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May 6, 2022

The Saga of Saving Animals in San Pedro

Tonight on the Bright Side, Sabreena traveled to Ambergris Caye where she visited an animal rescue shelter in San Pedro. If you are a dog lover, the following story is for you.  Here’s a look at a community effort on the island to provide a home for abandoned pets.


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

Ambergris Caye is arguably the most popular tourist destination in Belize, heavily favored by foreigners and locals, alike. Bounded by relaxing beaches, San Pedro’s urban appeal makes for an ideal blend of work and relaxation. But where the town grows with visitors and residents, so does the plague of animal cruelty and abandonment.

Eileen Jamison

Eileen Jamison, Founder, Saga Humane Society
“There were seven of us who were very concerned about the animal population on this island; this was in March of 1999 we were established. Because of the overall health of the population, there was so much parvo and distemp running rampant on the island; we knew there were need for veterinary services and some education for people.”


The mission of San Pedro’s Saga Humane Society is to promote kindness and prevent animal cruelty.  Its founder, Eileen Jamison, says the initiative is a community effort.
Eileen Jamison
“We really rely on the community for a lot of the notifications of the animals in need and we all live in different parts of the island too so we see as we travel to work and other places animals who need help. Right now, we have 30 dogs and 40 cats. We’ve had as many as 70 cats and 55 dogs.”


It’s a labor of love, one that Ingrid Lima, Saga’s veterinary technician, knows all about.

Ingrid Lima

Ingrid Lima, Veterinary Tech, Saga Humane Society
“Since young age, I feel inside of me that I want to help. You could help in any different ways, help kids, but animals don’t have a voice. They don’t choose to come to this world. So, we’re the voice of the voiceless. That’s my passion. We have several cases that you can imagine. One of those was this dog tied 24/7, no food, no water and when we went there and rescued this dog, it was too late. We needed to get him euthanized. Those cases hit my heart, all that you have inside. That’s why we’re here—to fight for them.”

Eileen Jamison
“Really research what you need to do to have a healthy animal because there’s so many unhealthy animals and just like unhealthy humans, they’re not happy. To get a dog for your yard, just for protection, we really don’t encourage that because dogs are pack animals. Just like humans, they need other animals or other humans around them and they need care, they need compassion, they need love, they need cuddles. They need grooming just like a human does. They’re just like humans in that respect.”


And beside the much-needed access to healthcare for these animals, Saga enforces animal health education to know how to best to care for your pets.
Eileen Jamison
“It’s come a long way with education. We’ve had an education program, It’s not current, but we have really made strides with informing people how to care for their animals and now they see their neighbor’s is in much better condition than theirs and they’re wondering, what can I do to make my animal look that healthy. So once somebody brings it to our attention, then we send Noemi, who is our animal rescuer, I guess you would call it. She’s got a real rapport with animals. She would go and Walter, who is our other animal expert. They would go and pick it up and bring it in. Ingrid, who is our veterinary technician will assess it and see what its needs are, do basic first aid on it and give it a quiet place to stay in the other room that you saw all the animals who are recovering. There was quite a few. We have that as an isolation room when they are under treatment so that they are not around the other animals and keep infections from spreading and things like that.”

So, if you’ve done your research and feel it’s time to have a furry friend, consider adoption shelters around you before purchasing an animal.
Ingrid Lima
“I will encourage the community, before you go and buy an animal, go and visit the shelter. We have more than five humane societies that rescue animals in all Belize. Go there, don’t go and buy a dog when we have more than a hundred dogs that need a home. Before they go in adoption, we train them– House breaking, how to walk on leashes, good behavior. So, before that, our animals go very trained by the expert, Kathy Marin.”


And the best part about looking for a pet at a shelter…they’re also looking for you too…


Looking on the Bright side, I’m Sabreena Daly.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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