The Caye Caulker Humane Society recently organized another spay / neuter event. It wasn’t quite as big a production as the big Helping Paws Beyond Borders event in October but it was a great success!
Dr. Holly Gill and vet tech Jess generously spent 2 of their precious vacation days volunteering at the CCHS clinic spaying and neutering cats and dogs and checking up injured and sick pets. We sure appreciated it since the regular vet, Dr. Zeke has been out of the country for a few months!
And finally, there was a litter of tiny puppies that Sandy is fostering that came in to be checked on by the vet. It was too hard to choose just one shot of them:
The Barrier Reef Sports bar has a new owner and the owner, Scott, has a new BFF!
Shortly after moving to Caye Caulker and taking over the Sports Bar Scott adopted Phin. Now Phin is on staff full time ready to greet you when you come in for a beer or a meal, to play trivia or listen to the Friday afternoon Jam.
You can like the Sports Bar on Facebook and send notes pressuring Scott to post more photos of the adorable Phin. And don’t forget to take a photo with him when you visit!
Pink was found starving and sick in South Point on 10 July. On 2 November he made the journey to his new home outside Minneapolis in the US. Now Hank, he has discovered the joy of autumn leaves, cold weather and snow.
Using poison to control the stray dog population is bad public health.
We all understand the problems caused by an out-of-control dog population. Stray dogs and dogs who are not controlled and cared for by their owners lead to attacks on people and other animals, unsanitary conditions caused by garbage bags being torn open and overpopulation of dogs when they are not spayed and neutered and are allowed to run wild.
Poisoning dogs may seem like a quick, easy and relatively cheap solution. But it doesn’t work, and it’s bad for the community. It would be much more effective for local authorities to enforce existing animal control laws (like leash requirements) and implement (and enforce) policies that will protect humans and dogs such as pet registration and encouragement of spaying and neutering.
Poisoning is dangerous, cruel and, in the end, does not work.
Poisoning is not an effective long-term method of reducing the population of stray dogs
While spay and neuter programs reduce dogs populations long term, in areas where dog have been poisoned, the stray dog population returns to its original size in about a year. According to the organization Vetwork in the UK:
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) now recognises that slaughter often produces a short term effect. Even maximal catching rates (up to 24% of dog population per year) make no significant impact. Where dogs are removed others migrate into the area to fill the ecological niche.” (1)
In a project in Australia using poisoned meatballs to control wild dogs, “populations returned to their initial abundance within 1 year.” (2)
Poisoning dogs is a short-term solution that, in the end, is not an effective way to control the population of stray and poorly cared for dogs.
Dog Poisoning poses a hazard to people, pets and other wildlife
In addition to killing targeted dogs, poisoning is dangerous for people, pets and other wildlife. In one wild dog poisoning project and study in Australia it was found that the unconsumed poisoned bate remains a hazard to animals and humans for up to 8 months, whether it is in an area that gets rained on or not (3).
Poison that is not eaten by dogs at the time of the poisoning can kill wildlife, pet dogs or children who find it long after it’s been set out.
Also, strychnine does not have to be eaten to kill. It can poison animals and people by getting in to the ground water, being inhaled if released in the air or absorbed through mucus membranes. It is not safe to have strychnine uncontrolled in our community.
Dog poisoning is unnecessarily cruel
Strychnine, the poison used to eradicate dogs causes a slow and painful death. Whether ingested by the stray dog who is targeted, the family pet who accidentally eats the poisoned meat or, god forbid, the child who is playing in an area where poisoned bate is left, only a small amount of the poison is required to cause death.
Before dying from strychnine poisoning a dog – or human – experiences extremely painful convulsions and muscle spasms and eventually dies, slowly, from suffocation. (4)
In comparison, euthanizing problem dogs by injection is quick, painless and safe for the community.
What does work to control the dog population?
The population of stray and uncontrolled dogs can be managed and we are able to do it right now. According to the ASPCA, spay and neuter programs are the only way to effectively reduce the population of unwanted animals long term (5).
Here on Caye Caulker we are fortunate to have an excellent Humane Society which is ready and equipped to not only humanely euthanize problem dogs but, more importantly to spay and neuter dogs and cats which will keep the population down long term. The Caye Caulker Humane Society spays and neuters regardless of a person’s ability to pay for the service and spays and neuters both stray and owned dogs.
By enforcing the current leash laws and using that enforcement as an opportunity to educate people about the effectiveness and availability of spaying and neutering, the CCVC could create lasting change in overpopulation of stray dogs on Caye Caulker while safeguarding the health and safety of the people of the island and their beloved pets. The CCVC could also work with the Humane Society to identify dangerous dogs and humanely euthanize them.
Caye Caulker Village is a small community and a spay and neutering education campaign would be fairy easy and cost effective.
Do any of us want to be back here in a year, or two or three, discussing the effectiveness of poisoning and its potential hazard to our community again when the stray dog population has recovered to its current size or bigger? It’s time for a long term, safe and effective policy for animal control on Caye Caulker.
Pink was found a few weeks ago, abandoned, starving, mangy and sick in the mangroves on the southern end of the island. With food, rest, cuddling and medication he’s bouncing back nicely. His oozing sores have cleared up and he’s got a lot of energy and spunk but he’s still naked so until his fur grows in he’s wearing a t-shirt to keep him warm and unsunburned.
‘Q is thrilled to have another dog in the house who’s not an old fogey and she’s taught him how to wrestle and play tug. She lies down to minimize the size difference and lets him win even though she outweighs him by 30 pounds.
Pink is getting excellent medical care from the CCHS but I think ‘Q really deserves credit for most of his recovery.
Debbie is fostering a 5 month old male dog that was rescued a few weeks ago. He was starving and has mange. He is still thin but has regained his spirit and his sweet personality. Debbie is leaving very soon for 6 weeks and he needs a new foster or, even better, a forever home. He’ll need a little extra TLC to get him healthy but he’s worth it! Look at that face!
Remember, it’s not hard to send dogs (especially small ones!) to the US and Canada. Look how cute this guy’s nose is!
On Saturday 9th of February, the Caye Caulker Humane Society provided a mobile clinic through two neighborhoods providing door-to-door veterinary services for critters and their humans. According to the CCHS, the 5 hour caravan comprised of Veterinarian Dr. Zeke, 12 volunteers (including regular CCHS volunteers and some new recruits) and 4 golf carts saw over 100 dogs, gave 80+ vaccinations, de-worming treatments, flea and tick shampoo, Frontline and heart worm prevention along with collars and leashes.
The estimated value of the services and items /medications given out was $3,000. CCHS thanks everyone who has donated money and supplies to them, as well as the volunteers who spent their day helping the pups!
Nathalie from Nash Photographer (nathalie@nashphotographer .com) was visiting the island and documented the whole thing, Click here to see her images of the action and all the cute dogs!
Panda is looking for a permanent home and he’s a catch!
He’s a sweet, well socialized playful dog. We think he’s about 1 year old and weighs about 25 pounds. He loves to cuddle and play with coconut husks.
He’s also a great watchdog. He was barking a bit too much but we’ve been working on that and he’s quieted down a lot. He will let you know if someone is creeping around at night, though.
Panda likes to be included in whatever is going on and he’s very polite in social situations. He likes kids and gets along great with other dogs. He’s a bright, fast learner. We would keep him but we are at our limit of canine family members.
Panda needs a family who is able to give him periodic medication for a few weeks and then keep a close eye on him to make sure he doesn’t relapse (he did once before and he got worse again really fast). That just means looking at him daily to make sure his skin is OK and taking a closer look if he appears to be feeling under the weather. If someone on Caye Caulker adopts him I am more than happy to stay involved and consult on his care.
Please share this if you can, and pass it along to anyone you might know who wants a fantastic pet. Please feel free to contact me (Noelle) with questions or to meet Panda: