Saga sent the following letter to the Chamber in an effort to combat the problem of stray and sick dogs in San Pedro which hopefully will eliminate the need for the Health Department and Town Council’s proposed dog eradication:
9 March 2009
Dear Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce,
As your members are aware, SAGA Humane Society provides very important services to the community of San Pedro. As well as rescuing and rehoming stray and abandoned animals, SAGA provides a veterinary service, offfering neutering and spaying at a hugely subsidised low cost and for free in cases of financial hardship.
This is in addition to the very important private veterinary service that would not exist here without SAGA and which is depended upon by so many pet owners on Ambergris Caye.
There is an ongoing and growing problem with stray control in San Pedro. Owners are reluctant to neuter their pets and they allow them to roam the streets unsupervised creating both a nuisance as well as health and safety issues. This has recently been highlighted because of the dog eradication proposed by the Health Inspector and Town Council and SAGA’s urgent attempts to tackle the current stray situation.
SAGA does not have the funds or the staff to provide an animal warden service. They depend on the support and goodwill of the community to bring nuisance animals to their attention and, whenever possible, to capture and bring in animals.
SAGA wants and needs the support of the San Pedro business community because this is not a one off. The dog and cat population is likely to continue growing alongside the human population. As long as there is food available to dogs and cats, their population will remain steady. In no more than 18 months we are likely to see the stray dog population back at its current level unless the community rallies round to help. When this happens, the Town Council will feel obliged to respond by commencing another dog eradication.
SAGA needs business owners to contact them and let them know when problems start, so that they can be tackled early. But SAGA also needs business owners to be patient and realise that they are extremely over worked, have very few resources and are not able to provide a 24/7 emergency response service. SAGA very much appreciates it when businesses help by borrowing traps, capturing animals themselves and bringing them in.
As you all know, this is not just an animal welfare issue. Poisoning as a method of stray control is a PR nightmare as tourists find it extremely disturbing. We need to work together as a community to tackle this very important issue. While SAGA appreciates good ideas, it appreciates volunteers, donations and practical assistance much more.
Neutering and spaying is a priority if we are going to win this battle. Not only is it the only effective method of pet population control, but many are not aware that most of the strays are slowly dying of a sexually transmitted disease called TVT.
We have a neutering education leaflet in both Spanish and English available. If your business could help by distributing them to staff and customers, that would be a great start.
We would also urge all business owners to review their garbage disposal as businesses provide most of the food for our stray pet population.
Our opening hours are as follows:
Tues – Fri 8:30am-12pm
Tues - Fri 1:00pm-4:00pm
Call us on 226 3266 contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
SAGA Humane Society
In further discussion, Pat Stiley asked if these measures would actually stop the eradication from taking place and it was not known if the Town Council had been asked specifically about this but there has been no indication from the Town Council that the dog eradication will be suspended for any reason at this time (there was not a SAGA represent at the meeting).
Pat also mentioned that SAGA was supposed to get a tranquilizer gun to help in collecting sick and stray animals.
No one knew the status so Pat will follow up with SAGA and report at next week’s meeting.