Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Charitable Donation Tax Credit

Would you like to help Cubans help their animals and get a tax deduction at the same time?
Spanky Project and Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund (MAC PAPS)
can make that happen for you.

Donations by cheque or money order should be sent to ...

Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund
Attention - Sharon Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace
Bolton, ONL7E 1S4

MAC PAPS is a Canadian charitable organization.
Their registration and details can be found here
Canadian Registered Charities -Detail Page
 (Revenue Canada Charitable registration#88876 9197RR0001)

Make your cheque payable to the "Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund" and please write "Spanky Project" on the memo line.

If you file tax returns in the USA you can give to our partners
Animal Balance.
You can designate your donation to our TNR programs.

Should you care not for a tax deduction there is always PayPal.

Monday, December 24, 2012

TNR - Act I

On October 12th, we headed back to Havana.

This trip would feature Cuba's first massive
Trap - Neuter - Return
of cats.

Firstly, I would like to thank  ...
Their donation of 24 humane traps was a huge contribution to this pilot program.
 Air Transat 
for shipping the traps, free of charge, to Varadero.
Ingrid Bonamusa Medina
Ingrid lives in Cardenas, Cuba and is very active in animal welfare work with APAC-Varadero.
She retrieved the traps from the airport and delivered them to Havana.

Actually, this trip was three years in the making.
In July of 2009 Emma Clifford, founder and director of Animal Balance,
 sent me an exploratory email.
She was looking for ways in which her amazing group could assist our work in Cuba.
In September of 2011 Emma and I discussed how the stray dog population of Habana Vieja had been reduced significantly. To the point where colonies of cats were making themselves known.
The gestation period for project development is not short.
Despite all the logistically and bureaucratic struggles, in October 2012,
 Cuba's first TNR program was born.

The Players
Emma & Dairne

Emma Clifford
Emma holds a degree in Sociology with an emphasis in research from The University of Central England.  She moved to San Francisco in 1994 and for 12 years worked for animal protection gaining experience in the local, national and international levels. She managed and expanded the SF/SPCA Feral Cat program, working closely with The SF Animal Control facility to reduce the number of animals euthanized via community based volunteer programs and helped pave the way for similar programs across the US.

In 2002 she found out that the cats and dogs of the Galapagos Islands were being poisoned. She founded Animal Balance in 2003 to address the problem directly and humanely. Since 2003 AB has expanded to help islands globally. Emma speaks at conferences around the world helping other countries to start high volume MASH clinics and gives advice on humane animal management strategies.

Emma became vegan when a teenager, she worked to stop fox hunting and other cruel practices in the UK and continues to press for animal rights in the US and abroad. She is owned by her four dogs Isabela, Merlin, Zak and Sage and two cats Ra and Mac; but often has more beings in her care.

Dairne Ryan
Emma enlisted the expertise of a long time friend from the "TNR World"
Dairne was born in Seattle, Washington  She lived in Mexico City as a child, speaks Spanish fluently, and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area throughout her adult life.  She is a health care account executive, working primarily with California public schools.  She is on the board of two humane organizations that provide high-volume spay-neuter clinics and promote spay-neuter as the method for humanely reducing overpopulation of dogs and cats.  
She has worked with Fix Our Ferals in the San Francisco East Bay for over 13 years, holding free high-volume spay-neuter clinics for feral and neighborhood cats.  Fix Our Ferals has now opened its own spay-neuter center with a goal of doing 5,000 sterilizations in the first year.   Dairne has participated in numerous Animal Balance spay-neuter campaigns and humane education programs in the Galapagos Islands and the Dominican Republic.

  Tony "El Tigre"
Our TNR mascot and demonstration model.

A lot of preproduction went into this program.
I will touch upon that in future posts.

For now ...
Welcome to our first TNR orientation for colony keepers.
Held at Quinta de Los Molinos, the areas of municipalities of 
Plaza,Vedado and Centro were represented.
Emma, with Dairne translating, presented the TNR program
After the benefits of TNR were outlined it was down to demonstrating trapping.

Tony played his role to the max as a captured cat.
As you can see, our colony keepers felt for him.
After orientation we visited the colonies.
At 5:30 pm --every day-- forty cats congregate at the entrance of this building located in the Plaza district.

They wait for Ada and their daily feeding.
Ada exits the building and walks them to the back of the property.
We soon discovered some of these colony cats could be caught by trusted hands.

Given that we only had 24 traps, this helped.
We hope to have more traps delivered to Cuba for our future TNRs.
But more traps mean nothing if you do not have community support.
Ada has that!

Another colony stop was to the one time home of the acclaimed 
Cuban poet  Dulce Maria Loynaz.
Although in a state of neglect, this is home to several families and many cats.
Our nocturnal colony tour ended near the Hotel Riviera.
I have to wonder whether Emma and Dairne were still looking for cats.
 This was a two week trip.
Our first week was preparation and orientation. 
Our second saw the arrival of the rest of our international cast.

Please check back.