Representatives of the Saba Foundation for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Saba FPCA) Suzanna van den Elshout and Evette Peterson informed the public on a confirmed case of Canine Distemper infection in a dog recently brought to the island from St. Eustatius. The confirmation was made available by St. Maarten-based veterinarian Dr. Chris de Witt who, after returning from the vet clinic on Saba on February 24, ran tests which suggested a strong positive for Canine Distemper infection in one of the dogs that died.
Van den Elshout explained that the case involved two puppies found in a ditch in St. Eustatius, which were adopted and finally brought to Saba after first being in the care of St. Maarten veterinarian Dr. Garry Swanston who vaccinated the puppies before their arrival on Saba. The first puppy became sick immediately, presumably suffering from pneumonialike symptoms and died. The second puppy became sick and was brought to the vet clinic on the 24th but at that stage had to be isolated and put down.
Dr. de Witt and the Saba FPCA advise that all dogs that might have come in contact with the puppy be vaccinated. Pet-owners in the Hell’s Gate area are strongly advised to do so. The current situation has recently been a topic of discussion with local government law-enforcement stakeholders regarding the responsibility for oversight through border controls on pets being brought to the island. In the present situation the type of sickness that the puppies brought can have potentially devastating consequences for the dog population on Saba in a short amount of time said Van den Elshout.
The Saba FPCA is looking into the possibility of purchasing, at hoped for discounted prices, vaccines for the dogs on the island.
The representatives of the Saba FPCA also brought to the attention of the public the recent public notice number six of the Executive Council of the Public Entity Saba, which informs that “in accordance with besluit #71/05 (Mandatory Identification and Registration of Domestic Animals) the 2012 so-called pet licence fees are now due,” on or before March 21, 2012.
The payments can be made at the Trail Shop in Windward side from 10:00am until 4:00 PM Tuesday to Friday, and from 10:30am until 2:30pm Saturday and Sunday. The public notice informing on the requirement to comply with the US $6 annual pet fee and/or the breeder’s fee of US $60.00 is noteworthy because it indicates a first attempt at actually enforcing the fee collection regulation that existed on record for years. The public notice reads, “Failure to comply can result in a government issued fine.”
In discussions had by the Saba FPCA with law enforcement stakeholders it was Saba FPCA had first conducted a survey of free-roaming pets on Saba in 2003, based on old legal statutes on pet licensing designed to eliminate freeroaming of pets. In 2004 registration was complimentary and since 2005 the fee collection began with annual reports submitted by the Saba FPCA to the government. However, no actions were taken against the “small minority” that did not comply with the fee collection. This changed earlier this year after a free-roaming dog incident highlighted that the non-compliant pet owners’ irresponsible actions pose a threat to the public and other animals said van den Elshout.
The government, concerned about the freeroaming animals and the aggression and lack of respect shown towards the animal protection volunteers, recognised the challenges faced by Saba FPCA and called on all law enforcement stakeholders for a meeting on February 2.
Source: “The Daily Herald” 2012-03-01