Mayors tackle stray animal problem

The Mayors Council of Guam, in a roundtable meeting, mulled over possible solutions to the island's stray animal problem.

With Guam’s villages continuing to struggle to address its stray animal population, the Mayors’ Council of Guam, in a roundtable meeting, mulled over possible solutions — including introducing an island-wide spay and neuter program and proposing legislation to tighten pet licensing and identification regulations.

MCOG executive director Angel Sablan said Adelup has given a directive for the Department of Agriculture to put a spay and neuter program together as one solution to the stray animal problem. He said the program would require the concerted efforts of Agriculture, Mayors Council of Guam and Guam Animals In Need.

Meanwhile, GAIN executive director Alison Hadley said the body also talked about possible long and short-term solutions to the problem.

“During a meeting at the governor’s office, we discussed long-term and short-term solutions. Long-term is obviously spaying and neutering. There is research that shows that it is the only way out of this problem. It is just matter of fact — you have to spay and neuter them — they can still maintain their territory but not allow babies to continue to grow. Short-term we are working with the Department of Agriculture to try to secure funding to expand the shelter as much as we can so that we can hold more incoming animals. They won’t be as big and elaborate type kennels,” Hadley said.

Yigo Mayor Rudy Matanane, the chairman of the council’s committee on stray animals and roundup, presented the draft bill to the body. The measure intends to repeal and re-enact current laws on pet control and licensing. Matanane said he is working with Senator Sabina Perez to have the bill introduced at the Legislature.

“We are not doing enough and these stray dogs carry disease that at a certain time can be very very dangerous to the citizens of Guam. I kinda repeat myself but one of the things — there are chances that rabies might occur. That hasn’t happened for a lot of years but, you’ll never know, it might just happen tomorrow,” Matanane said.

According to GAIN, the stray animal problem continues to grow on Guam. 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, it is estimated that over 60,000 stray dogs roam the island.