Improving lives of strays in KB
BELAIT members of the local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Care and Action for Strays (CAS) believe that their “Trap, Neuter and Return” (TNR) method used in the rescue of stray animals is the only proven way to have a long-lasting impact on its populations in Brunei.
CAS member Grace Chen said this while speaking to The Brunei Times during a weekend garage sale organised at Hero Pet Mart in Pandan 5, Kuala Belait.
It was the second such event in Belait aimed to raise funds for the organisation’s work in the rescue, treatment, sterilisation and care of stray cats and dogs in the district.
“It’s a method that a lot of organisations have used, not just in Brunei but in Miri with the shelter there… a lot of the animals rescued cannot be rehomed and we don’t have the capacity to keep all of them,” said Chen who explained that the “return” step is interchangeably used with “rehome”, to reflect CAS’s attempts of finding people to adopt rescued animals.
“TNR is the single most efficient way to reduce stray populations in any place where strays are a huge problem... and a country where the population is very small and there aren’t enough people to adopt,” she said, adding that an informed source stated that TNR efforts in Miri have seen a visible impact on stray sightings over recent years.
She noted that many strays rescued, especially older ones, were difficult to rehome due to their already feral nature.
These animals usually face difficulties in adapting to a new family and are, therefore, returned to their originating areas.
She stressed that although strays might be considered a nuisance to locals around the area, the most important step in the process is neutering, which ensures that the animals do not reproduce and prolong the cycle of straying.
“Even if you have a pet that you keep at home and don’t neuter, they may escape. It takes that one time for your pet to become part of the stray problem,” said Chen.
Another CAS member Allysa Koh said that while support and donations from the public appeared to have been more forthcoming – compared to the first event several months ago – the true message of their work still needed further dissemination.
“What we see is people coming to buy a lot of things but we need to get the message out that we are managing strays in Brunei… We will have a post-mortem (after the garage sale) for improvements in the future to make sure that we have better signage and labellings,” said Koh, who shared that they signed up about ten new local and expatriate members interested in CAS activities.
New members Wong Kah Hsung and Tew Chann Yen – both brought in by mutual friend Nicholas Lee – said that their involvement with CAS was due to theirlove for animals and admiration for the work that the organisation was doing for strays.
“They are trying to do anything to help strays to find new owners… I find it quite meaningful despite only helping out for several hours,” said Wong.
“I never knew Brunei had strays as I had never seen one… When I started following the activities, it changed my mindset.” Tew said.
“Before, I saw them in Miri and I didn’t have the courage to help,” Tew added.
The Brunei Times