The Guam Department of Agriculture is working on implementing a plan to address the stray dog problem that has plagued the island for years.
The program is known by its acronym SARU, which stands for Stray Animal Round-Up.
Department of Agriculture Director Chelsa Muna-Brecht Wednesday briefed the Mayors Council of Guam on the proposed plan, urging them to spread the word to residents of their village to get their pets registered with the Department of Agriculture as soon as possible.
“First is giving people notice that they need to register their pets. And any dogs not registered or tagged will be seized. The dogs will either be spayed, neutered, or, if they’re overly aggressive, they’ll be euthanized,” Muna-Brecht said.
The stray animal roundup program still lacks federal funding and legislative approval. But a technical assistance grant application is now in the works and Muna-Brecht says it has the strong backing of the governor and senators she has spoken to.
“The TAP grant application is due in April, so we anticipate funding typically around June or July before we receive it. And then for the legislation, we’re working with Sen. Ridgell’s office right now on fine-tuning some of the points,” Muna-Brecht said.
When fully approved and funded, Muna-Brecht says village residents can expect an all-hands-on approach as animal control officers will work with village mayor staff members to round up as many strays as they can catch.
“We’ve gotten so many reports about animals attacking people or aggressively attacking children. But implementation? Will probably be somewhere around summer. This gives us a great 6-month window to get the word out to everyone to register your pets,” Muna-Brecht said.
Yigo Mayor Rudy Matanane is spearheading the program for the mayors.
“There are about 60,000 stray dogs and a lot of those dogs are feral, very dangerous for people and most especially for kids and even dangerous for the dogs themselves who are not as mean as the feral dogs. Yes. It’s very, very bad. I know there is going to be a lot of stumbling blocks and just doing the right thing,” Matanane said.