A total of 73 dogs and four cats were
vaccinated against rabies last Saturday at the first Saga Humane Society Rabies
Clinic. Rabies is an acute, infectious, often fatal viral disease of the central
nervous system transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. Although rabies
cases are rare in Belize, they do occur, and preventative measures are needed to
The Pan American and World Health
Organizations (PAHO/WHO) through the Ministry of Health provided the rabies
vaccine. Saga Humane Society volunteers and local health inspector Javier
Alpuche assisted with the clinic while the island's temporary veterinarian Dr.
Sheila Schmeling of Corozal performed the vaccinations. Unfortunately,
approximately a dozen puppies were turned away for vaccinations because they
were too young. Puppies and kittens cannot be given rabies vaccination until
they are at least twelve weeks of age. It was suggested that a mobile clinic be
conducted sometime in January to vaccinate these animals and for other pets that
were unable to attend Saturday's clinic. This issue will be addressed at Saga's
monthly meeting on Thursday.
Several Saga directors and
volunteers assisted with the many tasks associated with the day's other
activities, which included selling T-shirts and other miscellaneous items,
distributing educational information and free pet products and a "Get What You
Want!" raffle. Participants in this raffle were allowed to place their tickets
inside a box beside the item of their choice and a number of wonderful prizes
were given. Raffle items were generously donated by Caliente, Amigos del Mar
Dive Shop, Isla Bonita Designs, Tropical Touch Massage & Day Spa, Casa
Picasso, Leslie Soukup Yoga, PepperOni's Pizza, Gecko Graphics, SailSports
Belize, Mark Soukup Wood Art, Sausage Factory, Caye Caulker Water Taxi, Valley
Ruddick, and DÈjý Vu Glassworks. In its ongoing efforts to reduce the stray
animal population on the island, Saga Humane Society also donated a free spay or
neuter for the raffle.
Through this medium, the Society
would like to thank all the wonderful people who contributed the aforementioned
prizes as well as the following sponsors of this first-ever Rabies Clinic: Reef
Radio, Coral Cable Vision, The San Pedro Sun,
the San Pedro Lions Club and San Pedro Distributors. Also many thanks to these
volunteers for all their assistance and hard work: Judy Schriner, Mary
Hawthorne, Kathy Marin, Marie Carroll, Phil Rigby, Sam Foster, Valley Ruddick,
Denise Soukup, Tim Callanan, Nicholas Acosta, Linda Hiller and "Reds" Lara.
Thanks also to the many pet owners who participated in this opportunity to
vaccinate their animals, as well as Dr. Sheila Schmeling, Inspector Javier
Alpuche, PAHO/WHO and the Ministry of Health, for their efforts to make our
animals healthier and our island a safer destination.
Saga Humane Society is a non-profit, non-governmental
organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the island's animals. Saga
operates solely on the donations and contributions of others to support their
efforts "to promote kindness and prevent cruelty to animals." Anyone wishing to
donate money or supplies, or volunteer their services may contact Saga Humane
Society at 226-3266.