Bunny…Going Home!!!

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Many of you have seen Bunny at the clinic…and we are happy to report that he is finally ready to move into his new home.  Many thanks to Anna in Belize City for providing a home for Bunny where he can finally be a lap dog along with her other small dog named Fruitbat.

Many thanks as well to Dr. Laurie’s parents, Jan and Tom Droke, for donating $500 U.S. to cover Bunny’s medical and surgical treatements.  Bunny has been our most complicated rescue to date.  He has been treated for flea and tick infestation, malnutrition, ehrlichia and heartworm disease.  He also had suffered severe bite wounds to his right hind leg which eventually had to be amputated.  Bunny was neutered and vaccinated, and will be sent to his new home with a small supply of flea and tick control and heartworm preventative.  Bunny will make the final leg of his journey on Tuesday… from chained up yard dog, to clinic dog, to spoiled house dog!

Since the San Pedro Animal Foundation is such a small charity, a case like Bunny would have used a substantial portion of our funds.  Thanks to this recent donation as well as others, we will be able to help the next Bunny that finds his way to us.

And a final thank you to Bunny’s previous family for recognizing that they did not have the time or resources to take care of a dog at this time, and allowing us to treat him and rehome him.  We know that they miss him but they are happy that he will be well cared for.

Enjoy your new life Bunny in your wonderful new home.  We will miss you but we know you are going to love it!!!
















San Pedro Animal Foundation Donates to Scooby and Ranger

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You may remember Scooby and Ranger from our previous blog post.  Well, last month we went out to check on them again.

Scooby was tied on the veranda with a loaf of bread sitting in front of him.  They tie him because he likes to run around the neighborhood, which is the right thing to do.  The owners were questioned about the loaf of bread, and yes, they do feed him dogfood, but sometimes they also give him other things!
Scooby was clean and looked to be in good health.  They had given all the medication we had left with him the month before.
Once we got Scooby to the clinic we rechecked his bloodwork and it was much improved!  His neuter surgery was performed and went very smoothly.


Ranger lives next door to Scooby, so we checked on him at the same time.  Ranger is a guard dog, and spends his days tied to a boat.  We spoke with the owners and advised them to make sure that he always has access to shade and water.
When we got Ranger back to the clinic we found that he did gain a couple of pounds, although he is still underweight.  Other than this he appeared in good health and his bloodwork had improved just like Scooby’s.  We kept the muzzle on Ranger as a precaution, since he is not accustomed to being handled.
Now that he was healthy enough to undergo surgery the neuter was performed and the procedure and recovery went very smoothly.
Both dogs were delivered home the next day with pain meds and instructions to monitor the incisions.  Ranger’s owners were advised to feed him a little more.  Both owners were thanked for doing the right thing for their dogs and their community by having their dogs neutered.
By going out into communities it is our hope that spaying and neutering will become more accepted in these subdivisions, and others will follow the example these families have set.
The fees for these services are discounted 30% by the San Pedro Animal Hospital, and the remainder is financed solely through the San Pedro Animal Foundation.
I would like to dedicate the treatment of Scooby and Ranger to my Aunt Kay and Aunt Linda, who have repeatedly supported myself and SPAF.
Many thanks to all those who have donated to the San Pedro Animal Foundation, making quality veterinary medical care and education available to all pet owners in San Pedro!

Our Struggles to Promote Spay/Neuter and Humane Euthanasia of Street Animals

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Two weeks ago Saga Humane Society sent a little boy over to our clinic with his female puppy to be spayed free of charge.  His other two male puppies were being neutered at Saga that day.  We did an examination and a blood test on the puppy, but we decided that she was not healthy enough to undergo the operation that morning.  The puppy was dewormed and sent home with two weeks worth of doxycycline pills, which I donated to the cause.  Today was the two week mark, so we called the boy’s family about the spay surgery.  They said they did not have transportation so we offered to go pick up the puppy.  Then they said they did not want the operation after all.  They say this is because their other two puppies were very painful after their neuter surgeries.

Now if you are a vet in San Pedro you get accustomed to hearing a lot of excuses, and my B.S. meter was screaming on this one.  I don’t believe this family’s story.  Something has made them decide that they do not want their female dog spayed.  Do they want the puppies?  Do they want to sell the puppies?  Did someone tell them that spaying her would be dangerous or cause some other unwanted side effect?  I have no idea, but this does illustrate the difficulties we have here in regard to spaying and neutering.  It is definitely not as easy as some people think.  It also illustrates the importance of educating the public.  Donating money is great, but I believe that no amount of money can replace the value of volunteers hitting the streets in communities and providing one on one education.

Our second challenge, that many do not understand, is euthanasia solution.  It is not available in Belize.  Which means it is certainly not cheap to come by.  This month I will be renewing all my licenses which allow me to import euthasol.  This will come to a personal cost of 600 U.S. dollars.  And this does not include the cost of my plane ticket (the DEA will only allow me to carry it myself), the cost of the drug itself, and import permits and duties.

So in reality, the reason the laws of Belize and other third world countries promote poisoning street dogs with strychnine is that it is cheap, it is available, and it is easy to administer.

It is going to take a lot of work to avoid strychnine poisoning by the government in the future.  It was a very humbling experience appearing on the Morning Show last week, but I learned a lot from it.  We are the minority here.  This is not our country.  We have to respect the laws and understand that this is where the country of Belize is right now.  I do not agree with attempting to ruin this country’s tourism over this issue.  The mayor did not give the town a warning before he poisoned the dogs for two reasons.  One was because legally, he doesn’t have to.  The other is that it was a wake-up call.  It was a wake-up call to all of us who support humane euthanasia that we are not doing enough.  And it was a wake-up call to dog owners that if they do not keep their dogs at home they may be legally poisoned.

All of that said, I do believe that this practice will change over time and become more humane.  Strychnine poisoning is cruel, and Belizeans are not a cruel people.  When I was on the Morning Show the mayor gave the example of Hol Chan.  He pointed out that this used to be only a fishing village.  NO ONE wanted to protect Hol Chan as a marine preserve for snorkeling and diving.  But look at Hol Chan now.  Just let someone try to break the laws at Hol Chan and see what Belizeans will do to them, he told us.

Saga Humane Society has a good plan.  Please everyone who cares about the humane treatment of animals go out and help them.  While you are out there collecting dogs talk to people about spaying and neutering.  And if you can, bring the San Pedro Animal Hospital a pet to alter free of charge.  It is only by all of us putting in our own time and energy that the practice of poisoning dogs with strychnine can change.

San Pedro Animal Foundation Yearly Accounts for 2011

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I would like to thank accountant Peter Jones for preparing this report for us at no charge and for serving as the Treasurer of the San Pedro Animal Foundation.  I would also like to apologize for the delay in publishing this as he prepared this for us months ago…

Although the San Pedro Animal Foundation is a relatively small charity I do think that we have been able to make a difference for our patients and their families when they are in need of a helping hand.  In 2011 the foundation spent over three thousand dollars on charitable veterinary care.  As all SPAF bills also receive a 30% discount on services from the hospital this amount is equivalent to $4,500 Belize dollars of veterinary services.

SPAF receives its donations largely unsolicited and without asking anyone to work in fundraising.  For this I am very grateful.   I would like to thank all of our donors who read our stories or come into the clinic with their pets and throw money into the can for those who are less fortunate than themselves.  I would also like to thank our volunteer director Forrest Jones, and Peter Lawrence for funding the original creation of the San Pedro Animal Foundation in 2009.

To see stories about the foundation’s work click on the category San Pedro Animal Foundation News in our blog.

To view the accounts report for last year click on the link below.

SPAF accounts for year to 31-Dec-2011

And one final thank you to my family for all of their donations and support over the last two and a half years.


Laurie Droke, DVM