital work in a premises fit for purpose.

“The Humane Society’s mission is to provide shelter, care and attention to all unwanted companion animals, and seek out responsible and loving homes for them,” Walker says. “A purpose-built facility in a secure, central location will allow our team to continue to provide essential animal welfare and rescue services to the entire Cayman Islands community.”

The new shelter will be located at Camana Bay on almost two acres of land adjacent to the proposed new rugby grounds to the south of the Cayman Islands National Gallery. Dart Executive Vice President with responsibility for community development Pilar Bush says the site was chosen because it is central to visitors, volunteers, and in close proximity to veterinary clinics in case of emergencies.

“The provision of land for community development purposes is one of the areas in which Dart is uniquely positioned to provide long-term support for established, well-run non-profit organisations that enhance our shared community,” she says. “Animal welfare is an important part of a healthy, thriving society and we are proud to support the Humane Society’s mission to assist the community in all aspects of animal rescue and responsible pet ownership.”

In addition to the 99-year peppercorn lease, Dart will bear the cost of clearing and filling the two acre site in preparation for construction.

“This lease gives the Humane Society the chance for a new home so we can continue to help rescue animals find theirs,” Walker says.

Designed by an international consultant specialising in veterinary and animal welfare project development, the new shelter will feature kennels, veterinary facilities and educational resources. Taking into account nearby residential neighbourhoods, Walker says the design also incorporates design and landscaping elements intended to minimise disturbances.

“We are planning a stakeholder engagement meeting with the lead architect for the project so that our key community partners and other interested stakeholders can familiarise themselves with the design and get their questions answered ahead of the planning process,” she says.

Walker says construction of the new facility will be partially funded by funds left in trust by local animal rights activist and Humane Society founding member Ardyth Smith before her death in 2016. In keeping with her last wishes, the new facility will be dedicated to her late husband Irvin Smith. It is hoped that the new facility will be operational by 2022.

“Ardyth’s generosity has enabled us to achieve our dream of a purpose built facility much earlier than we could ever have anticipated,” Walker says. “She was a stalwart supporter of animal welfare in the community and the new shelter will be a testament to her enduring legacy.”

While the Humane Society prepares to progress its plans for the new shelter through the planning process, Walker says volunteer and financial support remains critical to the day-to-day operations of the existing facility.

“We want to thank everyone who stepped up to foster dogs and cats after the most recent flooding, and to the companies and individuals who supported our clean-up efforts. This will not be the last time we experience issues with flooding before the new facility is built,” Walker says. “We will still need fosters, forever homes and dog walkers, and continued fundraising will still be essential for our ongoing operational costs.”

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