Saipan Cares for Animals, the animal welfare group on Saipan, is celebrating its one year of existence on June 3, 2016. In the past year, the non-profit group has made its mission to improve the lives of animals on Saipan through medication, sterilization, and socialization.
“The group began one year ago when Humane Society International, working with an organization called Animal Balance, came to Saipan for the island’s first ever spay/neuter clinic,” said Beth Pliscou, president of Saipan Cares for Animals. “We had so many volunteers that showed up to help that when the organizations left, we knew we had to keep the momentum going, so we created Saipan Cares for Animals. In the two weeks the organizations were here we spayed and neutered 387 dogs. We’ve held two other smaller spay/neuter clinics since they left, and to date in the last year we have sterilized close to 700 cats and dogs on Saipan. Spaying and neutering is a humane way to control the pet population, because for each animal that is sterilized, they can no longer have babies and we hope to reduce the overrun dog and cat population through sterilization.”
“Another one of our main goals is adoption,” added Nicole Essa, vice president of SCA. “In the past year, we’ve adopted out over 300 dogs and cats to loving families. Animals that most likely would have been put down now have a second chance at a great life, and to see the smiles on the faces of families when they leave the shelter with their new pets is simply priceless.”
The group has had over 150 volunteers join their efforts at one point or another. School groups have come to the shelter to walk dogs, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and Red Cross volunteers during Typhoon Soudelor acted as “foster parents,” caring for animals on short five or seven day “vacations” to get them out of the shelter facilities for a break. Even tourists have stopped in on their vacations to spend a day with the animals!
“We owe a huge thank you to the community,” said Jason Hudy from Saipan Cares. “Over the past year, we’ve lost count of the number of people who have donated food, toys, money, and more to our efforts. Businesses in the community have also donated to our efforts, whether its Bridge Capital or Atkins-Kroll Toyota giving us monetary donations, Kanoa Resort and Mariana Resort & Spa providing hotel rooms for visiting animal care specialists, Best Sunshine International, Ltd. donating manpower to help with improvements at the shelter, we couldn’t do what we do without the support of the community. And a big shout-out to PAWS, the former animal welfare group on Saipan who helped us transfer the non-profit license to us so we can do what we do.”
“We also couldn’t do what we do without the support of the Saipan Mayor’s Office,” added Essa. “Spencer [Mercadesh] and his team of ACO’s, and SCA have formed a great working relationship, supporting each other to help the animals.”
And the team at Saipan Cares for Animals looks for even more improvements in the coming year.
“Not everything has been perfect,” said Pliscou. “We’ve had our share of difficulties with the typhoon, our main shelter closing, and learning how to support an organization like this. But through it all we’ve been able to have a tremendous impact and growth in one year. In the next year, we look forward to opening our own Saipan Cares for Animals Community Clinic, where we will offer basic, low-care animal services and medication to the public. We look forward to continuing to work with the Saipan Mayor’s Office to socialize the homeless animals at the shelter and adopt them to wonderful people. And at some point we hope to have a long-term solution to the spay/neuter problem, one that will benefit the animals of Saipan for years to come.
To learn more, you can visit the group’s website at www.SaipanCaresforAnimals.com. You can also like their Facebook page, Saipan Cares for Animals. To learn more about adopting, fostering, or volunteering, please call or email Pliscou at 989-7601 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Essa at 788-3000 or email@example.com, or Hudy at 789-9464 or jason@Jasonhudy.com.