Off-island veterinary students eyed to help with stray animal program

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The number of stray animals on island is on the rise. (PNC file photo)

Guam may soon be getting help from off-island for its stray animal program.

Guam Mayors Council President Jesse Alig says that spaying and neutering is the long-term plan to deal with the island’s stray animal problem.

He spoke with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo Wednesday morning about the possibility of flying in veterinary students from off-island to help with that.

Alig said that the idea came up during a meeting with Dr. Paul Maza of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

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“Dr. Maza from Cornell University…what he’s done in the past is he’s brought over to some regions..students…vet students…to help with it. And so of course, it’s something that the local government would have to foot the bill on, so that the students get here, to do the spaying and the neutering, and he proposes that that’s a good resolution to our problem,” the mayor said.

Alig said that during a meeting with Director General Paul Chen of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Guam, Chen proposed a similar idea.

He said that Chen proposed flying veterinary students in from Taiwan to assist with spaying and neutering efforts.

Alig said that the advantage of working with students from Taiwan is that airfare would be cheaper.

He said that details such as airfare, lodging, meals, supplies, and facilities are being worked out between the Department of Agriculture and Dr. Maza.

He said that he hopes to further develop the concept with Director General Chen in the near future.

As to how the program will be funded, the Guam Department of Agriculture is working to acquire a grant from the Department of the Interior.

But Alig said that although the Mayors Council sent a letter in support of the grant, they’re not going to wait around for it.

“We’re working together on that. But what if…and you’re right, there’s a new administration, so hopefully they’ll see our need as well..but if not, then we still have other options. And we want to continue to press forward on it. Because it’s a long-standing problem and like I said, we need to start somewhere to end,” Alig said.

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