The Saga Humane Society was founded in March of 1999, mainly in response to the animal control measures used in Belize: strychnine-laced bait tossed onto the streets at night for any animal unlucky enough to be wandering around and hungry. It was a time when no veterinary services were available in San Pedro. A small group of women, one of them a medical student, banded together to do what they could to aid the suffering stray dogs on the streets.
The newly formed nonprofit animal organization started out in a little building across from Ramon’s Resort with a fenced-in yard. The front yard, to the chagrin of all the neighbors, served as the only animal shelter in Belize at the time.
After much work and dedication, a shelter was built on land purchased by the Humane Society, and lovingly called: “Fort Dog”. Fort Dog houses lost, unwanted, and homeless dogs and puppies who receive treatment and loving care until they are found an adoptive family. Fort Dog, in its current state, houses up to 40 animals at any given time. The Saga Humane Society Veterinary Clinic on Sea Star Street houses the Saga cattery where there are always plenty of kittens and cats looking for a loving home.
Saga Humane Society’s mission is promoting kindness and preventing cruelty to all domestic and wild animals. This is achieved first and foremost through the humane education program that Saga is working to implement within the community of San Pedro. Currently, education is spread via brochures, websites, articles in the local newspapers, and most importantly; word of mouth. Anyone who comes into the clinic with a new puppy or an old dog that is not current on its preventative medicine such as vaccines or heart worm treatment is educated on the importance of such treatments. Many of these people will pass this valuable information on to neighbors and family members who also have pets.
Volunteers and employees do outreach programs for members of the community who have animals that appear to be ill cared for, or that are not spayed or neutered and continue to have unwanted puppies or kittens. Saga representatives inform these members of the community that their animal can be brought to the Saga Humane Society for low cost or subsidized veterinary treatment and surgery. Another important way we achieve our goal of education is by example. By adopting out healthy, vaccinated, altered (spayed or neutered) animals, many in the community can see how well a dog who receives minimal preventative care looks and behaves. It is obvious that a playful, strong, happy, shiny coated animal is preferable to a sickly, scruffy animal full of scars from fighting in the streets!
Saga Humane Society is governed by a volunteer board of directors made up of residents and non-residents of San Pedro:
Dr. Heather McGowan – President, Director of Humane Education/International Veterinary Medicine
Tula Ayuso – Vice President
Amy Lewis – Treasurer & Secretary
Kathy Marin – Director of Animal Well-Being
Their work is performed by a small dedicated staff and a large number of volunteers. They, at Saga, can always use a helping hand and always appreciate the generosity of visitors. They are a non-profit organization with 501 ( c ) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. Check out the animals they have for adoption or some of their success stories on their website.
The animals and everyone else over at Saga thank you for your interest, and always look forward to seeing or hearing from you!