Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act

Posted By: Marty

Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 11:05 AM

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 Ďpoopí 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 Ė 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.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

Ambergris Today article HERE:

Posted By: Phil

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 01:21 PM

I hope this extends to covering Nuisance continual barking from dogs in yards as well. Becoming a real issue since everyone decided to get a Dog for security yet don't train or walk it.
Posted By: collyk

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 01:58 PM

Phil, I may be wrong, but I don't think the Dog Act covers noise nuisance. That is a separate issue to be dealt with directly with the Town Board and falls within all noise nuisance complaints.
Posted By: Chica Blanca

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 02:33 PM

Belize Law, Dog Act Chapter 153 already covers barking dogs. It will be addressed within the frame work of the Dog Control Orders.

Power of magistrate to fine or order destruction of dogs.
-Whenever it appears to a magistrate on complaint being made to him under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts, that a dog is vicious or savage, whether to animals or human beings, or likely to spread any disease or, by reason of its habit of persistent barking or for any other reason, is a nuisance, the magistrate may order the owner of the dog to keep it under proper control or in such a manner that it shall not be a nuisance, or may order the owner to destroy the dog.

For more reading, visit
Belize Law, Dog Act Chapter 153

Saga Humane Society looks forward to working with The San Pedro Town Council and The San Pedro Police Department towards our common goal of a safe and clean San Pedro through responsible dog ownership.

Coleen Creeden
Saga Humane Society

Posted By: Nobody You Know

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 05:00 PM

A huge step in the right direction...
Posted By: elbert

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 05:36 PM

Do you find it hard to believe the town board, who does nothing about prostitutes and drug peddlers on main street in front of the town board offices, will be going after barking dogs for violating noise ordinances?
A designated dog catcher is a great idea and I'm happy they have thought of this after a decade of township government.
The prostitutes and drug peddlers of Pescador Drive had better get a leash on their dogs and quiet them quickly before the s%#@ hits the fan.
Posted By: Chica Blanca

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 05:47 PM

The SPTC has NO enforcement ability in Belize Law with regards to prostitutes and drugs. Only the Police can do something about the prostitutes and cocaine peddlers. Talk to the Police about enforcement of those laws if it's a concern to you. They are willing to listen to solutions brought to them by interested residents or NGO's.

Saga HS has spoken with The SPTC and the Police about enforcement existing law concerning dogs. The SPTC by law can implement portions of Belize Law, Dog Act 153. This is what is occurring, all within their duties under Belize Law.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 05:52 PM

Don't waste your "breath" Coleen. Elbert knows all that but prefers to stay up north and hurl criticisms and insults toward anything San Pedro-ish.
Can't remember him ever contributing anything positive....
Posted By: Phil

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 06:49 PM

I also think this is a great step in the right direction.

I'm also really pleased Saga are involved although I imagine they might be a bit reticent about it at the same time!!! I hope they receive some local/GOB funding to cover costs.
Posted By: collyk

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 07:17 PM

Thanks so much for clarifying that Coleen. Great steps towards making San Pedro a better place for dogs and people!
Posted By: Chica Blanca

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/28/13 07:21 PM

I don't consider answering peoples concerns a waste of breath.

Ambergris Caye depends heavily on economic trade from tourism and tourists do not enjoy witnessing large numbers of malnourished or diseased street dogs and cats. Tourists are also against the culling of stray animals through the use of poison. Residents, businesses and tourists also do not enjoy dogs defecating in street, getting into rubbish bins, constantly barking, uncontrolled breeding, chasing vehicles and bikes. Reducing access to resources, where people and authorities permit uncovered or uncollected rubbish bins, dumping of rubbish in the streets, animals will settle down, dogs, cats, rats, raccoons and others. And 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.
Experiences the world over have shown that certain management methods can, over a period of time, produce dramatic results in 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 street animals is the use of a comprehensive pet population management program. Any program has to be a combined effort between the San Pedro Town Council, San Pedro Police Department, Health Department, Saga Humane Society, San Pedro business community and the general public.
The first step in this dog management program is enforcement of existing law. This is what is being done by the SPTC and Police. Saga HS for it's part has introduced Operation SNIP. Our goal is to steralize 75% of the island animal population in 3-5 years. Operation SNIP
Not everyone is familiar with the legal structure of government in Belize or how it operates. Visitors, new transplants and some old timers often decry the lack of our local council for doing something about crime or other law enforcement issues. Local government does not oversee nor control their local Police department, central government in Belmopan does.

Saga HS, The SPTC and The SPPD are committed to working together to enforce existing laws to make San Pedro clean and safe through responsible dog ownership.

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Posted By: Tracker

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/29/13 02:11 PM

Very well said.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/29/13 02:49 PM

I have an attitude about San Pedro it's obvious I know.
Iím 100 % behind the spay and neuter and dogcatcher is a good idea. Leash laws are good and in fact all this is good for San Pedro. True more regulations mean fewer freedoms but in a place like San Pedro Town where your living conditions are so close that your neighbors flatulence problems have an effect on you, regulations must be made. Iím on the same island but the difference between where I live and San Pedro is like the difference between city and country living, problem being the Town Board had the whole island annexed into the townís boundaries to collect the whole islands property tax, Instead of the areas outside of its serviceable area paying tax to central government. This makes a rule, law or ethic that seems good for the town apply to the whole island including parts where this law, rule or ethic might be inappropriate or silly. The dog rulings are a good example. I have dogs, they guard my house my dock and boat. They do a good job and Iím too far from town for the police to be effective in these matters. They canít do that job on a leash or muzzled or without barking and if one of them poops and no one scoops itís effect isn't noticed. See the difference? I was trying to infer earlier, what does it really matter if they make a pile of rules,enforcement just doesn't happen...and excuse me for laughing, this is a noble effort for a good cause I just can't take any new rules or laws from the town very serious.
Posted By: Chica Blanca

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/29/13 04:04 PM

Many of us in the north and town have dogs for security. This is not the problem or an excuse. The problem is the owners who feel it's alright for their dog to run and chase someone on the beach or road. Their dog knows the good people from the bad. If it is the dogs job to guard the house, then it should be on it's owners' property, at it's house guarding. Not chasing workers on bikes, tourist's out for a leisurely stroll and certainly not children. Nobody enjoys being chased and possibly bitten by a neighbors' dog. Consider the situation that arises when a neighbor's dogs manage to get loose day after day, chasing children or other dogs and preventing them from walking down the beach. But we don't have to consider it, it happens every day on this island, in every neighborhood. Saga HS has had many complaints from the north end of the island of people's dogs chasing and biting them. The owners always say "it's not their fault", "he's a good boy". When owners allow their dogs to continue to chase people, those chased will sometimes take matters into their own hands. We are all familiar with cases of dog poisoning or machete hacks done to individuals' dogs who were known for their constant harassment and perceived threat to their neighbors.

Children are the most common victims of serious dog bites. Seventy percent of fatal dog attacks and more than half of bite wounds requiring medical attention involve children. In addition, almost half of all children are bitten before 18 years of age. The most vulnerable youngsters are 5- to 9-year-old boys but smaller children can also be seriously injured.

Intact (unneutered) male dogs represented 80% of dogs presented to veterinary behaviorists for dominance aggression, the most commonly diagnosed type of aggression. Intact males are also involved in 70 to 76% of reported dog bite incidents. The sex distribution of dogs inflicting unreported bites is not known. Unspayed females that are not part of a carefully planned breeding program may attract free roaming males, which increases bite risk to people through increased exposure to unfamiliar dogs.

Water quality plays an important role in the health of our aquatic ecosystems and our ability to enjoy our marine resources. With our in-effective storm drainage systems, stormwater runoff quickly and directly washes into our waterways carrying with it anything in its path including pet waste, trash, fertilizer, and pollutants. Fish, conch, lobster, crab, and other critters swim and eat in these waters, and so do we! The good news is that we can all make simple adjustments in our lives to reduce the amount of pollution that ends up in our waterways. When we keep our waterways healthy, we keep ourselves healthy.

Pet waste is raw sewage and should be treated as such! When it rains, harmful pathogens travel across yards, the beach, and streets and eventually into the sea degrading our water quality and potentially contaminating shellfish. Much of this pet waste problem can simply be addressed by regularly picking up after our own four-legged friends.

These are quality of life issues that ultimately determine the desirability of a community to its citizens and that can motivate proactive community officials to institute a dog management program.

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Posted By: elbert

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/29/13 04:47 PM

Sorry Coleen, these numbers and statistics just aren't applicable to the island. We haven't had any(as in Zero) fatality from dog attacks on the island so to say "Seventy percent of fatal dog attacks and more than half of bite wounds requiring medical attention involve children', is inflammatory. Hysterical statements and stats like these are what incites people into poisoning dogs and choping them with machetes. I agree dog poop in the streets and gutters is a problem but since we have neither streets or gutters nor storm drainage systems on the North end of the island it seems irrelevant. The dogs poop where all the rest of the wild life poops and it is of no consequence, unlike in San Pedro Town where the stench of urine and feces in the streets is offensive and yes, a public health hazard.
Posted By: Chica Blanca

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/29/13 05:21 PM

Be Kind Belize surveyed the children in the program. 2/3 of island children between the ages of 8-12 had been bitten by a dog. Unfortunately Belize does not track dog attacks, so we rely upon the experience of other countries. This is the case the world over, children at bitten at a higher rate then adults. No we haven't had any fatalities yet by direct dog attacks. We are seeing an increase in people getting larger and more powerful dogs for protection and status. Many of these dogs are males and intact. We have cases of serial, rampage attacks by dogs responsible for killing and maiming other dogs. Should we wait and see who's next?

The SPTC and SPPD are aware of these dog bite statics, but are not using them as an excuse to poison, but be pro-active. Preventive measures are designed to minimize risk and should be addressed by the entire community. Reasonable and enforceable laws or ordinances are required for good control of unrestrained or free roaming animals. Laws enforced to ensure that owned animals are confined to their property or kept on a leash make freeing our community of unrestrained and free-roaming animals easier. Although most dog bites occur on the property where the dog lives, unrestrained or free-roaming dogs do pose a substantial threat to the public. Enforcement of restraint laws is, therefore, essential if the incidence of dog bites is to be reduced.

Posted By: collyk

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 06/29/13 07:32 PM

We did find that a worrying number of children, who participated in Be Kind Belize, were bitten by dogs. Most of these were dogs known to the child, belonging to the family, friends of the family or neighbours. What we found was that the bites were often caused by a combination of irresponsible dog ownership, poor supervision of children with dogs and a lack of education of children on how to behave safely around dogs. This is why education is at the root of all of these issues.

What was also of great concern was the number of children who were witness to or participants in cruelty towards dogs. This cruelty was usually initiated by a male role model and as has been established, exposure and participation in the abuse of animals by children is often a worrying precursor for other anti social behaviours including violence towards humans.

On another note, while there have been no fatalities on San Pedro, I personally know of several, very serious dog bites and there was a fatality resulting from a dog bite on Caye Caulker last year. Being bitten by a dog is extremely frightening and often there are associated medical costs. Everyone should be able to walk the beaches and enjoy them without worrying about being bitten by a dog or their dog being attacked.

I applaud the efforts by SAGA, which lay the onus of responsibility exactly where it should lay, with the dog owners.
Posted By: FishingSanPedro

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 07/01/13 07:16 PM

Insistent barking, please make it stop.

Dogs off leash behaving like good citizens, excellent.

Dogs off leash chasing bicycles, please make it stop.

Dogs on leash pulling their masters along and snarling at passers-by, please make it stop.

Dogs guarding their masters person, home, dock, notifying bark please.

Dogs roaming in pacts looking for trouble, please make it stop.

Dog catchers like good cops, get to know who is who in town. Who chases, who licks, who is looking to get petted, who is looking to attack. Good owners, or ones who train meanness.

We have a law, lets enforce it intelligently and use common sense before I get a new dog.
Posted By: cayobook

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 07/02/13 02:29 AM

All good points made here for sure. With my own dogs, both potlickers, here are my observations. Fixed male dog, on leash lying beside me sleeping at a bar, bit bar patron on foot after person got up with cane and unknowingly put his cane on the dogs tail. He nipped, bit, caused it what you want, everyone made it what they believed it was. He was reacting, which is what dogs do. He didnt know that the guy wasnt trying to hurt him. I want the dog at the bar on a leash protecting me. Not from the cane of course, but for when I walk home alone. When a tourist goes by on a bike or walking, he does nothing. When a crack head goes by..he goes ballistic. The fixed female is the same...hates crackheads, loves tourists. Dogs are much smarter than most give them credit for. I do believe they should all be fixed. And under control at all times, whether that be on a leash or voice command. But I do notice that when dogs go after other dogs..its just for a butt sniff and all is good. Very rarely have I seen them start fighting. But this is just my observation.

On a side note....does anyone know what the laws of Belize are regarding livestock in residential neighborhoods? Noise pollution, etc??? Or can you point me in the right direction.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act - 07/02/13 10:25 AM

Originally Posted by cayobook

On a side note....does anyone know what the laws of Belize are regarding livestock in residential neighborhoods? Noise pollution, etc??? Or can you point me in the right direction.

Here on the island, there is no distinction between town and residential,no zoning, it's all the same. The only real difference is the distance from town makes enforcement difficult. Police, inspectors and city officials have transportation problems and about half the island enjoys some freedom from too much government...oops my republican is showing.
My favorite of my favorites is Mark Twain's " The more I know about people, the more I like my dog."
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