I have posted this response to the recent discussion on the "San Pedro Dogs-Urgent" discussion. But as this is now three pages long I have also copied it as a separate item.
"As a resident of San Pedro and a director of SAGA I would like to update everyone on the situation here and the objectives of the society.
Members of Saga met this week with the island health inspector and the recent occurences of poisoning (which were undertaken by a temporary inspector to the island) have stopped. The health inspector, town board and mayor are fully behind SAGA in respect to controlling the animal population (in a humane way) for the good of everyone.
SAGA does have a spay/neuter programme for stray animals BUT many animals with owners are not neutered and are allowed to roam freely. There is also no policy on tagging/collars and so we are often in danger of neutering (or worse destroying) someone's pet against their will. This will change over time with both the education program we are running in the schools and the license program we are working with the town board to implement. But none of this will happen overnight.
When a stray animal is taken to the clinic (we have rounded up many in the last few weeks) we do have to put down some - either due to disease or temperament. In many cases younger animals are found new homes (kittens and puppies are relatively easy to home) but the older animals are returned to the street. However having been neutered they are :
a) not reproducing
b) have no tendency to pack or attack
c) are healthier with only themselves to feed.
SAGA have never shied away from putting down an ill or dangerous animal. But a healthy neutered animal is not put down and we have numerous cases where such animals have later been adopted by either locals or tourists who have taken them home.
The issue of "stray" animals is not an easy one and I put stray in quotes because of the many that are seen this way at first glance, a high proportion have homes. Animals are not cossetted and fussed over here in the same way as in the US or UK - they are not seen as part of the family in the same way and I doubt ever will be.
SAGA will continue their work through the many unpaid volunteers on the island and we are grateful to all the support we receive from both locals and visitors. But change will not happen overnight as it is as much about education as action. We believe that change is happening - many locals now bring their pets for innoculation, neutering, etc. which was not happening a year or so ago.
So I thank everyone for their obvious interest and care of the animals and ask that you continue to support SAGA in their goals as we work with the community for humane animal care."