No MOU between ministry, T&TSPCA

Senator Paul Richards - Angelo Marcelle
Senator Paul Richards - Angelo Marcelle

THE EDITOR: The TT Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (T&TSPCA) would like to respond to recent articles in the press (Newsday June 12, pg 15 and Trinidad Express online, June 13) regarding the implementation of the Dog Act and the Dog Control Act.

We are very concerned that views expressed in the articles are detrimental to the society’s current efforts to raise funds and prevent closure of our Port of Spain Shelter. Our San Fernando Shelter was shut down in 2014 due to a serious flooding problem and a lack of funds for land improvements and repair of the facilities.

In response to questions raised by Senator Paul Richards about the status of implementation of the laws concerning control of the stray dog population and so-called dangerous dogs, the Government responded that (1) a new pound was constructed in San Fernando, (2) the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the T&TSPCA, and (3) that a subvention in the amount of $504,457 had been given to the society to assist with this effort.

On the first point, the "new pound" in San Fernando is merely a refurbished version of the original facility, with very little additional capacity or improvement in the layout. There was little or no regard given to recommendations for a move to a more appropriate location, an improved layout, and a humane approach to management. The facility is currently under-resourced and without veterinary support.

Regarding (2), there is no MOU between the ministry and the T&TSPCA. The society had entered into an MOU with the San Fernando City Corporation in 2013, with the intention of constructing a new enlarged shelter facility in San Fernando that would service both the corporation and the public, and that would be managed by the T&TSPCA with oversight by a co-ordinating group made up of public and private sector representatives. This MOU was never put into effect.

Regarding (3), the T&TSPCA is a registered NGO and charitable organisation that funds operations through contributions to services, fund raising and public donations. We have received government support on three occasions in the last ten years.

In 2014, when the Dog Control Act was proclaimed, funds were allocated to the T&TSPCA to construct class A kennels and provide accommodation free of charge for a period of one year.

In 2020, the T&TSPCA received a subvention from the Ministry of Agriculture following the proclamation of the Animal (Diseases and Importation) Amendment Act that included provisions against animal cruelty and for improved animal welfare.

In 2022, we received a subvention from the Rural Development and Local Government Ministry to repair our holding and quarantine facilities that had fallen into disrepair following covid.

We have been invited by the ministry to sit on a recently formed committee to work on implementation of the Dogs Act and Dog Control Act. The council of the T&TSPCA has always been available and willing to work with government agencies to raise the standard of animal welfare and to assist animals in need.

Our shelters can assist with low-cost spay and neuter services, and temporary accommodation for stray, unwanted and abandoned animals. However, this is only possible if we remain operational.


T&TSPCA Council


"No MOU between ministry, T&TSPCA"

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