Guam Animals in Need has applied for grant funding from the U.S. Department of Interior to support spaying and neutering services on the island.
Cyrus Luhr, GAIN president, says animal management and control has been a constant problem for the community, village mayors, and the government for the last few decades.
He said the island’s stray animal problem has an impact not only on animal welfare but on public health and the local economy. Increasing the number of animal control officers and supporting control and management programs are just two ways of addressing the island’s animal control problems, according to Luhr.
“And it’s a problem that continues to grow. In the 1970s, the number of total dogs on Guam was under 10,000. In 2005, it was estimated to be 20,000 to 25,000. Today, we know that it is over 60,000. So the number continues to grow and the longer we kick the can down the road, the longer … the more costly a problem it would be to fix it. The greater public health issue it becomes,” Luhr said.
He added: “The DOI grant, that is one of the grants that we put in. Hawaii identifies dogs and cats as an invasive species, as they are. If you identify them as invasive species, this does not mean that you have to go out there and kill them all. You want to manage invasive species. The proper way of managing cats and dogs is through spaying and neutering and through adoption programs.”
According to Luhr, they are seeking Interior grant funds of at least $90,000 per year just for spaying and neutering services. The grant would be administered in partnership with the Department of Agriculture.