SAGA Society and the San Pedro Advisory
Committee (SPAC) met last week and are joining forces to aid in the control of
stray animals on the island. Director/Dr. Bron Eastwood and Chairwoman Eileen
Jamison of SAGA Society, and Corry Mc-Dermott and Ramon Nuñez Sr. of the SPAC
were joined by resident Dr. Bob Morris, a retired US veterinarian, to discuss
what is currently being done by SAGA and what they can do to assist. After a
discussion of the numerous domestic animal problems facing Ambergris Caye, it
was decided to form a sub-committee of the SPAC, namely an Animal Control
Committee, involving the services of Health Inspector Acosta for the eradication
aspect. Dr. Bron Eastwood was named as Chairperson with the previously mentioned
persons named as directors for the committee.
Land for an
animal shelter was the number one need listed by SAGA for the implementation of
their plans. After eliminating the areas not suitable for such a shelter,
several suggestions were made and members of the committee agreed to follow up
with certain land owners on SAGA's behalf. The Director stated that funds had
been raised to build the shelter and continued to be solicited from several
charitable foundations abroad. Dr. Eastwood stated the lack of a US 501C3 Tax
Exempt certificate as the only obstacle in obtaining US funding from some of
these institutions. Dr. Eastwood has obtained a "do-it-yourself" legal kit to
file for this certificate (via an animal rights society over the Internet), but
kindly requests the services of any attorney or knowledgeable person's
assistance in preparing and eventually obtaining this document.
In regards to education, Dr. Eastwood mentioned the
visits she had made to the elementary schools, teaching children of the island
how to safely handle animals. She further informed that she would be attending
the United States Human Society Congress the following week and would gather
further educational materials and information needed for licensing of animals.
The laws of Belize pertaining to animals were then discussed and will be
reviewed by the SPAC before the next meeting. Enforcement of these laws was
another issue addressed by the committee and several options will be
investigated. Director Eastwood explained that she and the Health Inspector had
submitted a proposal to the Mayor of San Pedro Town last year. Mr. McDermott
promised to contact the Town Administrator and Mayor Nuñez as well as the
appropriate government agencies for their input into these challenges.
The next meeting of the Animal Control Committee is
scheduled for March 30th.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of this solution may contact Corry
McDermott at 2161 or Dr. Bron Eastwood at 3266.