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#442342 - 07/12/12 12:44 AM San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy
Mike Campbell Online   content
Controversy has erupted in certain segments of the San Pedro community following the Town Council’s decision to resume eradication of stray dogs by strychnine poisoning as provided for under Belize Law. This decision was taken after an informal survey by the Town Council immediately spotted some 200 strays. It is unlikely that they were able to inventory more than 20% of the strays meaning that it is likely that San Pedro has as many as 1000 or more strays. This survey was undertaken after repeated complaints by tourists and residents concerning health and safety issues generated by the large number of stray dogs. Dog attacks were becoming frequent and dogs chasing bicycles and golf carts and pedestrians have caused accidents and injuries. The recent publication of photos of dogs carrying trash, running wild and defecating in the streets accurately documents the problem. The large and growing population of strays is a health and safety issue for locals and tourists alike and for that reason the Town Board resumed poisoning stray dogs. This method of dog eradication is used nationwide to control strays. The method of administering the poison is carefully prescribed by law, but inevitably dogs other than those specifically targeted sometimes fall victim to the Eradication and all suffer a very painful and agonizing death.
Under the past Town Council poisoning had been suspended and the SAGA Society had taken responsibility for rounding up and dealing with strays in a humane way. Due to funding problems SAGA has not been able to control the situation. The SAGA Society and the San Pedro Animal Hospital appear to be in conflict as well but both share the belief that spaying and neutering will solve the problem while most locals don’t see how that will reduce the number of dogs that roam freely causing various health and safety problems for themselves, their children and our foreign visitors. Although no one likes poisoning dogs no one seems to have a viable alternative even though the vocal minority are vehemently opposed to the point of inciting prospective tourists to change reservations and publishing vicious ad hominem attacks on the Mayor.
Those that object most loudly come from places that have long standing policies of daily patrolling, picking up and destroying strays so they do not have the problem we do. The “dog catcher” and the “pound” are familiar terms in America but do not exist in Belize. Economically we are forced to eradicate as we do because we cannot afford a first world animal control system yet and it is not fair that we should be condemned for it. We would be irresponsible to not eradicate the dogs. It is for the well being of the community and the safety of our guests.
The problem has become critical, as no eradications have been carried out in some time. Hopefully the various spay neuter programs will eventually lower the population of strays but until we have an animal control officer with vehicle and pound system we will periodically have to do mass eradication of strays. That is not to defend poisoning and I would hope that a compromise could be worked out so the vet could accompany the dog eradication detail and euthanize as they are caught. I am sure those assigned the dog poison detail would be overjoyed to not have to do what they do.
The ad hominem attacks claiming cruelty on the part of those involved are out of order. It is a public problem that is being addressed fortunately. Maybe all can work together to do better next time but doing nothing is not an option and the fault lies completely at the feet of the irresponsible dog owners who let their animals run free not the Town Board or the Mayor.

#442344 - 07/12/12 02:24 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: Mike Campbell]
collyk Offline
" “We have an eradication program at SAGA but we oppose to eradication by poisoning. There are other options to humanely euthanize dogs. We don’t like euthanizing an animal but we can understand it if there is a need to do so. By using an injection that will humanely put down the dog, [the process] is less painful,” said Milstead. According to both Mayor Guerrero and Milstead, there was a meeting a few weeks ago where they discussed developing a plan to deal with stray animals but Milstead said that the SPTC never communicated to them that the problem was to the point that eradication was necessary. “We indicated to the SPTC that we have the capability to euthanize a dog humanely. " I'm not sure where people get the idea that SAGA was not able or willing to provide humane euthanasia or that solutions were not and are not available. It absolutely was not necessary. The alternative was there and on the table.
Belize Wedding Photography

#442349 - 07/12/12 07:55 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: Mike Campbell]
Tracker Offline
Very well said Mike. People should know the facts, and remember that this is Belize not the USA.
If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.
A bullet fired,cannot be called back.

#442367 - 07/12/12 09:59 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: Mike Campbell]
iluvbelize Offline
We all know Belize is not the USA. How many more pets will be poisoned by the Town Board? Oh, so sorry, but it is summertime and while there are fewer tourists we need to indiscriminantly in the dead of night throw poison around town. Strychnine is not the only available option Mayor. Your haste and hiding behind an old antiquated law on the books is barbaric. It appears SAGA was not notified and given the opportunity of a few weeks to round up and humanely deal with the nuisance strays. Is it really okay that family pets die horrible deaths in the name of keeping pampers out of the streets? People throw trash on the ground in SP without even thinking about it. The dogs are not the cause of the trash problems. I have appealed to the Mayor and TB to cease this poisoning program and give SAGA and the community a chance to deal with the strays for a month or so. I am not hopeful. After all it is legal and on of the few laws the Town Board has chosen to honor and enforce. Pitiful.

#442368 - 07/12/12 10:15 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: Mike Campbell]
ckocian Offline
A CIVILIZED society will put animals down humanely, no matter kind. Shoot the damn dogs and don't use poison, for God's sake. Can you imagine Canada poisoning a nuisance bear to get rid of it? Or the US poisoning an injured racing animal?

#442369 - 07/12/12 10:29 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: Mike Campbell]
collyk Offline
The fact is that SAGA could have put the dogs down humanely and were not given the opportunity. It is amazing how people invent their own facts.
Belize Wedding Photography

#442370 - 07/12/12 11:00 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: collyk]
BeBelize Offline
Originally Posted By: collyk
The fact is that SAGA could have put the dogs down humanely and were not given the opportunity. It is amazing how people invent their own facts.

Absolutely! I think everyone here understands that something has to be done. Stray dogs running all over, defecating and attacking people and dogs on leashes is not acceptable, but there is a wrong way and a right way to go about dealing with the problem.

To those who say that the US has "pounds" and "dog catchers", yes, that is true. But when dogs must be "eradicated" in the US because they are not adoptable or taken in by a rescue organization (of which there are MANY in the US), humane euthanasia by injection is used. The dogs are not killed in a painful and cruel manner by poison. There's a BIG difference.

Saga offered to help and can perform humane euthanasia. The SPTB, Mayor, and Health Department chose to do it "their way", a way that doesn't belong in a civilized society in the 21st century.

No one is telling tourists not to come here -- they are figuring out on their own that this is not a place they want to come. The powers that be here have only made it easier for potential tourists to choose another vacation destination by this short-sighted action.
Former Belize expat traveling the USA & Mexico

#442371 - 07/12/12 11:22 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: Mike Campbell]
J A Rebel Offline
Oh for Christ sake... u guys worry more about dogs than human... You over look the darn health issue that the Mayor and the Dr Zuniga said... u prefer looking at humanely killing a dog! What about people getting darn sick and the alarming concer... And yes the Mayor "Choose to do it their way," and it is correct! There is a problem that needs URGENT attention. It is in the law... Belize has certain laws and all those who jump and cry that it is not a good law then you choose to live in Belize and by extend accepted to live under those laws... so stop the bitchness!

#442372 - 07/12/12 11:35 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: Mike Campbell]
collyk Offline
J A Rebel. You make enormous assumptions, which are very disheartening. You assume that the people who are concerned about the poisoning of dogs don't also commit much of their time and energy to helping people. Just because you feel that cruelty to animals is wrong does not mean you don't care about human beings. I fact quite the contrary. The FBI considers cruelty to animals as one of the major indicators of future violent behaviour in teens and adolescents. By exposing our children to cruelty, we desensitise them and make them more likely to engage in the activity themselves. I presume you would like to see a kinder and more caring Belize - just like the rest of us. No one is overlooking the health issues and it seems that everyone agrees that something should be done, but it is unhelpful and simply incorrect to suggest that those who care about cruelty towards animals in someway are doing that at the expense of humans. Perhaps you should be asking why dog poisoning is a priority when crime is rampant and people in San Mateo are being consistently ignored - while foreign missionary groups are having to come here to help one of our most vulnerable communities.
Belize Wedding Photography

#442373 - 07/12/12 11:43 AM Re: San Pedro Belize Dog Eradication Controversy [Re: Mike Campbell]
J A Rebel Offline
colly! I don't think the Mayor said he want this to be the example as to how to threat animals. You made a point that we expose our children to cruelty... the council made it clear and so did the mayor that "it breaks his heart," to do it... BUT it would be worse to expose children to health hazard it is causing... for God sake people... What point of that you can't understand... Ok tonight i would want to see people picking up stray dogs ... take them to Saga or San Pedro Animal Hospital and kill them humanely before the council does another eradication weekend. I Love dogs but Hell something needs to be done URGENTLY... by dr Zuniga's account... Hell people are getting sick... I am sorry at this point i don't care how the Mayor address the situation ... i just dont want more people to get sick. And yes dog eradication is a priority if i look at it as from health standpoint!

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