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#418723 - 10/14/11 08:38 AM Saga Averts Town Dog Poisoning
Marty Offline
Saga Humane Society quickly went to action after hearing word on the street of a planned dog eradication (poisoning) program. There are outraged residents who object to this type of stray dog eradication. Saga’s quick action and meeting with Mayor Paz averted the dog poisoning to take place and is now working hand in hand with the Town Council to tackle the problem.

Everyone knows that dog eradication (poisoning) is mostly carried out by the San Pedro Town Council and many have agreed that it is done in an inhumane way. Stray dogs have been a problem on Ambergris Caye for many years and in the past the San Pedro Town Council has carried dog eradication with the permission granted by the Ministry of Health.

There have been many reasons why this program takes place, mainly due to the nuisances to the community from overturned garbage receptacles with time and money being spent for the cleanup. Stray dogs are also known for biting and attacking tourists and children on their way to school.
Dog eradications always cause a stir of emotions within the community as some agree with the poisoning, while pet advocates believe it is an inhumane way of dealing with the problem. The stray dogs are given a piece of raw or cooked meat with poison (strychnine – a highly toxic pesticide which causes muscular convulsion and eventually death through asphyxia or exhaustion).

The Saga Humane Society has always been against the dog eradication program as they believe in euthanizing a pet in a more humane way. The San Pedro Town Council and Saga members held several meetings in regards to addressing a humane way of dealing with stray dogs and, if needed, animal euthanasia.

The San Pedro Town Council has given Saga the full authority on dog catching, pounding and working on a fee system to charge owners once dogs have been impounded by Saga. This system will replace the dog poisoning system carried out in the past by the Town Council and health officials.
Public education is very essential and Saga will start communication with the public through public service announcements on local media, including Coral Cable Vision, Reef Radio, Ambergris Today and of course the Morning Show.

Saga is currently working on a structure of impounding, adopting and a humane way of euthanizing dogs and will announce its plan at a later date. They encourage residents to report of incidents which include that of excessive dog barking (noise) and dog biting. They have forms which can be filled and can be done completely anonymous. Saga does take time to look at every case they are called upon.
“The meeting with the mayor was very positive; she was very helpful and a pleasure to work with,” commented personnel of Saga. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to step in and stop these harsh and inhumane ways to kill stray dog. There are more humane ways to tackle this problem and Saga is willing to take the challenge.”

Pet owners are asked to keep their pets in a fenced yard or properly tied in their properties. Saga also urges dog owners to practice scooping after their dogs go pooping. To report any problematic dog, feel free to call Saga at 226-3266 and they will be glad to help out.
Ambergris Today

#418733 - 10/14/11 09:06 AM Re: Saga Averts Town Dog Poisoning [Re: Marty]
Diane Campbell Offline

#418748 - 10/14/11 11:46 AM Re: Saga Averts Town Dog Poisoning [Re: Marty]
PROBUS Offline
Although I applaud the initiative by SAGA to prevent the inexplicable and barbarous practice the Mayor and her cohorts were said to be about to embark upon, I do have some reservations about the new scheme.

Originally Posted By: Marty
a fee system to charge owners once dogs have been impounded by Saga

This could easily become quite controversial. Whenever police have the power to impose spot fines that power is abused for the individual police officer's personal reasons.

Originally Posted By: Marty
Pet owners are asked to keep their pets in a fenced yard or properly tied in their properties

Not realistic for many people. And just what is meant by "properly tied"? I have always thought that keeping a dog permanently tied up is cruel.

#418755 - 10/14/11 12:22 PM Re: Saga Averts Town Dog Poisoning [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
once the dog is impounded by SAGA how is this a spot fine? (I just dont see it that way) or more appropriately asked, how is the fine collected?

As evidenced by comments above Leash laws are universally difficult to enforce or even embrace; particularly in cultures, communities, and mindsets where the freedom of the animal to roam is seen as either inconsequntial or the animal's right. Just to avoid an outcry I'll simply add that both of those qualifiers (mindset and culture) apply to, and within the the US, not just San Pedro.

To effectively affect a change you need to alter mindset and cultural perspective (which also applies to the means of controlling strays, poisoning? *shudder* ) not easily done and most often first approached with a monetary penalty for a violation of the leash law(assuming there is statute in place in SP).

In an area where an animal's life (and emotional attachement) is of less value than the money it would take to bail it out you may find that an impounded animal is simply abandoned. Hard to accept but unfortunately true.

EDIT: Clarifications

Edited by Bear (10/14/11 12:50 PM)

#418767 - 10/14/11 12:41 PM Re: Saga Averts Town Dog Poisoning [Re: Marty]
SimonB Offline
"Although I applaud the initiative by SAGA to prevent the inexplicable and barbarous practice the Mayor and her cohorts were said to be about to embark upon, I do have some reservations about the new scheme."

It's not a new scheme, a town council has the right to designate a dog catcher/pound and apply fees as specified in the Dog Laws of Belize.

"12.-(1) If, within three days from the seizure of a dog detained in a dog pound,
any person satisfies the licensing authority of the town in which the dog was
seized that he is the owner of the dog, and either that no licence is required for
the dog, or that he is licensed to keep a dog in that town and does not keep in
that town more dogs than the number he is licensed to keep therein, and pays to
the keeper of the dog pound his authorised charges, and catcher’s fees, the
keeper shall deliver the dog to that person."

Inferring that SAGA will abuse that for their own good is just spiteful, typical, but spiteful.

For those who have questions about the laws of Belize I suggest some reading of the Laws of Belize website. http://www.belizelaw.org/lawadmin/index2.html

#418768 - 10/14/11 12:46 PM Re: Saga Averts Town Dog Poisoning [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
Thanks for the clarification. Those of us that are familiar with how Saga operates know that even if fines aren't paid Saga would never euthanize a healthy animal that belongs to someone.

#418769 - 10/14/11 12:48 PM Re: Saga Averts Town Dog Poisoning [Re: Marty]
Phil Offline
Probus = Peter Jones? Director of San Pedro Animal Hospital? If so shouldn't you offer this disclaimer as information before you criticise SAGA? - again

#418778 - 10/14/11 01:04 PM Re: Saga Averts Town Dog Poisoning [Re: PROBUS]
Bear Offline
I have always thought that keeping a dog permanently tied up is cruel.

I have to say this is a fairly classic example of what i was talking about when it comes to culture and mindset. My pointing this out is not a shot at the author, merely that it's this kind of belief or opinion that, when reflected in the owners behavior, is responsible for public nuisance, personal injuries and property damage from unleashed/unsecured animals. Not to mention the fact that the animal itself is put in jeopardy by the owners actions or more accuratley the owners ommisions. Flip this around: Is negligently putting an animal at risk of poisoning or putting a child or person at risk of injury less egregious, more acceptable, than tying it up when it can not be secured by fencing?

Assuming they can't be properly fenced a responsible and caring owner would secure the animal in his absence then allow it regular "attended" freedom when possible. When you own an animal its welfare is like that of a child, you guard and nurture and sometimes that means "tough love". In this instance tough love for an animal is securing the pet when you cant be in attendance controlling its actions.

Although there are exceptions to the general rule its been my experience that people are almost always the reason why there is a problem with an animal.


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