Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba, is celebrating that it has subsidized the spay and neutering of 30,000 cats and dogs with their foundation, Fundashon Stimami Sterilisami. Founded by the resort’s owner/CEO, Ewald Biemans, the collaborative community initiative has helped Aruba reimagine the role of animal services.
At just 20 miles long and six miles wide, Aruba had a pet overpopulation problem. Considering a single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just seven years and a single pair of dogs and their puppies can produce as many as 67,000 puppies in just six years, Bucuti & Tara took action. With more local dogs and cats than Aruba could compassionately care for, in early 2016, Bucuti & Tara founded Fundashon Stimami Sterilisami, local Papiamento language for Love Me, Sterilize Me. The goal has always been to provide a humane solution for pet overpopulation in tiny Aruba. The alternative was dire, with unwanted pets living in the streets or sent to be euthanized.
Beyond helping to curb pet overpopulation, spay and neutering can help reduce risks. It reduces marking and spraying along with aggressive behaviors. Sterilization helps decrease roaming, which leads to getting hit by cars. Studies show it decreases the risk of certain cancers in dogs and cats. It also helps the island’s infrastructure by reducing the need for animal control.
The Stimami Sterilisami program is simple for people or island shelters to register local dogs or cats. There is a low-cost fee with a sliding scale for Arubans needing subsidized procedures for animals in their care. Locals or shelters register online. They receive a notification for their pet(s) for the spay or neutering procedure, which also includes microchipping at a local veterinarian clinic.
Support for Stimami Sterilisami has grown over the years much to the resort’s delight. Today, the program is supported by Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba Tourism Authority, Tourism Product Enhancement Fund (TPEF), Aruba Bank, Setar N.V., Ewald Biemans, Bucuti & Tara guests, local residents, and the One Love Foundation.
In 2022, Ellen Sirianni and Berkley Cameron with the One Love Foundation helped Stimami Sterilisami with a special agreement with VSH Veterinary Specialty Hospital to further lower the costs of each procedure. Soon to come, the Animal Welfare Alliance Aruba is creating a spay and neuter clinic to focus on the catch and release population of local dogs and cats. This will free up funds so Stimami Sterilisami can direct even more efforts to the general population.
Keeping families together
While the program’s goal is centered on safely addressing pet overpopulation, the pandemic presented a new issue. During COVID-19, as borders quickly closed for the heavily tourism-dependent Aruba, some pet owners were financially stressed with trying to care for themselves and their families including furry companions. Breeding pets could quickly add to the stress on limited resources. With Stimami Sterilisami, pets could stay with their families and not risk being surrendered.
“Stimami Sterilisami is a compassionate approach to curbing the pet overpopulation issue in Aruba and we will continue to work hard to mitigate the suffering of abandoned pets,” shares founder, Ewald Biemans, Owner/CEO of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba. “This animal welfare program is a success thanks to the commitment from every supporter, veterinarian partner, and local participant. We are proud to support an initiative that helps everyone either directly or indirectly within our special Aruba community. ”