The topic of dogs/strays always causes a big controversy in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Most, if not all, residents of San Pedro own a dog, whether it’s for guarding the property or simply because we love pets and have them at home as great companions. But throughout time irresponsible pet ownership has gotten out of hand and dogs run astray causing some serious problems to the island.
Stray/Nuisance Dogs are a problem to the island; they defecate everywhere, turn over garbage bins and leave the town in a mess and not to forget those that viciously attack people. For this and many other reasons The San Pedro Town Council, The San Pedro Police Department and SAGA Humane Society are working together to establish Dog Control Orders for San Pedro Town.
A management method can, over a period of time, produce dramatic reductions of dog bites, stray and roaming animal population. Methods include; licenses and fines, limiting access to resources, spaying and neutering and most importantly education and information to the public. The San Pedro Town Council along with the San Pedro Police Department and SAGA Humane Society intend to pursue enforcement of existing Belize Laws – The Dogs Act Chapter 153.
The San Pedro Town Dog Control Orders will include licensing of dogs whereby the Town Council will keep a register of the pet’s information and will collect a license fee of $2.50 per year. The Leash Law Enforcement will require owners to restrain dogs in private property with a fence, tether or leash and will be required to have the dogs on a leash in public or face being fined up to $100.
A dog catcher will also be hired to seize lost or stray animals and shall be impounded at the Saga and the owner will have to pay to have his/her dog back. If the owner does not claim the dog it will be put for adoption or humanely euthanized; nuisance, vicious or savage dogs will also be dealt with. After proper investigation and police reports made the magistrate will decide whether the dog will be confiscated and what charges will be given to the owners.
All of these laws and bylaws are being revised by the San Pedro Town Council and information will be available to the public when everything has been properly set by law officials. Ambergris Today will keep the public well informed in a timely manner. Education will be essential for this rules and regulations to be followed; SAGA and law enforcement bodies will be going to schools, businesses and the public at large to provide information.