Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In May, I was fortunate enough to be invited to and attend TWO international animal welfare conferences in the United States.

The first was hosted by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in Boston, Massachusetts from May 8-9. In attendance were select delegates from Bahrain, India, Mexico, Columbia, Africa, Brazil, and Saipan.

The second, Animal Expo 2008, was hosted by the United States Humane Society in Orlando, Florida from May 14-17. In attendance were numerous delegates from India, Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chile, Italy, Belize, Peru, Kuwait, China, Australia, and Saipan, just to name a few.

Both conferences exposed me to amazing people doing amazing things for animals throughout the world. This was inspiring, and perhaps much needed to re-energize our efforts here at home.

The conferences were an opportunity for experts and donors to share advice, knowledge and experience on animal care/welfare issues. So, in order to better serve our community and animals, I attended numerous workshops, including but not limited to: (1) how to recognize and combat compassion fatigue; (2) how to lobby for anti-cruelty legislation; (3) how to count and recognize cruelty cases in our community; and perhaps most importantly to our success, (4) effective methods of animal control. Copies of the presentations, and more, are available for your review per your request. I invite all of you to review these materials and to educate yourself about the importance and possibility of helping Saipan’s animals and/or our community.

In addition to attending numerous workshops, I want you to know that I did my best to draw attention to our situation here in Saipan. I spoke to representatives from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), WSPS, United States Humane Society (USHS), Humane Society International (HIS), the American Humane Association (AHA), the Pegasus Foundation, Maddie’s Fund, the Petco Foundation, and many more. I also made a point of talking directly to Wayne Pacelle, the President of the Humane Society and an internationally well-respected humanitarian.

What was the result? A renewed feeling of hope. I firmly believe that if we follow-up on the networking that was accomplished at these conferences, that change may be on the horizon for our animals and communities. But, PAWS and Beautify CNMI! desperately need your help in order to make these changes possible.

We need volunteers. We need people who love animals to help us foster homeless animals. We need people who are interested in honing professional skills to write letters and/or lobby on behalf of Saipan’s animals. We need people to go into schools and give 30-minute presentations to children about the importance of responsible pet ownership, compassion, and understanding animal behavior.

We don’t want all of your time. Just what you can give. And, if these tasks scare you, or you think you don’t know enough to jump in and help – not to worry!!! We are more than happy to either train in what we know or look for answers together.

If there is one base-line lesson that I learned by attending these conferences it is this – if people living in the deserts of Peru and Kuwait or the bush of Africa can muster up the strength and resources to combat animal control and cruelty, then we can do it too and we have little excuse not to.

Katie Busenkell
PAWS President ( or
Chair of Beautify CNMI! Animal Welfare Committee

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