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#474228 - 10/06/13 05:53 AM Stray dogs continue to be a problem
Marty Offline

The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) has expressed much concern over the problems caused by stray dogs on the island. Both residents and tourists have raised complaints about the increase of stray dogs, which in turn are affecting the sanitary conditions of Ambergris Caye. Relevant authorities have employed several methods for decreasing the number of stray dogs in the past, but have had little effect in the alleviation of the problem. In July 2012 the SPTC implemented an eradication of stray dogs via strychnine poisoning. This was quickly replaced with SAGA Humane Society’s “Dog Round Up” program due to the strong backlash from animal lovers who were opposed to this inhumane method of euthanasia. But as the complaints continue to increase, Mayor Daniel Guerrero is once again facing hard decisions on how to handle the problem.

Mayor Guerrero expressed to The San Pedro Sun that the health and safety of the public is of great concern and that decisions will be made in order to control the situation. “Some pet owners are being irresponsible, allowing their dogs to wander and cause problems in the street. Many residents have complained to me about the feces on the beach and the garbage in the streets because of the dogs. We want to visit all options available to control the problem, but if little or no change comes to the matter we will be forced to revert to our standard method of eradication,” said Mayor Guerrero.

Saga Humane Society agrees with SPTC’s concern about the problematic dogs and the organization has offered its support in humanely euthanizing the strays. According to Coleen Creeden, one of the Directors of Saga, she has visited with the Mayor and together they have come up with ways to enforce the Dog Act. “Irresponsible pet owners are a problem that affects us all; we need to educate them and impose laws. The “Scoop and Poop” campaign addresses the complaints from residents about the problems of dogs defecating in public area. We are encouraging all residents to report offenders so that they can be ticketed and fined. In addition residents should take photographs of the offenders so that SPTC can deal with them,” said Creeden.

The dog round up program has also been emphasized this year. Last year SAGA picked up 180 dogs during their round up program, out of which 99 where humanely euthanized. As late as August, 2013, 175 dogs have been picked up in the dog round up program and 82 have been euthanized.

According to Saga breeding is the main problem with problematic dogs. “There are too many dogs on Ambergris Caye and not enough homes. So they are let out in the streets to roam and create havoc. In order to address the ultimate problems the island faces, we first need to address the population of dogs on the island. This can be done by spaying and neutering dogs,” said Creeden. Residents are asked to cooperate with Saga and the SPTC by spaying and neutering their dogs to reduce the population numbers on the island, Saga currently estimates that there are 6,000 dogs living on Ambergris Caye, the majority of which are not properly cared for.

Stray dogs cause health, environmental and safety concerns. They scavenge through garbage in search for food creating a mess in public areas. Strays also defecate in streets and beaches, where residents and tourist may catch infections and disease transmitted through the feces. Bites from aggressive canines can also lead to rabies and physical injuries.

The SPTC urges all pet owners to properly secure their (pets) dogs in their yard to avoid problems. If one’s dog defecates on the streets or beach, the pet owner should properly dispose of the feces in the garbage. Problematic dogs should be reported to Saga at phone number 226-3266.

San Pedro Sun

#474306 - 10/06/13 08:27 PM Re: Stray dogs continue to be a problem [Re: Marty]
SimonB Offline
The disgusting part of this is that it often isn't so called locals that are the problem but foreigners letting their dogs shit wherever they feel the urge. I won't name names now but if it goes on any longer I will post names and pictures as I feel fit. Thankfully some of the disgusting Gringos have left town but there are still some left. Strangely enough from what I have seen many are in the food business.

#474333 - 10/07/13 08:41 AM Re: Stray dogs continue to be a problem [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
Yep. That is so true Simon.

#474599 - 10/10/13 06:07 AM Re: Stray dogs continue to be a problem [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
The Saga Humane Society of San Pedro is working arduously on addressing the over population of dogs on the island. The number of complaints about stray dogs and the all the unsanitary conditions they leave behind is high once again but the Humane Society is looking at stronger methods of addressing the situation.

Residents have been complaining to the San Pedro Town Council and to the Saga Humane Society about the problem of dogs defecating in public and in front of businesses. The majority of offenders are pets that have owners who allow them on the streets without a leash or supervision. Saga indicates that their personnel have rounded up some of these dogs in the past, but say that the pet owners pay their fine and pick up the animals, but days later they still keep their pets unsupervised and on the streets.

This situation is very problematic and forcing the authorities to take major action which may possibly lead to the euthanizing of the animals immediately. In order to avoid such cruel acts, the Humane Society and the Town Council are working together to enforce laws and fine those who break the laws.

“Owners need to be made aware of their responsibility and potential fines under the law,” stated Colleen Creeden of Saga Humane Society. “We need to educate and impose laws to see a change; for this reason we are implementing the ‘Scoop the Poop Campaign’. We are willing to work with the SPTC and the business community and have signs made available for printing to be posted in front of their establishment. We are encouraging residents to take photos of repeat offenders so tickets can be issued in regards to the Belize Law – Dog Act and the San Pedro Dog Control Orders by the SPTC.”

Saga started up dog round ups last year where they collected 180 dogs off the street of which 99 were euthanized. Just this year through the end of August a total of 175 have been rounded up and 82 have been euthanized. According to Creeden, in order to address the problem which the island faces, the dog population must be addressed first and foremost as there is an estimated total of 6,000 dogs on the island of Ambergris Caye.

So what do we do with so many dogs on the island, many of which are homeless and problematic? Saga says that spaying and neutering is the way to go. For this the Saga Humane Society has embarked on another SNIP-a-thon. The Humane Society is hosting two different visiting veterinary groups to hold free spay/neuter clinics for low income residents of Ambergris Caye. The goal is to sterilize over 300 island pets during the month of October.

Helping Paws Across Borders, a team of 15 including Veterinarians, Vet Techs, and dog trainers are on the island and have been working on spaying/neutering pets since Monday, October 7. This group’s focus efforts are on the neighborhoods of DFC, San Juan and Downtown. Because of limited space at the Saga HS clinic, a MASH (Mobile Animals Surgical Hospital) type clinic was held in the DFC area. This was done to allow the medical teams to be closer to the animals and save the time and expense of transportation to the Saga HS clinic.

Hopkins Humane Society will be in San Pedro Oct. 18-21. They will be bringing a team including veterinarians and vet techs. This group will focus on San Mateo. More details to come.

Saga encourages all residents to come out and get their pets spayed/neutered. Dogs and cats that have been spayed/neutered live happier, healthier and longer lives. This is also an effort to control the stray population on the island. By sterilizing pets, this effort will help the community take the necessary steps to control the over population of domestic animals on the island. So come on out and remember, It’s Hip to Snip!


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