Six years after Canadian veterinarian Dr. Cheryl Yuill participated in the Bonaire Animal Shelter’s first free sterilization program in 2004, she returned to Bonaire.
Accompanied by Canadian veterinarian Dr. Mary Lovie who owns a house on Bonaire and who started the whole campaign up at the time, she visited the Shelter. “I’m glad to see so much has changed,”
Dr. Yuill says. “There are far fewer stray dogs on the street and the public awareness has become so much better. Several people have come up to me when they heard I was part of the first sterilization program to tell me very proudly that their dog was sterilized! I am also very impressed with the little house the Shelter has built outside their gate for people to put their unwanted animals or animals they’ve found. It’s nicer than the one we have at the shelter I work with in Canada. There we get about 2,500 cats and 1,000 dogs a year that people cannot take care of anymore. Many of those animals are adopted out, but it’s not a no-kill shelter; we also euthanize animals.
In Canada I own and work at the Blue Cross Animal Hospital, in Kitchener, Ontario, and it was my colleague, Dr. Mary Lovie, who took the initiative for the sterilization campaign in 2004.
“I came to Bonaire in 2000 to dive,” Dr. Mary Lovie says, “and in my spare time I looked up the Animal Shelter and I had a conversation with Jurrie, who was the manager in those days, about all the strays downtown and was anything done about them. I offered my services to Jurrie and he took me to Hans and Etty Lambeek, the veterinarian couple who were then running the animal clinic at Kaminda Lagun. They were very interested when they heard I’d organized similar sterilization projects in other parts of the world. So, we had several meetings in the following years and in 2004 we hit it off: the two Dutch vets, three American vets and Cheryl and me from Canada. We all brought our own instruments and all the other supplies, and Hans and Etty brought the drugs. From October 14th till October 31st we sterilized 302 animals and it continued after we left.
In conclusion: We’re very happy to see the island has picked up on our program, and it’s heartwarming to see the benefits. We’re highly impressed with the new sterilization campaign the Animal Shelter started last year in May. They’ve sterilized almost 500 animals. It’s been very good progress. Amazing!”
Greta Kooistra, Bonaire Reporter, March 19- April 9, 2010