Before they can be adopted or sent to the U.S., three puppies at the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center need special care from a foster home.
Futu, Christian and Tiffy – two male and one female – were found abandoned in a remote area of Estate Judith’s Fancy and were taken to St. Croix’s animal shelter. The staff believe someone was feeding the three-month-old coconut retrievers, because they were not thin and play happily with and around people. (See video.)
However, one of the dogs has developed ringworm and it is only a matter of time before it spreads to her siblings. According to Stephany DeJesus, SCAWC intake supervisor, placing the puppies in a foster home will reduce the chances other dogs will contract the contagious skin condition.
“Foster pet parents provide care, love and take care of medical expenses. That’s the reason we need foster parents, because we can’t do the medical,” DeJesus said.
In other cases, such as newborn kittens or puppies, foster care is necessary because the little pets require special feeding and handling. An especially adoptable dog with heart worm will also be placed in foster care, because the medication is expensive and the treatment lasts six weeks.
DeJesus said the shelter keeps a list of people who are available to foster dogs or cats. Currently the list is short because many foster parents have adopted the animals they have cared for in their homes. Anyone interested in fostering an animal from the welfare center can contact by calling DeJesus at 1-340-718-1650 or going through the website, www.stcroixawc.org.
The SCAWC has been caring for the island’s unwanted pets since 1973. The shelter also provides animal control and promotes humane treatment and spay and neuter programs through education. The welfare center responds to animal abuse in conjunction with the police department.
Hundreds of animals are adopted each year on and off island with fees much lower than most stateside shelters. Donations are accepted to help pets fly stateside.
Fundraising for the SCAWC is through special events, membership, pet licenses, the Flea Market in Estate Richmond and donations of cash and needed items. The Blue Mutt, a retail store in downtown Christiansted, donates its profits to the center.
Although the animal shelter is not currently a 501c3 organization, the necessary paperwork is being prepared to regain non-profit status.