Mayors tackle possible solutions to stray animal problem

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Mayors and vice mayors from the northern to the southern villages convened at the Yigo mayor's office on Thursday to discuss solutions --- ranging from infusing funds to support a spay and release program to strengthening licensing laws through legislation.

The Mayors’ Council of Guam’s Stray Animal Round-up committee weighed in on possible solutions to the growing stray animal control problem as well as funding challenges during a meeting this week.

Mayors and vice mayors from the northern to the southern villages convened at the Yigo mayor’s office on Thursday to discuss solutions — ranging from infusing funds to support a spay and release program to strengthening licensing laws through legislation.

The group also touched upon beefing up the animal control citation process as a potential funding source for other animal control activities.

Dr. Thomas Poole, the territorial veterinarian, also spoke about utilizing government funds to subsidize spaying and neutering dogs for low-income pet owners.

Poole said around $40,000 — which is the annual salary of one animal control officer — could pay for the spaying and neutering of around 1,500 dogs.

“I think we can do at least 20, probably 30 spays a week. If we did 30 spays a week, that’s at least 1500 spays a year for 40,000 dollars, the cost of one animal control officer,” Poole said.

He added: “That’s going to quickly make a difference, in terms of one or two or three years. You are going to start seeing a difference just from doing 1500 spays a year for the cost of one fairly low ranking government of Guam employee.”

Allison Hadley, the executive director of Guam Animals In Need, said she is one hundred percent in support of spay and neutering.

“It is the opinion of our board that spaying and neutering is the only option to get out of this problem. We feel that there is enough research there from other countries and other communities that demonstrate that spaying and neutering does work,” Hadley said.

She added: “So what it is … is a long term solution and it will take some time. It will take a more cooperative and cohesive plan among everybody that is at this table, as well as the community as a whole.”

On the potential funding sources for stray animal control activities, Sen. Sabina Perez suggested tapping into the invasive species fund, which are fees collected from inspections done at Guam’s ports of entry.

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