Humane Society’s $5.3M shelter to go before CPA

| 17/01/2023 | 75 Comments
Cayman News Service
Current Humane Society facility

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Humane Society’s planning application for an animal rescue shelter in West Bay is scheduled to be heard by the Central Planning Authority on Wednesday. The proposal faces just one objector, who has set out how the non-profit organisation could address their concerns as they appear to support the concept in principle. But the animal charity must also address the question of the suitability of the project in an area zoned as low-density residential.

The non-profit has been in need of a new home for decades as the shelter where it houses rescued and abandoned animals on North Sound Road, George Town, is old and frequently floods during storms. In addition, the timber building is bursting at the seams with cats and dogs who need care and attention. The plans for a new centre have been financed by money left in trust by an animal-loving benefactor. The details have not been revealed but CNS understands that a previous attempt to partner with Dart fell through and this private donor stepped up.

The NPO will be leasing the land, at a peppercorn rent, held by the Genesis Trust, which is making the application to planning on behalf of the Humane Society. The application is for three buildings off Capt Reginald Parsons Drive in the Mount Pleasant area, and if it gets the green light it is expected to take around two years to complete.

According to the application submitted to the CPA, there are no environmental concerns with the project. The Department of Environment said it welcomed the elevation of the ground floor level of the development to address potential flooding but advised the non-profit to consult with Hazard Management to ensure the project is future-proofed.

Although the application includes considerably fewer parking spots than the CPA has calculated is required given the nature of the facility, the planning department has said the number could be reduced.

The Humane Society has also addressed concerns raised by the objector, who has said they “do not want to try and stop this application” but asked the CPA, if it approves the application, to include conditions to address the issues they have raised. The main one is that allowing what could be defined as a commercial operation in a residential area does not set a precedent and that the CPA makes it clear that it is an exception because of the wider benefits to society.

The other concerns raised by the objector include the impact of so much dog walking, unsightly signs and the potential of the on-site vet service attracting too much traffic.

However, the NPO said that the new site is big enough to allow the dogs to be walked on the land on existing trails without having to take the animals into the community. They also confirmed that the sign will be a small location identifier and the vet will only attend the shelter to deal with specific services, such as spay and neuter surgeries, preventative medicine, and routine surgical and medical care during business hours.

The Humane Society is in desperate need of a new shelter that will have adequate space to house rescue animals and facilitate the general operations of the shelter. In the application, it notes that the plans and site area provides the opportunity for expansion in the future. The existing CIHS shelter does not have any room for expansion though the demand to house and care for stray and abandoned animals is greater than it has ever been.

“A modern purpose-built facility will greatly improve the charity’s ability to support the community through its endeavours,” the application states.

See details of the application by Genesis Trust on the CPA agenda in the CNS Library.


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Category: development, Local News

Comments (75)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a volunteer over many decades, the charge of mis-management is justified. Recent changes in personnel have resulted in bad attitudes, especially towards both staff and volunteers. I can’t speak for staff members, but the attitude shown by them is also quite teĺling.

    To have sat on the donated cash, land and house for over 6 years is neglectful at best. I haven’t spent the whole days volunteering recently, due to the bad attitude of the upper level staff. It’s sad to say the least, but I refuse to be talked down to and made to feel unwelcome anymore!

    If/when this poor management issue is addressed, I will happily return to spend many pleasurable hours tending to socializing these poor neglected animals.

    The current scheme implemented by CIG with regards to the feral populations, which is extremely short-sighted, will only serve to make matters far worse for the people and particularly the feral animal populations, who by accidemt of birth only are being treated very poorly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If their adoption policy wasn’t so ridiculous people might actually adopt.

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    • Illegal animal shelters says:

      This is Bs. There are illegal run animal shelters all over the island. locations include prospect and spottsnewslands.

  3. Mr.Love says:

    To everyone protesting this, down playing it or saying anything that is not in favor of the new location. You need to understand that Cats, Dogs, Rabbits, Guinea pigs etc, are here because humans brought them here in one way or an other. You need to understand that these creatures have been bread for one purpose and one purpose only, to be a companion to humans and as a race of beings, we have a responsibility to do what is best for them as a society. I understand that not everything is perfect and never will be. It also does not excuse the world from helping people also, but these animals only have the hope that is provided by people who care and want to see the best situation for a pet that deserves better than to be neglected and left on the street. By all means yell loud about what is happening to people who are hard done by, but do it somewhere else. This is not the place to do that. Mahatma Gandhi — ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Whilst a shelter is desperately needed, the management of the Humane Society is woeful and even the new facility will end up being mis-managed by those who, despite the best will in the world, have no idea how to operate a facility of this magnitude.
    Having been a part of the Humane Society and having raised thousands for them, the waste of resources and ineffective operations have all been in vain.
    Ask why there are so many animal charities on island instead of one – people who originally supported the Humane Society couldn’t stand to see the way it was being run.

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    • Anonymous says:

      10:54 am You said it !! As an animal welfare advocate here for nearly 30 years, I have seen first-hand how the Humane Society has been run into the ground by well-meaning but completely inexperienced volunteers (ie the Boards of Directors). They have XXXX, not audited their books, continue to run up costs and keep and treat way more animals than they can ever adopt out. They have alienated volunteers, donors and staff. And now they think they can fund and operate a new facility. Good god. They couldn’t even figure out how to fix or replace a broken laundry machine and had to plead on social media for volunteers to come to the shelter and take loads of dirty laundry home.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    long term… free… money making solutions:
    ban dog imports.
    ban dog breeding in cayman for 10 years.
    bring in $500 per year dog liscence…anyone found without a liscence to be fined $5k.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Put them next in charge of the East End project.
    And affordable housing

  7. Anonymous says:

    18@5:21pm – so, being in charge of a multi-million project doesn’t involve doing business?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    5 million for cats and dogs, while many families suffer from the artificial increase in grocery prices.
    People skip meals in order to make ends meet. Kids go to school hungry.

    But we have 5 million for a few stinking cats and dogs ?

    Get real !!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Both items need addressing. Not fair to deny one for the other. But yes, let’s help the unfortunate.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    The number of comments about Dart is ridiculous. Who cares? The published story is about the Humane Society’s lofty plans for donated/leased lands in West Bay, by a benefactor who has no clue how poorly the Humane Society does at running its existing facility. Poor dogs. Poor cats. Poor benefactor.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    $5m for a kennel? They’ll be getting a Gulfstream V next so the doggies don’t have to fly to Canada commercial.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    The Humane Society is an honourable organization which has my support. But having dealt with some of the management on a major business matter, I would suggest a change in management.

    The persons I dealt with were all elderly, naive and seemingly “lost” ladies whose hearts are in the right place (bless them) but have NO clue of dealing with business.

    I suspect that is what doomed their deal with Dart. I wish them better luck this time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Animal shelters are not businesses. Your first mistake.

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      • Anonymous says:

        5:21 pm You’re wrong. Any charity needs to know how to properly run its business and remain accountable to its benefactors and members. If you expect benefactors to donate bug bucks to a charity, you better be able to show them a business plan about they are going to spend and manage those funds. Sadly, the Humane Society in Cayman does an extremely poor job at this.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Technically not but in practice most aspects of running it are the same save for the motivation for doing so.

  12. WEST BAYER says:

    So the objection is setting a precedent of commercial activities in a residential area, but nobody is saying anything about Barkers Resort, which BTW is minutes away from the proposed location? Come on. The animals need it. Morne Bones does not.

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  13. Jennie says:

    Fantastic news!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Now if only we could get the other animal charities to join hands with the Humane Society. We could have 1 organisation, with combined fund raising and volunteers, servings animal needs. Instead of competing against each other.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    NIMBYS hate cats and dogs

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well, I do hate your pet wondering into my yard to drop their loads so you don’t have to clean it up on your land.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have a problem with an neighbour, who built a dog pen on the boundary. Have reported it to planning and the upstart told me the person can apply for ATF permission. If I was living there I must inhale dog poo and that fine with planning department.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Build it yesterday, the current location is horrible

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  17. Anonymous says:

    While a purpose built animal shelter is sorely needed in Cayman, the Humane Society itself is not fit for purpose. While they want to save all the dogs and cats, they can’t seem to manage their accounts, they spend a fortune on vet bills on a huge population of sheltered and fostered animals that can’t all possibly find good homes in Cayman. And in the process they have alienated many many volunteers, donors all while running up huge overhead costs including staff.

    Their existing shelter houses way too many animals to be called humane.

    Until they get a handle on their business plan and get their animal numbers down, why on earth should they build an expensive shelter to house more animals than they can find homes for? Why not spend all this money on a huge spay/neuter sweep of Cayman to get numbers down and educate the public.

    Otherwise all the “humane” society is doing is wasting donations that could be out to better use. Or better yet, let one or more of the other more grass roots and qualified animal rescue groups take on the task of properly planning, building and managing a new shelter.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Please CPA- don’t mess around with this and deny it. All you do is allow more and more condos and destruction- at least this is for our furry friends that didn’t choose to be born and neglected! If we get this, they will have a better environment to hopefully get adopted.
    As for the objector, I had to laugh at the concern for too much traffic… gimme a break- every street you turn onto has a new residential complex being built- jus let them be, please!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly and every mile or 2 in West Bay a construction project with USA TAX evasion money is underway so don’t come with silly stupid rejections of not having a properanimal facility being built.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    30 years of donations, stayed right in central GT. Ask yourself why this wasn’t moved a long time ago!

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    • Anonymous says:

      4:53 pm Exactly !! It hasn’t happened yet because the Humane Society isn’t capable of organizing much less managing such a facility. Let the other anima charities do it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      4:53 pm because the Humane Society can’t organize itself to properly fund, plan or develop, much less run a proper facility.

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    • Anonymous says:

      With what money? They barely made enough to keep operating let alone move to a purpose-built facility before this generous donation of land.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thankfully, the trustee has finally forced their hand.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    SO all you Dart lovers…for whatever the reason that deal fell through, it’s highly likely is did so because he didn’t benefit from it. His benevolence is always tied to “something” he wants IMO.
    I hope this new location works out and they consider the needs of the objector.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I hear it was Parkway residents who objected to the location proposed by Dart. NIMBY – blame them!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Since you are seemingly so much in the k ow, why don’t you tell us why the agreement didn’t go forward. Enquiring minds would love to know.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Careful, you might choke on that haterade on this one.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Where are Darts foot paths, dog parks, music venues, and camp grounds? All of it served as one time window dressing to get various CPA development applications through, duty waivers, tax concessions, and deals signed. 20 years of lies and people are still buying in to a philanthropy myth despite the track record of the opposite.

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      • Anonymous says:

        All rejected by the then government. But nice spin attempt.

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        • Anonymous says:

          DART’s many deliverables over decades are only partially executed, temporarily complied with, done in piecemeal, or not delivered at all, simply because no government has itemised these social contracts and held them to account. Ask the former employees. Sounds like you have only been there a few months or you’d know better.

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          • Anonymous says:

            5:32 pm you are dead wrong. It is successive government’s who haven’t allowed Dart to complete those plans, not because government hates Dart, but because successive governments can’t help themselves but try to be heroes by undoing what governments before them did. No one wins. Not Dart’s fault. Nice try at a spin though.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Try reading the agreements. And see how the government consistently didn’t meet their end. Resulting in renegotiation of the concessions. But sure, Hugo ahead believing it’s all down to the evil Dart and nothing to do with the ineffectual or backsliding government.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What a pile of nonsense. Miss Ardyth passed away, leaving them the land, in Trust (which is close to 40 acres), and the money well before they had any real discussions with Dart. It’s all very well documented and in fact contested to an extent by some of Miss Ardyth’s relatives.

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    • Anonymous says:

      4:12 I feel sorry for Ms Ardyth’s family and trust. I wish she could have entrusted a better organized and more properly managed animal welfare group than the Humane Society

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Please let this happen, Long overdue. If you have a heart please lend your support to this.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get it done!

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Why did the partnership with Dart fall thru? I thought the Dart organization was all for things Cayman.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Better question, why didn’t they use the 40 acres they have had available to them since Miss Ardyth passed in 2016 in the first instance?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Same reason the rugby got binned… he’s clawed the land back as he realised it was worth more money as his strangle hold of land in the SMB corridor increases!

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      • Anonymous says:

        That is completely not true what you are saying about the rugby pitch. Dart was willing to donate the land on a free “peppercorn” lease (land that is worth a few million dollars). But the rugby club wanted much more than free land use, and there was only so much more additional that Dart was willing to contribute to the development of a new club.

        The cost to build a new club was much more that the rugby club was willing to incur, even if Dart was willing to additionally pay for some of the infrastructure costs (such as sewage, utility connections etc).

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        • Anonymous says:

          Mr Dart is so good to you Caymanians but all you do is want more and more. Stick to your guns Mr. Dart!

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        • Anonymous says:

          so Dart wasn’t making the Rugby club build a Camana Bay style facility when all it really needed was a modern cut and paste of SS. Which they no doubt wanted final say/control over.

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          • Anonymous says:

            That is correct, they were not. The rugby club, or at least some of its members were trying to build a gold plated facility which they neither needed or could afford.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hardly out of the kindness of Dart’s heart given the Rugby Club would bring huge footfall through CB. Also not sure why anyone would expect the Rugby club to build and pay for a facility on rented land unless leased in perpetuity.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I hope this was sarcasm. The same reason why the waste to energy facility has been stalled, because no project will go through unless it benefits those involved.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not enough pedigree animals in the shelter, therefore Dart’s target customers wouldn’t come visit just to see local mutts.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because the land is worth more as condos / offices and Dart are so entrenched with the CIG and those in power these days that they no longer need the good publicity nor do they feel the need to do something good.

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