“My neighbor keeps the dog tied up all day and night in the cold and rain. It cries all the time.”
“They have four dogs and they are all starving. They beat them with sticks.”
“Someone hit this dog with their car on purpose.”
“My neighbor moved away and left the dog tied up”
“This dog is sick by the side of the road and has a collar. It must belong to someone.”
Every single day CAWS gets Facebook messages just like these. The messages usually end with “Can you come and get the animal?”
We do not have a shelter. We are just a few volunteers, all with full time jobs. Our mission is to provide for a better life for domestic animals in Cayo through education, maintenance and health care, especially spaying and neutering to reduce the population of dogs and cats.
Sometimes we have foster families available but often we do not.
The fact that so many kind and concerned people message us about abuse and neglect as well as comment in outrage on our abuse and neglect posts on Facebook tells us that many in our community know this is wrong and that something needs to be done. This gives us hope that things can change, but it will only change if you let your feelings and even your anger at this situation be known to those who can do something about it.
So, what can you do?
Act on your own
If you can, talk to your neighbor about their treatment of their pets. They may be willing to give up their animal to you. If so, we can help with the animal’s medical needs until we or you can find a good home.
If you find a sick or abandoned dog or cat, take the animal in. We can help with medical needs until we or you find another home. You might even decide to keep the animal! Believe us, they will love you forever and be the most loyal pet you’ve ever known.
Speak up and speak out to the authorities
Report abuse to the police. There are two laws in Belize that protect dogs and cats from abuse and neglect, the Cruelty to Animals Act and the Belize Dog Act. Document the abuse or neglect with photos and video if possible. Send us the report and we will follow up.
Talk to your town councilors and pressure them to put a system in place for rescuing dogs and cats from dangerous situations. The SISE Town Council even established an Animal Welfare Board led by Councilor Omar Rodriguez. A budget and other plans were in the works to establish a rescue system that would have the local police work with an animal welfare officer to investigate and even confiscate abused animals and rescue strays. Ask your local leaders what is being done about this horrible situation. Ask them why the laws are not being enforced.
If you see animal abuse and neglect and you care about animals, act! Working together, our community can make life better for Cayo’s dogs and cats.