BY PAT DIAL
Kaieteur News – There are a number of organizations or societies that have come over to Independent Guyana as part of its inheritance from colonial times and all of these tend to have an international pitch. Among these organizations are the Red Cross Society, Free masonry and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). In Independent Guyana, the “Royal” in the name was replaced with “Guyana” so the Society is now known as the GSPCA or the Guyana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Such animal protection programmes are still spreading or being strengthened in various parts of the world. For example, recently an RSPCA was established in Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan kingdom and President Trump of the USA, before he left office, passed a fairly strong animal protection Bill into Federal Law.
Animals seem to have a particular attraction for children who also seem to have a natural empathy for them as well. Animals it may seem at times are able to easily communicate with children rather than with adults. Therefore, when Zayd, the son of His Excellency President Ifraan Ali and Madame Arya Ali, hosted a lemonade sale at State House in the first week of March to raise funds for the GSPCA, the occasion seemed quite normal though this was the first time in the history of State House that such an occasion took place. Zayd and the other children who attended and who were all interested in animals happily fraternized. The sale raised nearly GUY$2 million.
The GSPCA does not venture into the protection of animals in the wild as a few similar organizations in other parts of the world do. It focuses on domestic animals and particularly pets.
Until about the 1950’s, the main means of transporting goods in Guyana was by means of carts drawn by donkeys, mules and horses. Sometimes the cartmen would cruelly beat their animals with the thick ropes they carried in their carts. In those years, the RSPCA employed a roving inspector who went about the city and even countryside on his bicycle and was able to bring prosecutions before the Courts of these cruel cartmen or even persons mistreating their dogs, cats and even livestock. The roving inspector was an effective deterrent, especially to the cartmen.
Today, the GSPCA almost never bring prosecutions- it concentrates on rescuing animals, mainly dogs and cats, which have been abandoned or are being mistreated, conducting a clinic which offers services such vaccinations, de-worming, spay and neutering and another veterinary services, providing food and shelter, and finding new homes for animals. Any afternoon at the GSPCA clinic, one may see owners taking their cats, dogs, rabbits, parrots and other birds and even turtles for veterinary inspection and treatment.
GSPCA is basically a volunteer organization and the doctors and attendants are volunteers. A nominal fee is charged for consultations and medicines but it is volunteerism and donations which keep the organization afloat. The long serving President of the GSPCA is Mr. Oliver Insanally who has been performing this labour of love for many years.
Protecting animals and caring for them have been civilizing forces in all societies, even from very ancient times, as for example when Buddhist rulers established animal hospitals in accordance with Lord Buddha’s teachings. Families who rear pets rarely commit crimes of violence against each other. It has also been observed that the men who indulge in domestic violence against women and children have never had pets.
Animals, on their part, provide many valuable and essential services to man as for example, the Eskimos of the Arctic cannot survive without their dogs. In Guyana, dogs help in crime fighting by tracking down criminals and assist in discovering narcotic shipments at airports. A good proportion of the homes depend on guard dogs to deter criminals or to warn residents of unwelcome or suspicious visitors. Dogs are on duty 24 hours per day and there are examples of dogs defending owners against armed criminals and being injured or killed. Dogs also help to guide the visually impaired. Cats in any home ensure that rats and mice are kept away. But probably, the greatest service of pets is the companionship and love they give to their owners and in particular children. Owners by means of their psychological relationship to their pets often grasp the great philosophic truth that all Life is One irrespective of the physical forms in which Life is manifested.
GSPCA is providing a very valuable service to society and enriches the quality of life and we would wish to persuade volunteers to offer their services and the public to make financial donations to the Society whenever they can, no matter how small.
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