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PROJECT POTCAKE
 
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WHAT IS PROJECT POTCAKE?
 
Project Potcake is a highly successful spay/neuter/return program which began on the island of Abaco, in The Bahamas, in 1999. The program’s goal -- to quickly, efficiently and humanely reduce the number and therefore the suffering of the islands free-roaming and indigenous local dogs, known in The Bahamas as Potcakes - gained community-wide support and reduced the reproductive canine population by as much as 75 percent over a four years period.
 
In April of 2002, at The Island Nations Conference (sponsored by The Humane Society International and The Pegasus Foundation) during the Humane Society’s Annual Expo, Project Potcake was recognized as being the springboard for an ever-growing number of grass roots programs on islands with serious companion animal over population problems throughout the world.
 
Ironically, Project Potcake was born from the seeds of despair shared by people on Abaco who felt overwhelmed by the number of starving, parasite-infested, cringing, cowering and dying dogs who eked out a short, sorry existence for themselves on the streets and in the bush of one of the friendliest and most idyllic islands in The Bahamas.
 
The concept for the program came about by asking, “What would we have to do to make this stop?”
 
Forming a working partnership with Abaco Animals Require Friends (AARF), the folks at FlexPetz.com, and the islands veterinarians, SNIP’s founders proposed a unique program that provided absolutely free sterilization of any companion animal for whom residents agreed to assume temporary responsibility. Project Potcake canvassers went door-to-door and street-to-street, in the third largest city in The Bahamas, explaining that a simple surgical procedure would stop the constant birth cycle of free-roaming community dogs. The most common response noted in the early days of the program was incredulity that anyone would bother spend time or money on an island full of “pariah” street dogs. Canvassers assumed all responsibility for catching, transporting and returning each dog after surgery. But this wasn’t enough to secure cooperation from most residents who looked at the animals and only saw unsightly street dog covered with mange and loaded with fleas. What worked on Abaco, what made the initial difference between apathy and support, was the offer of a nominal cash incentive, paid initially for every dog enrolled in the spay/neuter/return program.
 
Project Potcake Clinic Surgery That first prototype clinic last four days and sterilized 180 dogs. At the time it was the largest spay neuter clinic ever held in The Bahamas or the Caribbean.
 
Three years into the program, the obvious benefits and effectiveness of Project Potcake made cash incentives obsolete...
 
Since 1999, and thanks to the commitment of organizers, a groundswell of support from Abaconians and non-resident volunteers as well as partial funding from U.S. and international animal welfare organizations, Project Potcake has sterilized more than 1,300 animals -- primarily female Potcakes on Abaco.
 
For the first time since it became a problem the mid 1800s, Abaco’s Potcake population not only is decreasing but also is amazingly… reassuringly…finally under control.
 
What is a Potcake? To find out more click here.
 

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