Stray dogs cause a ruckus throughout Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Stray dogs cause a ruckus throughout Guam

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - You've probably seen them in packs, and you may have had to run should they come after you. Stray dogs have become such a problem, the island's mayors are at a point where they're taking matters into their own hands.

Despite efforts over the years to control the stray animal population, it appears matters have only become worse. They've become so bad, some of the island's mayors are even suggesting drastic measures.

A few years ago, Agat mayor Carol Tayama offered her residents a reward for capturing stray animals in the village. Frustrated by what seems to be a never-ending problem, today before the Mayors Council of Guam, she suggested an even more drastic solution. "Forget about the bills, the dogs don't read the bills," she stated. "Let's get out there and I even came to the point where I told the people that if it's on your property, shoot it. If it's on your property and it's not your dog, shoot it. That's coming from me because Agat is infested with stray dogs and what the people are saying is its running after their kids walking to the school bus, let's do something."

While drastic, it was a similar suggestion offered by several mayors during a lengthy discussion on the status of the Stray Animal Roundup Committee formed awhile back. "Every single day, I have people approach me and I get phone calls," the mayor explained. "What we need is really action."

Yigo mayor Rudy Matanane is the chairperson of the committee and gave a status on efforts to refine current laws along with introducing new bills to help combat the problem. He said, "It's to better the control and the work at hand that we're going to have to do in trying to reduce the population of the stray dogs and controlling it."

He says the Stray Animal Roundup Committee consists of members from the Department of Agriculture, Animal Control and Guam Animals in Need. But he's also requested involvement with the Humane Society, the Guam Police Department and the Governor's Office. "I requested for the governor to assist us in trying to build up the manpower at (Department of) Agriculture, which is the Animal Control," the mayor recalled. "So we were asking for $240,000 a year, but they were gracious us to give us $200,000 and that would start this year."

Matanane tells KUAM News there are only three people at Animal Control and this extra funding could double the count. But until the stray animal population is controlled, several mayors like Dededo's Melissa Savares says the solution can't be left with just one entity but the entire community, adding, "The key is trying to educate people, they know there's a leash law, they know they have to keep these pets restrained, but I've read memos that came from mayors in the 70's and they were talking about stray dogs 0258 and its 2015 and we're still talking about stray dogs, 40 years later."

In the meantime, Matanane a resolution is being drafted to support the committee's efforts and any impending legislation. He expects a bill to be presented to the Guam Legislature within the next two months. 
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