Estimates of the stray dog population on Providenciales, the largest island of the Turks and Caicos chain, range up to 2000 stray dogs. Past governmental responses to the wild dogs have included shooting and poisoning them. A 2001 government proposal would have introduced canine distemper to the islands as a method to reduce the population.
The Pegasus Foundation, established in 1997, is a private independent foundation committed to protection of the earth and all living creatures. The Foundation believes that all forms of life warrant compassion and respect and that human beings must strive to make the world a more humane place for all living things.
The Pegasus Foundation responded by funding an assessment in Providenciales of how best to resolve the situation. The assessment, conducted by Wildlife Veterinary Resources (WVR) and the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, resulted in a proposal to fund a more humane response. With a plan in hand, the government were convinced to help fund the humane approach.
In late 2001, WVR implemented the first phase of the Wild Dog Project with field assistance from the Humane Society International. In one month, 370 free-ranging dogs were captured. Seventy dogs with collars (indicating they were owned) were transported to local veterinarians for spaying or neutering. The remaining 300 dogs without collars were humanely euthanized within moments of their capture. Community education and outreach led to an additional 113 dogs brought in for sterilization.
WVR educated the community about the need to spay and neuter animals through presentations at schools and civic club meetings, and through media interviews with radio stations and newspapers.
Pegasus Foundation 2001 Annual Report
Unfortunately, in the last 5 years, funding stopped and potcakes bred. Until the programs keep up again, the pups need to be taken out of the wild to prevent them growing up and continuing the cycle. Potcake Place aims to find forever homes for these pups in the US, Canada and the Turks and Caicos.