Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Dead Dogs and Stray Dogs

I was asked by the Marianas Variety to make some comments on the stray dog issue on behalf of PAWS.
Dear Mr. Villagomez

PAWS was given credit by the office of Governor for "taking care" of the stray animal issue since the government departments and officials say they cannot do anything about it for awhile.

We would like to know:

1.What are the current steps done by the organization to help the "stray dogs" clean up?
2. Since government officials have nothing to say about the issue, is it good for them to pass the responsibility to organizations like PAWS? Why?

Hoping for your response.


Marianas Variety
My statement is posted below:
I am not the President of PAWS, so this shouldn't count as PAWS's official statement. I am, however, an official of Beautify CNMI and a candidate for Mayor.

First of all, there are two parts to the dog issue. There are stray dogs and then there are dead dogs. The dead dogs were hit by cars and rot on the streets until nature deteriorates the remains. Stray dogs travel the villages in packs, chasing children, bicyclists, ripping open garbage bags and serving as a general nuisance. Most people are concerned mainly with the dead dogs, but many have issue with the stray dog problems as well.

The government is doing nothing to alleviate either of these two problems.

As for their role in cleaning up stray dogs, PAWS gets involved when there is a "rescue." Somebody will find a stray and will call the PAWS phone number to report that they have an animal that needs help. PAWS coordinates with their volunteers and limited funds to find a foster household to nurse the animal back to health. Once the dog is healthy, it goes up for adoption, usually successfully. Depending on the health of the dog when PAWS finds it, this can cost several hundred dollars per animal.

Keep in mind that PAWS is a cash-strapped volunteer-driven non-profit organization made up of people like Katie Busenkell and Retta Sue Hamilton who volunteer their free time to help these needy animals, the stray dogs.

PAWS is not involved with the removal of dead dogs.

As for your second question, it is outrageous that the government with all their resources ($150 million annual budget) would pass their responsibilities off onto community members and voters.

The mayor is responsible for cleaning up stray dogs and DPS is responsible for cleaning up dead dogs if they lie within the right of way of public roads. If the mayor was doing his job and picking up stray dogs, there wouldn't be such a large dead dog problem, as the roving packs of dogs would be safely off the streets.

The mayor of Tinian was able to build a kennel for less than $10,000 and has pretty much taken care of his stray dog problem, and thus their dead dog problem. We could follow his model here on Saipan, and it wouldn't have to cost the $120,000 minimum that Mayor Tudela is asking for.

1 comment:

scubatripp said...

Tinian is a great example of what can be done when people put their collective will behind it.

There is a third issue in my opinion and that is people’s attitudes towards the issue.

Public education (including Government officials) is imperative to any long-term success. Who should fund that program, DEQ, CRM, other. It seems run off contaminated with the fecal matter of stray dogs could be contributing to the regular red flags at our beaches. What we do (our animals do) on land affects our oceans.

Finally, MVA should be involved. Make the latest letter from a pissed off tourist into a huge positive story by spearheading the effort and working towards cleaning up our island for tourists as well as ourselves. Imagine the positive press when that tourist is brought back after the problem is irradiated. CNN anyone?