Potcakes: Dog Ownership in New Providence, The Bahamas

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Purdue University Press


Although The Bahamas is not alone, either in the Caribbean, or elsewhere in having a pet over-population problem, however this publication appears to be the first to provide a systematic study of dog ownership in a Caribbean society. The dog population in The Bahamas consists mainly of mongrels, called "potcakes" a term unique to the greater Bahama archipelago. The fact that Bahamians have lived with potcakes so long has given them an accepted place in society, and they are considered part of the country's heritage. The word "potcake" as entered common usage and has evolved to have associations beyond that with dogs. The Bahamian perceptions of "pet" and "responsible pet ownership" are discussed to allow surveys of perceptions of residents towards dogs and attitudes towards the sterilization of pets to be understood in context. Dog bite data are examined over the last decade and considered in the light of the ever-increasing number of "image" dogs such as rottweilers, German shepherds and pit bulls which are seen at veterinary clinics and interact with the potcake population.. The final chapter draws the threads together from previous sections to show how all members of society, dog owners, non-dog owners and the authorities, need to work together in order for the dog population to be controlled and dog welfare enhanced.