San Pedro Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act in August
Saga Humane Society, San Pedro Police Department and The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) held a meeting on Tuesday June 25th to discuss issues relating to the Dog Act. The meeting came about because of the continuous problems relating to stray dogs on the island and months of discussion between the different entities.
Following months of complaints from residents and tourists about the issues relating to the increase of stray dogs on Ambergris Caye, a plan had to be discussed. According to Coleen Creeden, President of the Board of Directors at Saga Humane Society, the problem of stray dogs includes health, environmental and safety concerns. In many instances, the stray animals are attacking other dogs (pets) and even humans. Dog bites can lead to rabies and physical injuries. In addition, many unfed stray dogs have to resort to scavenging for food from garbage and in the process create a mess. Irresponsible dog owners also add to the problem; walking their pets on public areas such as beach, parks and streets and allowing them to ‘poop’ without scooping. Some walk their pets unleashed, unable to control them when they become aggressive. To address these issues, Saga, the police and SPTC are moving forward in addressing these mounting issues.
One of the solutions that the three entities hope to execute in addressing the issue as it relates to stray dogs is through the implementation of the Belize Dog Act. As such the three entities have embraced a document drafted from the Dog Act called the San Pedro Town Dog Control Orders. These orders make reference to the licensing of dogs and associated fees, leashing law enforcements and fines, lost/seized Stray-Dogsanimals and fines, nuisance enforcement and different fines, vicious and savage dogs, dog-bite complaint procedures for residents, rabies control and even animal cruelty investigation. By addressing these areas in the SPT Dog Control Orders, authorities on the island hope to address the many concerns expressed by the residents of the island.
Officer Commanding San Pedro Police Sub-Formation Superintendent of Police Luis Castellanos explained that a quick review of the documents shows that it is consistent and within the context of the Belize Dog Act. Mayor of San Pedro Daniel Guerrero explained that while he fully embraces the concept, he will have an attorney review the documents to ensure that it is in compliance with the law before it can be implemented. Saga on the other hand, will be making certain adjustments and upgrades to their facility to ensure that when the Dog Control Order kicks in, their facility – which will act as a holding area for dogs- is up to par with the required standards. The enforcement and prosecution of the Dog Control Act will be done jointly between trained dog catchers and the police department.
The San Pedro Town Dog Control Act took months after planning and reviews after a controversial dog eradication last year. It is the hope of the San Pedro Town Council to officially have the Dog Control Orders implemented at the beginning of August 2013.
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