Yap volunteers seeking donations from businesses to help reduce overpopulation of domestic animals
- Category: News
- Published: Sunday, 07 October 2018 12:43
- Written by Bernd Riebe
- Hits: 2014
September 27, 2018
One of the most often heard comments about Yap from first-time visitors is how clean the island is. Its citizens are deeply attached to the land and surrounding ocean and committed to keeping it unspoiled and unpolluted for the generations. But there is one abiding problem in Yap’s pristine environment – the overpopulation of feral dogs and cats and the diseases they carry.
It is common to see animals suffering from malnutrition, infections, and injuries. Puppies often die painfully from preventable illness. Public health threats also crop up with parasite and disease ridden animals in close proximity to humans, aggressive animals that might attack and injure pedestrians, feces that attract flies to household areas and contaminate food, and garbage cans that the hungry animals invade and overturn.
Unfed dogs and cats can also wreak havoc on local wildlife.
The solution? Veterinary clinics that provide spaying and neutering services.
But there are no veterinarians on Yap.
The Yap Animal Protection Society (Y.A.P.S.), an all-volunteer, locally registered, nonprofit organization, was formed in 2009 to address this concern by recruiting veterinarians to come to the island to hold spay and neuter clinics. A small group of committed residents donate their time for fundraising, organizing and implementing the popular clinics with the aim to make the clinics as accessible to residents as possible by offering the services for free.
In March 2018, the island was visited by the Pacific Partnership, the U.S.
Navy’s humanitarian and civic assistance mission. Among the medical team was a veterinarian who provided spay and neutering services for approximately 40 animals. In 2015 and 2016, Y.A.P.S. Hosted two clinics that treated nearly 280 animals thanks to volunteer veterinarians from Australia. Among the work provided was the training of local volunteers in animal handling, basic medical procedure assistance and sterilization of equipment.
Deworming, tick and flea treatment and vaccinations are also provided during the clinics.
Y.A.P. S.’ current goal is to hold a spay/neuter clinic in Spring 2019 in two locations in Yap that will treat up to 200 animals. But the cost of staging a clinic runs upwards of $10,000 or more and includes a small honorarium for the visiting veterinarian for meals, transportation to bring the animals to the clinic, medical and general cleaning supplies, transportation, accommodations and airfare. The volunteers hold sales of used clothing during the year to raise money and are currently soliciting support from companies in Yap and Guam for donations. The corporate campaign kicked off in late September and received its first donation of $200 from CTSI a few days later with more expected from businesses that have branches in Yap or sell their products and services on the island.
“While the direct benefit is to the animals, the residents of Yap also benefit from a cleaner, safer island due to healthier, less aggressive animals,” said Denise Gilliland, president of Y.A.P.S. Yap is home to a growing population of dogs, cats and other domestic animals. Some are being adopted due to Y.A.P.S.’ promotion of animal welfare that has made more people aware of the need to care for their animals and get them spayed and neutered.
“Providing services that promote animal health while keeping the unwanted population in check is beneficial to all,” Gilliland added.
Y.A.P.S. Works closely with the Yap State Division of Agriculture and Forestry, College of Micronesia Yap State Campus, the Yap State Department of Health Services, the Yap Sports Council and other agencies to ensure successful clinics For more information, go to #yapanimalprotectionsociety. Donations may be sent to Yap Animal Protection Society, PO Box 1032, Colonia, Yap 96943.