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Jul 26, 2011

City Council rids city of stray dogs

The City Council’s stray dog eradication program has been a contentious issue for over a decade because of the use of strychnine poisoning, which is considered cruel and inhumane. Still, the program continues and is carried out up to three times a year. It falls under the Public Health portfolio, which is held by Councilor Wayne Usher and he told us today that they targeted one hundred and forty-five strays across the city on Monday night. But we didn’t find evidence of the eradication process around the city today and Usher says that’s because the cleanup starts from as early as one a.m.  And while he explains the public health aspect of it, Usher is also against the inhumane method, which is required by law.

Wayne Usher, City Councilor Responsible for Public Health

“We get all year round requests for this because two things; the public health aspect and there’s a nuisance aspect as well where the dogs attack, especially people who are jogging late evening or  early morning; the dogs attack them sometimes. And there’s the nuisance factor where they are barking at even shadows and wake up the neighbors and then they fight amongst each other and there’s a big hullaballoo. Then they get into the public health side where they tear up the garbage, exposed garbage; all types, the bags they tear them open and then if they bite you, you know there’s chance of infection.”

Delahnie Bain

Wayne Usher

“There has been concern in the past about the method used, is it still being done using strychnine?”

Wayne Usher

“I am very happy you asked that question. We are not happy using strychnine to take out the dogs. When I say we—those of us at the council, myself in particular who is in charge of this program—we are not happy about it but I want to say this publically. The laws of Belize, the public health laws say that that is the method for us to use. Strychnine is the poison to be used according to our public health laws. Now, I would be the first to say this. I want to change that. I want us to have a more humane method for putting the dogs down. When we visited Chetumal last week, they used the method that I want to adopt, which is to impound the dogs, catch them first, impound them and then try and rehabilitate them, ask people to adopt them and if all of that fails, then we euthanize the dogs and put them down in a more gentle, humane fashion.”

Usher says that the council has started the process to try to have the law changed.

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9 Responses for “City Council rids city of stray dogs”

  1. Storm says:

    Why must we be so backward and barbaric?

    Why not just have free or low-cost rabies vaccination? And a program to spay and neuter dogs, or to charge a stiff licence fee for animals that are not neutered.

    I’ll bet if our humane societies reach out for help from UK or US organisations, some will be forthcoming.

  2. Grant says:

    Look to San Pedro, and the Saga Humane Society for a model to practice by.

    Strychnine has not been used on the island for years.

  3. Helen Louise says:

    Please lets change this barbaric practise. Talk to Humane Society, they have a solution. This is not the way to attract tourists or investors to our beautiful land.

  4. me says:

    You SOB’s killed my moms dog the last time, she has been in a fenced environment her whole life (the dog not my mom) and i believe she got baited somehow, and the one time she got out of her fencing and was killed….RIP Caramel!

  5. Elgin Martinez says:

    Belizean Citizens are been killed everday with no justice for victims and their family..As a result why would these idiots feel any form of sympathy for these animals.We’ve got problem with implimenting the death penalty to curb crime but yet it’s ok to use it’s against these poor animals that can’t fend for themselves.Hello Human rights,what about animal rights?

  6. cg says:

    This practice is necessary because people are so irresponsible with their dogs. They should know they can’t afford to take care of one and so they let them loose and everybody else has to deal with it. my neighbour don’t even care that their dogs can roam free in and out of their yard, and they don’t even feed them. And these people aren’t broke, just lazy. Don’t get dogs if you dont plan on taking care of them. Otherwise the rest will do what needs to be done…call it inhumane if you want. inhumane are the original owners who let it get this far

  7. Rebel says:

    I don’t know which is worst- the plague of stray dogs, or the plague of UDP Belize City Council imcompetence!!!

  8. Disappointed says:

    I agree with cg. People should not get a dog if they cannot afford it or if they are too lazy to take care of it. Having a dog is a big responsibility if you are going to do the right thing by the dog. It should be a law that you have to spade and neuter your dogs and cats.

  9. CJ says:

    I remember a few years back going to the dump site for my first time to dump our churches trash. Their was a huge pile of something burning in the distance so I walked closer to get a better look and to my surprise it was a pile of dead dogs that the city had erradictated. And what was even more saddening was a beautiful German Shepherd laying on top of the pile that had not burned yet looked like someones beloved pet!!!!! It had been well feed, had a beautiful coat, and if I can remember correctly it had a collar on it as well. i say we test strychnine out on a human and document the results. :)

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