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Animal-Kind International Partner Organization: Kingston Community Animal Welfare

AKI’s partner in Jamaica is Kingston Community Animal Welfare, a small, but powerful organization that focuses on helping street dogs and cats and pets of low/no income families. KCAW, founded and operated by Kingston resident, Deborah Binns, feeds over 500 street dogs and 50 cats each week, and provides pet food to families who are unable to afford food.  KCAW also provides vet care, including spay/neuter, vaccinations, de-worming, and flea/tick/mange control. They work hard to control the population of unwanted animals in Kingston by sterilizing dogs and cats, as funds allow.  And they work with communities to encourage them to accept the street dogs and cats, watch out for them, and treat them kindly.

KCAW receives no government support. They are the only organization that is fully committed to helping the thousands of dogs and cats that live on the streets of Kingston. AKI is committed to assisting KCAW with their efforts!

These are just a few of the grateful doggies, who live on Kingston streets, and who have been helped by KCAW and AKI (photo above)! (You can see many more pictures and read joyful rescue stories from KCAW in the photo gallery.) The white dog with the black face has only two teeth left in his mouth-they’re in the front and they stick out, looking like fangs. KCAW gives him special food. Deborah, with KCAW told us more about the street dogs: “Most of these dogs don't belong to anyone, they roam about the area and do their best to survive on whatever they can find. A lot of them lose their teeth trying to eat tough soup bones they find in garbage and other hard inedible morsels that damage their mouths and teeth.”

AKI’s Partnership with Kingston Community Animal Welfare (KCAW)

For over 30 years, Deborah Binns has been helping low/no income people in Jamaica feed their pets, get them sterilized, and get vet care for them when needed.  She also feeds and cares for many of Kingston’s street dogs and cats. Although Deborah has a full-time job as an economist, she finds time, every day to check on the dogs and cats she's looking after.

If it wasn’t for Deborah, many dogs and cats in Kingston would go hungry, and would die of starvation, injuries, or disease without knowing any kindness.

Deborah works in the poorest neighborhoods, she is trusted by the people there, and she knows everyone in “her” communities—the people, dogs, and cats.  Deborah has a network of people in these communities who watch out for the animals, let her know if something is wrong with one of them, and who provide food on the days that Deborah doesn’t stop by.

Deborah also has a small shelter at her house, where she can keep puppies or dogs that need to get off the streets.  She finds homes for some of these dogs—but only after they have been sterilized, and she will only adopt to homes where she knows that they will have a lifetime of love.

We at AKI value our partnership with Kingston Community Animal Welfare. AKI has sent funds to Deborah to buy food and medicines for Kingston’s street dogs and cats, and has helped cover costs of spay/neuter and other vet care.  (See the photo gallery, where you can read about what AKI’s support has accomplished.)

With some love and care, this skinny and scared little puppy (above) turned into the happy, carefree puppy in Deborah’s arms (below). 

A Few Words from KCAW/Deborah Binns:

Thank you so much for the donation!  Just this morning I was driving to work Karen, and lamenting (to myself of course) that I just can't keep up with the cost of dog food anymore—the price has increased by 3 fold in the last year. Now I have taken on some cute cute cute little pups that live in a big drum lying on its side by my bank. I was going to take them home but they seem so comfortable and happy I decided to feed them and care for them right there, until I can get them into a real home.

I see the mama dog too she is always close by but they are almost 7 weeks now so she is starting to leave them. Soon she will leave for good. But they are fine. The money you sent will help me feed these pups and all the other beautiful doggies on the streets!

More in Deborah's Words:
"My favourite favourite homeless dog, and a testimony that 'street' dogs can live as long and well as dogs being cared for in a proper home. 13 years old! With 4 teeth left! Sweet sweet sweet! I know I will be a mess when she goes to doggies heaven!!! Love you Granny dog!!!"

A tribute to BOYSIE

This is one of the few men downtown who help Deborah with the dogs. Deborah tells AKI:

“Boysie is a really, really nice man.  He lives in an abandoned car and takes in any strays that come to his area and he also scolds the children who he sees being cruel to animals. Every Saturday, I leave food for him to feed his dogs. Boysie loves fruit juice, so I stick a bottle or 2 in the bag of dog food for him. He also takes up the dogs from the road when the cars run them over (NOBODY else does this). If they are still alive he will call me on my cell and I will go get them!”

This is certainly a man with a big heart! How often do we hear, “how can we expect people who are poor to worry about animals?” Boysie’s story should put that question to rest.  Thank you from AKI to Boysie for helping Jamaica’s dogs!

How You Can Help Deborah

You can donate to AKI and designate KCAW for your donation. Deborah will use your contribution for her animal rescue priority needs. AKI tracks use of all funds, and we are happy to report back to you on how your donation has been used and what it has achieved.

Deborah uses Panacur and Triatix (Amitraz) very often and always requests donations of these. Triatix, an anti-parasitic, is very helpful with Deborah’s mange cases. Anyone who can donate Panacur and/or Amitraz/Triatix, please send to AKI, and we will send it on to Deborah for Kingston’s street dogs.

Spay-Neuter Fund: Deborah always welcomes funds to help in her spay-neuter efforts. She works with one vet on the island who has agreed to give her discounted prices; others have refused to discount their prices, and charge the full cost. Deborah's discounted prices are as follows for:

Spaying a dog.......US $45.00  [discounted from the full cost of US $ 100.00]
Neutering a dog.......US $35.00 [discounted from the full cost of US $ 75.00]
Spaying a cat.........US $ 35.00  [discounted from the full cost of US $ 50.00]
Neutering a cat......US $ 30.00  [discounted from the full cost of US $ 40.00]

Note from Karen, Animal-Kind International

"I lived in Jamaica for ten months, and spent every Saturday with Deborah, taking food to people to supplement their dogs' diets, explaining to people that dogs need to eat more than once a week (a misconception that seemed fairly common among dog owners), convincing people that their dogs need water just as humans do, taking care of their ill and injured dogs and cats, getting their pets spayed and neutered, and visiting and feeding street dogs and cats, who would have received no other care if it wasn't for Deborah. I went with Deborah only on Saturdays, but Deborah has different routes she takes every single day of the week, where she drops off food, checks on dogs and cats, and talks to neighborhood people about their pets and the street dogs and cats. The people-as well as the animals-on her rounds expect her, and if she doesn't show up, her phone starts ringing: "Ms. Binns, are you ok? We didn't see you today and we're worried about you." Deborah is responsible for getting hundreds of dogs and cats sterilized, and for currently helping care for over 500 animals."

What is it like to be a dog or cat in Kingston?

Kingston's street dogs blanket the roadways. They get hit by cars, and are left to slowly die by the side of the road, they may starve to death, they suffer from many illnesses, and people throw rocks at them to chase them away.  But if Deborah has anything to do with it, any injured, scared, or starving dog and cat, gets cared for, fed, and loved.

In Deborah's view, the main animal welfare problems in Jamaica are a general lack of knowledge about dogs and cats and their needs; the indifference of many pet owners towards their animals; and overt cruelty just for the sake of it-cruel actions such as deliberately running over dogs and cats in the street, throwing boiling water on dogs, hanging dogs, and drowning cats.

Most dogs in Jamaica are kept for guarding the household and family, and cruel methods are used to "train" them, including beatings, starving them and then feeding hot chili, and chaining them for the entire day, until they are set free at night to guard.

Some cats are tolerated because they are mousers. But even if they are tolerated by some, there’s always someone who will throw rocks at the cat. You’ll rarely find people who keep cats as pets and provide adequate food and vet care.

Info/Photos

For more stories, videos and photos please visit the Kingston Community Animal Welfare Gallery.

Deborah sent these pictures below about her rescue of this little dog with mange. As you read please click on a photo:

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"I saw her on the way to work, standing on a sidewalk with a terrible case of mange, the worst I have seen for awhile. She was so tiny and hungry I had to stop ( and yes I was waaaay late for work but did I care...NO!) and gave her a pan of food. She ate it all to the last rice grain!I knew if I put her in the car I'd have to find someplace to leave her and she looked a bit ansy as if she would run. So I made a promise to her that if she was there the following morning I'd take her! Well, next morning I had my gloves ready and catch pole-no dog. Next day, no dog.Then Thursday..there she was!!!! So I put the food down and while she ate I slowly patted her, she didn't run. Then I rubbed her ears and she didn't try to bite, so I lifted her (she weighed less than a feather) and put her in the car and took her home. I had to get treatment for scabies. I was careful but she was so heavily infested it eventually got me. Karen I itched and scratched for days! "

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I bathed her 3 times for the mange just to be sure. I put her in the kennel but she cried and wailed until I let her around the front with my other dogs. She was lonely. She took over Starry's bed and Starry was not happy!!!!!!!

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Lucky I knew of a little girl whose family wanted a dog.  The girl met her, and it was love at 1st sight.  They named her Fluffy!

Find out more about Deborah’s work to help dogs & cats of Kingston.

One of our favorite dogs, Boy, read about him here - Boy January - 2008

Hurricaine Updates

Read the Hurricane Dean Report - December 2007

Update on How Donations Were Spent - March 2008

Deborah receives support from a British Airways flight attendant - Click here, September 2009

See pictures from one of Deborah's more spectacular rescues - Click here to see the full rescue!

Deborah not only is a savior for Kingston’s street dogs and cats, she recently wrote a play to raise money for her community animal welfare work! Click here.

A great blog post by a visitor from the US to Jamaica who wanted to spend the day with Deborah- click here

At a typical tenement yard in a depressed area of downtown Kingston, this dog had a very bad case of mange and was also suffering from starvation. KCAW worked with the owner to help this dog recover.

Deborah Binns feeding dogs with a Jamaican man who cares for several street dogs.