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Reeder, Animal Abuse and Neglect 1

Keyla Reeder


Social Work & Development

Professional Society Practice

Lecturer: Mrs. Nicole Hart

Assignment: Interview skills and reflection paper

May 12th, 2017

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For the topic of animal abuse and animal neglect on Aruba, I have decided to approach several
organizations and active volunteers who have the experience and knowledge working from up close with
neglected and abused animals. In a public post on the facebook page Animal Lovers Aruba, I was
informed prior to my interviews that there is no data or statistics available regarding the count of animal
abuse and neglect cases or how many animals are being killed every year in the kill cage due to
irresponsible owners, over-pet population, animal neglect and abuse and lack of awareness regarding the
kill cage.
In March of 2017 I have started to raise more awareness on my own on social media regarding
animal abuse and neglect. After a visit at the infamous kill cage, which is officially named the Veterinaire
Dients Aruba, located next to the animal shelter I have confirmed how significant and severe this social
problem is. It is estimated that per year about nine hundred to one million animals (cats and dogs) are killed
every year in the kill cage, which is subsidized by the government. According to an interview with Mrs.
Arends in the year 2015 an average of 6214 animals were killed through vaccination in the kill cage
(Personal communication, 2017).
Through the following interviews I will be able to determine if there are other solutions and
possibilities to reduce this emerging problem and introduce more programs such as the Stimami
Steralisami campaign, animal adoption months and pet therapy in elderly homes, mental health clinics or
correctional facilities.
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Consent form

"I _________________________________________hereby give my permission for Keyla Reeder (student of

the University of Aruba, Social Work and Development) to interview me and quote my responses in a
scholarly research paper/ assignment on the subject of animal abuse and neglect on Aruba. I understand that
this paper will be submitted to a lecturer at the University of Aruba. I understand that the author [will / will not]
maintain my anonymity as a part of this interview. I hereby give my permission in the form of my signature below."

Signature______________________ Date___________________________
Keyla Reeder, Animal Abuse and Neglect 4

Name interviewee: Mrs. Yesenia Arends

Background/relevant information of interviewee: 15 years of experience as an assistant at Veterinarian
Clinic Aruba and active volunteer in all animal rescue groups in Aruba.
Interview type: Questionnaire/ electronic interview (due to unavailability to meet).
Interview date: May 6th, 2017

1. How many animals (average) are abused/neglected per year on Aruba?
Y: There isnt a concrete answer for this question. The reason therefor is because there isnt an
organization or place where you could call to report animal abuse or neglect cases. Whenever people call
the police stations to report a case of neglect or abuse, a significant majority of the time the response is
always that they do not have the time to deal with that situation or that they have higher priorities other than
that one.

2. Could you share if most of the cases of animal neglect/abuse are reported? Why yes/no?
Y: I think that the cases that do get reported (which are not much) are often repeated cases and at least 1%
of the animal abuse or neglect cases are really reported mostly at the police stations.

3. Could you describe what are the negative effects of stray pets on the streets?
Y: A stray is a dog or cat that doesn't have a home whereas a 'pet' does have a home, what exactly did you
mean with this question? I will answer what I think applies to this question: 1. If they are not vaccinated they
can easily transport diseases/ticks and fleas and what not to others and that is the reason why diseases
spread so easily across the whole island. 2. They can cause unnecessary accidents 3. They are a bad
example of how Aruba or it's community treats it's 'pets' and 'strays' when it comes to tourism. 4. They
cause a lot of molestation to those who DO treat their pets right.

4. How many organizations are currently working in the area of pets on Aruba?
Y: There are more organizations you can think of working on not only dogs and cats bit also trying to
protect other animals as well, for example Fundacion Turtuga Aruba and Fundacion Salba nos Burico, just
to name two. These are currently the ACTIVE foundations working with strays, mostly dogs, some cats and
dogs: Animal Rights Aruba, Fundacion Cas Animal Sanctuary Aruba, Aruba Animal Shelter, Animal Relief
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Foundation, Sgt. Pepper's Friends, Nisi Canis Heart of Gold with a sub group Flame of Hope or aka Crijojo
Trapper Aruba, New Life for Paws Foundation, and the newest group of young people called Youth Animal
Heroes Aruba. I hope I didn't forget any. There are two rescue groups that are inactive and they are Aruba
Kitten Rescue Foundation and Aruba Animal Rescue Foundation.

5. What are the biggest challenges that organizations face regarding over pet population and animal
Y: It being plural, the BIGGEST challenge is funds. They all run on donations. The other challenge is
volunteers, there are only a handful of people doing volunteer work and not enough fosters to help out.

6. Would you personally agree that pet therapy in mental health facilities ex: PAAZ, elderly homes
or correctional facilities is a possible solution for pets that have been rescued and can't find a
foster home?
Y: As much as I agree I disagree. Pets are great therapy for people with a mental breakdown in any way,
however, just as they are not 'stable', they should be allowed to have/care for pets under CLOSE
supervision of an animal care-taker with experience and this isn't always possible.

7. What are animal rescue organizations, the government and people in general doing to lower the
over-pet population of stray animals?
Y: Number 1 SHOULD be 'Education' but is not because no one has the time or willingness to invest in it.
Number 2. is in place: Spay & Neuter. Unfortunately the Stimami Sterilisami campaign is no longer open for
the public, it laster a year and it was a plan I designed to last 5 years or more, unfortunately there is not
enough funds to keep it going. I can't thank Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort enough for making it real. We
already had two MASH campaigns, one in May of 2016 and one last week, where they spay & neuter about
400 animals in one week, mostly strays. With education goes awareness, which is being done as we speak
by most foundations, just not enough due to lack of funds and time.

8. Did the use of social media and online reporting of animal abuse/neglect better or worsen the
Y: It is improving in the way of people are more conscious now of what is actually happening, but it has also
taken a toll on the number of animals that end up in the kill cage, when we expected this to decrease it
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increased instead because people are more aware now of laws in place and afraid they get caught with
animal abuse and therefor 'get rid' of the animals.

9. Are there any other information that you could share in regards to animal abuse and neglect on
the island?
Y: I can go on and on with stories and possible solutions to problems but as long as we don't change our
community's mentality towards pets, all these efforts will be in vain. We need people to know that rescuing
animals take time, money and patience and spaying and neutering! Because getting 6 kittens out of the kill
cage for pity so they don't get killed there and letting them free without spaying or neutering them is
'dweilen met de kraan open!'. So goes for dogs and puppies people put on Vraag&Aanbod on adaily basis.
"When you lay down food & water for any stray, you are ASSUMING responsibility of this animal and
should get him or her fixed, because when they start breeding on you, it's not the foundation's fault, neither
should they be held responsible to take care of this situation when YOU created it in the first place!"
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Name interviewee: Mrs. Anouk Raaphorst

Background/relevant information of interviewee: Volunteer for various animal organizations on Aruba
and animal activist on the facebook page Animal Abuse Aruba.
Interview type: Open interview (personal communication)
Interview date: May 12th, 2017

Mrs. Anouk Raaphorst is an active animal activist for many years with a broad experience in
rescuing animals. In the last years, Mrs. Anouk realized that despite the efforts of many organizations to
help save the homeless animals on the street or those being abused (including those left in the kill cage),
the problem was still escalating more. Mrs. Anouk started with the facebook page Animal Abuse Aruba
which included the movement of raising awareness, making the social problem in peoples faces, and
sustain other organizations in helping to stop the over-pet population and animal abuse taking place every

day on Aruba.

According to Mrs. Anouk, there is no factual data available from veterinarians, organizations or
agencies regarding the costs of animals and the over-pet population.
During the interview with Mrs. Anouk, I was showed a graph that she had made herself with an estimate of
costs and figures including how many animals breed per year at least, how much is the cost of a rescued
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dog or cat, how much money is on average being donated, how many animals are being killed at the kill
cage yearly, and how many people are working with the at least 6 organizations regarding animal rescue.

The figures were shocking and significant in efforts to help portrait the social issue at hand. One of
the initial ideas that I had was to introduce the concept of pet therapy from a social work point of view.
When asking Mrs. Anouk about this option as a solution, she agreed but added that much more is to be
done. A few of the recommendations that she proposed were to subsidize more sterilization, spaying and
neutering campaigns, educate children and schools about the importance and responsibility of having
animals as pets, have law enforcement more involved including punishable laws or fines and finally to have
a pet tax. Because social media is very active in the last months with posts and graphic photos of animals
being killed or abused, the problem of animal abuse and neglect is at a boiling point. According to Mrs.
Anouk, a few of the factors that play a role is the temperature that we live in on Aruba. Because in other
countries there are times of the year in which it is colder outside, pets are allowed to live in side. Whereas
in Aruba it is accustomed that pets are left outside in the sun, win little to no shade and on a very small
Another interesting factor is that people do not see having cats or dogs as a part of the family or a
living being but rather as a material or accessory, which makes them less interested or motivated in
spaying or neutering their pets or giving them a proper home with suitable living conditions. In the following
attachments are the graphs provided by Mrs. Anouk with an estimate of the situation at large regarding
animal abuse and neglect on Aruba. These numbers are not concrete or factual but rather estimated in
efforts to get an idea how big the problem is. This interview gave me another perspective of how significant
this problem is for both animal as well as human life and how by advocating this problem can soon be
reduced on micro and macro level.
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