Press Release 20 February 2009
SAGA Humane Society Issues Urgent Warning to Pet Owners
SAGA Humane Society has been formally notified that the Town Council and Health Inspector intend a dog ‘eradication’ within the next three weeks. The Town Council are obliged by law to give sufficient and adequate notification to the public but no date has been announced by them at this time.
SAGA Humane Society acknowledges that there are a number of dogs that have been allowed by their owners to become diseased, dangerous or a nuisance to their community and that this has to be dealt with in an effective manner. SAGA Humane Society do not believe that poisoning is effective and, for the next few weeks, will be picking up obviously uncared for dogs assessing their health and humanely euthanizing them when necessary.
For those who are unaware, dog eradication involves laying strychnine poison bait for dogs. There are several reasons why SAGA opposes this form of population control and they are as follows:
1. Strychnine poisoning causes a long and very painful death for animals affected. It does not discriminate between pets and strays. Any dog could be poisoned.
2. Allowing poison bait to be laid around puts pets, wildlife and children at risk. Should the poison enter the food chain, protected species could easily be killed.
3. Poisoning dogs is actually illegal and considered a form of cruelty in many other countries. The World Health Organisation opposes the use of strychnine poison as a method of domestic animal control and that is a good indication that the Town Council is not up to date with current and acceptable approaches to dealing with stray dogs.
4. Poisoning dogs is a very temporary solution. As long as there is food available, and there is because of the persistence of businesses and households in not disposing of their garbage properly, the population will return to current levels within 18 months.
5. The cause of the problem is irresponsible dog ownership. Individuals who allow their dogs to wander the streets unsupervised, who don’t neuter their animals and allow them to breed rampantly and those that abandon their dogs to the streets are the absolute causes of the stray dog nuisance problem.
6. It has been well established that education and neutering are the only long term solutions to dog overpopulation.
Ambergris Caye is a small island and these problems could be easily managed if the Town Council worked closely with SAGA Humane Society, without resorting to the cruel and dangerous method of strychnine poisoning. San Pedro Town Council could become forward thinking and progressive and instead of poisoning animals on an island long considered to be an ‘eco’ tourism destination. They could become a model of good practice.
Our community is already struggling with the current world economic problems. Most of our tourists come from countries where dog poisoning is considered barbaric and is, in fact, illegal. Every time San Pedro Town Council undertakes dog poisoning, there is an international outcry. The last thing San Pedro needs is further bad publicity.
If you would like to report a stray dog who is un-neutered, sick, aggressive, or a nuisance, please contact SAGA Humane Society at 226 3266.