Guam – The debate over whether or not to try and control or eradicate the island’s stray dog population continued this morning [Thursday] at the legislative hearing room where Municipal Affairs Chair Senator Tina Muna Barnes called a round table to try and find solution to the estimated 40-thousand stray dogs on Guam.
“I don’t want this to be that we have to wait for somebody’s child to get seriously injured,” said Senator Muna-Barnes during this morning’s round table discussion.
Yigo Mayor Bob Lizama told the story of an elderly woman stuck in her house last week because a stray pit bull was camped out in her garage.
“She was actually barricaded in her home, because there was this stray pit bull that sat in her garage,” said the Mayor. “She opened the door and the pit bull lunged at her.” It was 2 days, said Mayor Lizama, before her son came to check on her and get ride of the dog.
And Agana Heights Mayor Paul McDonald said the stray dog problem “is much worse than it was ten years ago.”
“A lot of the stray animal population are mixed breed pit bulls,” said Vincent Salas, one of only 4 of Guam’s Animal Control Officers. “These are what we are finding near the bus stops,” said Salas. “Your kids are being chased… and there is very little we can do because these animals live in the jungles.”
Salas estimated that there are 40-thousand stray dogs on Guam. “We can bring in 20 dogs a day,” said Salas,” but it isn’t going to dent your stray dog population.”
A program of eradication he said must be conducted before a control program can be put in place He agreed with Territorial Vet Dr. Tom Poole’s suggestion earlier this month that they should be shot.
“I know I’m going to get a lot of heat for this, because I”m an animal control officer, but its the only way we see that we’re going to pull ourselves out of this problem.”
However, shooting strays is a proposal that Guam Animal’s in Need [GAIN] President Cindy Barteles strongly opposed. GAIN, she said, advocates control methods. And Barteles announced that a team from the World Society for the Protection of Animals is coming to Guam in June to help the island implement such a program.
Senator Muna-Barnes said she would take the input form those who attended the round-table with the aim of devising new legislation to help deal with it.