SAGA Society meets

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 22            June 7, 2001

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"Although much progress has been made there is still much to be done," were the words spoken by Director Bronwen Eastwood recently as members and friends of SAGA met to discuss the society's work.

    The Director then continued to explain the projects accomplished. The first order of business was the completion of the SAGA Society's second newsletter. Its purpose is to inform the general population and members abroad of the society's work. Distribution of the newsletter has not only become a major source of donations, which are always needed, but also solicits additional membership and volunteers to the society. Quarterly newsletters are able to be produced through donations of computer paper, postage and printer cartridges. In regards to these donations, SAGA would like to take this opportunity to extend a special thank you to Mr. Julian Rivero who recently donated and installed a printer for the society's use. Another kind gesture was from Phil Rigby and Marie Carroll of Island Auto Golf Cart Rental, who offered free golf cart hours for the society's work. They also promised to assist the society by checking and forwarding messages regarding SAGA on the Ambergris Caye message board. The generosity of both these businesses is greatly appreciated.

    Other news focused on the vast number of rescued and adopted animals the society has taken care of in the past few months. It should be mentioned that many of these adoptions are only possible through the kindness of foster "parents," in the community, since the society is still working to establish an animal shelter/education center. Dr. Eastwood encourages the public to spay or neuter their animals to prevent more strays on the island. SAGA Society currently provides applications for assistance for this service to people having financial difficulties. A form must be filled out and the board will determine eligibility based on information provided. To verify the need for this, the Director stated they have seven spayed female puppies and several kittens up for adoption that are being housed at her private clinic. Special thanks also go out to all those who have helped by adopting a loving pet. Anyone wishing to adopt or become a "temporary" foster parent for these abandoned animals may contact the society at 3266 or e-mail saga@btl.net

    In other news, it was stated that the board recently met to fill out additional paper work regarding foundation funding. This is a required follow up to the recent grant proposals which were sent to various foundations around the world. At this time, the lack of a US 501C3 tax-exempt status seems to be the biggest obstacle in obtaining these funds. As an answer to this dilemma, it was mentioned there are currently two lawyers working on this status for the society (pro bono) in the States. The Director also revealed SAGA is applying for Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status to assist in acceptance for grants and to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the United Kingdom as well.

    Chairwoman Eileen Jamison then announced that during a recent trip to Mexico, she made contact with the Cozumel Humane Society's director. She proposed SAGA establish an inter-island relationship with this society since they have similar geographical and social challenges and much can be learned from their years in existence. Director Eastwood agreed and added that she had been in contact with World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) office in Costa Rica as well and their director had expressed interest in exchanging ideas and experiences.

    Other business included more advertising space for the society. Director Eastwood informed those gathered that space was kindly offered by Tropic Air in their departure lounge. Several ideas about advertising were discussed as well as for fundraising strategies. All of the above will be discussed and decided upon by the board at their meeting next month. The group was further advised that SAGA Society T-shirts and tank tops (men and women's) are now available for $20 at Dr. Eastwood's clinic across from Ramon's Village.

    Dr. Eastwood announced that SAGA had recently met with the Town Administrator Alberto Villanueva and Mayor Alberto Nuñez to discuss several ways of dealing with the stray animal population on Ambergris Caye. She mentioned they were very receptive and another meeting will be scheduled in the near future as a follow-up to this.

    In closing, the Director announced that SAGA will elect a new Board of Directors at this month's meeting. Anyone interested in joining SAGA or needing more information regarding the society's work may call 3266 or e-mail saga@btl.net.



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