Tessa Gunter, until recently director of the Humane Society, passed away a few years ago after almost 40 years dedicated to the Humane Society, the Animal Shelter, and animal welfare in the BVI. Please click here for a page dedicated to her life story and pictures.
Vijay Bissoondutt continues her legacy and tirelessly dedicates his time to helping the animals and general running of the shelter.
The Humane Society of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) was established in 1975 with the following aims and objectives, as per the original constitution:
• To promote the welfare of all animals in the Territory of the British Virgin Islands; • To ensure kindness and consideration in the handling of all livestock and domestic pets; • The preservation of wildlife in the Territory; • To prevent or suppress cruelty in any form.
This non-governmental organization was created by members of the BVI community and was officially opened in December 1975 to provide for the welfare of animals of all kinds and to serve the public of the BVI by providing care of strays and unwanted animals while trying to find good homes for them.
The Humane Society is supported in its work by a membership of individuals and corporate members, whose annual membership fees provided financial assistance to daily operations.
The first animal shelter was located in a house on Pasea Estate, near the original TICO store. There was a yard for stray dogs, a number of kennels with runs for boarding dogs, cat cages and a small clinic for veterinary care. The animal shelter relocated 10 years later, in December 1985, as larger facilities were urgently required in order to continue caring for the increasing stray dog and cat population of the BVI.
A piece of land at Johnson’s Ghut was generously provided by Mr. A.O. Shirley, with a monthly rental fee negotiated. At this location the animal shelter was able to construct a purpose built facility with larger boarding kennels, veterinary clinic, multiple yards for dogs and the ability to care for animals other than cats and dogs.
Last year, the shelter after many years of fundraising, the shelter purchased a piece of land in Josiah's Bay. The shelter will begin building a brand new shelter this year which will provide an amazing new facilities for the animals of the BVI!