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#463905 - 05/09/13 04:46 AM SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,823
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

You might just have one cat or maybe even two. They hang around, entertain the children and hopefully catch mice and rats. They may be house pets, loved by the family for their personality and playful nature. They might just be cats that aren’t really yours but you still put out food for them. All of these cats are capable of having kittens and all of these cats are the reason that San Pedro now has an overpopulation of our furry feline friends.

Often people say ‘Oh I only let her have one litter’ or ‘I can find homes for them’ but if they knew the truth about cats and their amazing ability to reproduce, they would certainly think twice. Just one un-spayed female cat and her mate, along with their offspring will be responsible for producing over eleven million new cats in nine years. Do we really want eleven million cats in San Pedro?

Cat overpopulation in San Pedro is bad news for people and cats. Right now there are hundreds of stray and abandoned cats hiding in bodegas, alleys and only coming out at night to hunt, scavenge and reproduce. These cats rarely live longer than two years as they succumb to injuries and disease. They cause a nuisance by ripping open garbage, fighting and making noise as well as spreading infectious diseases. They have no one to love them or care for them and that is the fault of the people who allowed them to breed and continue to breed. Unfortunately, their irresponsibility has now become the responsibility of the community and SAGA Humane Society.

SAGA Humane Society is already overflowing with cats and kittens. Currently they have almost 30 in their care and very few are being adopted. If you walk around the Town in the evening, you’ll see many sad, sick and very skinny cats slinking between the golf carts and cars. So, what can San Pedro do to stop it from raining cats? Neutering and spaying are the only solutions. These are very simple operations that can be performed by the veterinary surgeon and will not only prevent cats from reproducing but will reduce their risk of disease and injury. If our community worked together, we could turn San Pedro into a place where all the cats and kittens have the homes and love that they need and deserve.

If you have a cat or kitten and you want to do the responsible thing, please contact SAGA about spaying or neutering. If you are worried about the cost, let them know and they will do everything they can to assist through Operation SNIP.

Also, this week SAGA is getting a shipment of 1,000 Operation SNIP collars that have been donated and brought in by supporters. The bright green collars are embossed with Operation SNIP and Saga Humane Society. They will be given to all animals sterilized through Operation SNIP, this will help raise awareness in the community about the program and give visibility to how many animals SAGA Humane Society is able to help. Year to date, they have ‘SNIP’ped 180 animals and they will be getting their collars soon.

If you know of a stray cat that has had kittens or is pregnant, please let SAGA know. To find out how you can help the cats of San Pedro please call SAGA on 226-3266.

#464634 - 05/19/13 01:22 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 33
Thruopeneyes Offline
Thruopeneyes  Offline
I think SAGA does good for the community but when I read this it makes me upset how they make it sound as if you just have to call and they'll be there. Through many friends and my own experiences you call SAGA about these animals and they never show up. After a while people just stop calling.

To be silent in the face of injustice is to be an accomplice to evil
#464635 - 05/19/13 03:31 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 333
Wizardofaahs Offline
Wizardofaahs  Offline
Perhaps strays should be trapped and taken to SAGA to be spayed or neutered then released back into their feral community.

Words have power. Speak it into existence.
#464636 - 05/19/13 04:23 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Wizardofaahs]  
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,653
bywarren Offline
bywarren  Offline
Cats, or any domesticated animal, without a responsible owner to take care of them that are spayed and neutered still get sick, spread desease and usually die an unpleasant death. Any dog or cat that does not have a responsible owner to take care of it is better off in dog or cat heaven.
Ambergris Caye certainly does not need a larger "feral community".

#464641 - 05/19/13 05:06 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,205
collyk Offline
collyk  Offline
I would urge anyone who feels that SAGA is not doing enough to spend some time there as a volunteer to help them do more and to see exactly how much they do achieve with so few resources. They do not receive any funding from the local government although they handle all stray dog issues and they have to spend a great deal of time trying to get financial support from the community.

A great way to help if you are worried about feral cats is to purchase some cat traps for SAGA. Also, contact them to borrow any traps that they may have available and trap cats in your neighbourhood - then take them in to SAGA who will treat them as appropriate.

The reason that it does not work euthanasing feral cats is because every cat that is removed from a colony will be very quickly replaced. By maintaining neutered, rabies vaccinated populations at least they are doing their best to keep the population down. Of course, the only way this can be done effectively is with people from the community volunteering their time to help and that especially means those who complain about the problems.

Unfortunately, as long as there are resources available (food/garbage), the feral cat population will remain steady or grow. Feral cats are a people problem and until we learn how to dispose of our garbage correctly, we will have a feral cat population to deal with. At this stage, even though it is very important to neuter and spay pet cats, that will have no effect on the well established feral cat population on the island.
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#464650 - 05/19/13 06:01 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 246
Chica Blanca Offline
Chica Blanca  Offline
Whether having real owners or not, these roaming animals who are also not spayed or neutered (capable of breeding) will very quickly (within 3-6 months) replace the animals that were put down. Then we are back to square one, and having to continue killing dogs and cats to only temporarily reduce their numbers, without any long term reduction in animal over-population.

Saga's statistics for 2012 are as follows – these show that the animals allowed to breed freely in private homes are a significant part of the problem of animal over population. People are letting their animals have puppies and kittens. When they cannot or do not want to care for them, they surrender them to Saga HS or let them out into the street.

Dogs Rounded Up : 180
Dogs Returned to Owner: 33 (after payment of a fine)
Surrender (owner left at Saga): 359 Dogs and Cats
Euthanized: 346 Dogs and Cats, 99 were dogs from rounds ups
Adopted Out into New Homes: 168 Dogs and Cats
Spayed/Neutered: 451 Dogs and Cats
Vaccinated: 159 Dogs and Cats
Treated Free of Charge: 134 Dogs and Cats

Human attitudes and behavior must change. Where people and authorities permit uncovered or uncollected garbage bins or dumping of garbage in the streets, animals will settle down, dogs, cats, rats, raccoon's and others.

Where there are dogs and cats in the streets, there will be animal lovers who feel sorry for them and feed them. This results in a vicious circle. The solution, as a community, is to focus our efforts on reducing the number of unwanted dogs and cats being born in San Pedro. The only effective way to reduce these numbers is to stop animals from freely breeding, by having your animals spay/neutered (sterilized) and reduce access to food resources (garbage).

Working together, we can create a situation where NO animals were strays or wandering to breed freely, and NO animals were being born that would not have homes.

All around the world, experience has shown that certain methods over time produce BIG reductions in stray and roaming animal populations. These methods include spaying and neutering; registration and identification; education and informing the public. The only possible way to permanently reduce the total population of stray animals is the use of a comprehensive dog population management program.

This is why a dog elimination plan such as the Roundups do not work: if is not possible to catch ALL the stray breeding animals in a territory within the breeding time of only 2 months, the total population will quickly rise again to the “carrying capacity”.

Saga HS has reviewed animal population control data from Humane Society International, WSPCA, WHO, Best Friends and World Vets to come up with a sustainable plan to reduce the number of unwanted animals. These studies and data will be posted on the Saga Website

These organizations recommend a goal of 75% sterilization in 3-5 years, which would stabilize the current pet population. To achieve this ambitious goal, the community and Saga HS will have to sterilize 25 dogs a week, 30 cats a week for the next 5 years.

Saga would like to request that the Community does its part by doing the following:

-Secure your household garbage in a container that has a locking lid or is otherwise animal-proof, and do not dump trash in empty lots or the bush (this is also important to keep the raccoon and rat population under control);
-Report illegal dumping of trash by others to SPTC;
-Report sale of puppies on the beach/public places to SPTC and Saga HS;
-(Nicely) ask neighbors to address nuisance issues with their dogs – if that fails, report nuisance problems to the police (constant barking, roaming, aggressive behavior to other animals or people, female in heat, getting into yard/garbage)
-Volunteer or donate to Saga HS. We are seeking volunteers to help us achieve our goals.

Help us solve the problems of animal over population.

Coleen Creeden
Saga Humane Society


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#464654 - 05/19/13 06:23 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Chica Blanca]  
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,653
bywarren Offline
bywarren  Offline
All very good points. But just for the sake of discussion, how do you suggest controlling the ever increasing population of racoons? Granted these are not normally considered pets, but pose the same health problems as unwanted dogs and cats.
I realize eliminating their food source ie: garbage is helpful, but I doubt that is the total solution.

Last edited by bywarren; 05/19/13 06:40 AM.
#464655 - 05/19/13 06:43 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 246
Chica Blanca Offline
Chica Blanca  Offline
Control the access to resources, garbage. With the new waste management program on the island there is a new opportunity for the community to get a handle on it's garbage problems. If there is no food for raccoons, rats, dogs, cats to eat, they will not breed as often or spread diseases.
Controlling access to resources
a. the regular removal of garbage from homes and public bins
b. the fencing-in of garbage collection and disposal sites
c. the control of offal and carcass disposal
d. the use of animal-proof bins, such as those with heavy lids, or positioning them out of a animals reach
e. education or enforcement measures to stop people littering
(and hence feeding animals accidentally), and to stop people
purposely feeding dogs in certain areas.


Beach bum, butterfly stalker, native plant enthusiast.
#464656 - 05/19/13 06:52 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Chica Blanca]  
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,653
bywarren Offline
bywarren  Offline
So is your theory they will go elsewhere to find food or the population will descrease for lack of food?

#464658 - 05/19/13 07:19 AM Re: SAGA Reports Overpopulation of cats on Island [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,205
collyk Offline
collyk  Offline
It's not a theory. When there are scant resources, such as food, populations naturally decrease. Infant mortality and litter sizes decrease. On an island, there isn't anywhere else for them to go as feral cats are inclined to depend upon human populations. What is also a fact is that killing them does not decrease the population unless you can kill them all at once.
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