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Imagine growing up with your family and loved ones around you.  Imagine the security of knowing that you’ll be cared for and loved into your old age, that someone will be there for you to make sure that you are able to enjoy your final years with comfort and care.  Now imagine being elderly and your family moving away, just abandoning you and leaving you behind.  Wouldn’t you wonder why they don’t love you anymore?

Chubby & Capri are two gentle and loyal cats.  They were born in 2000 and spent their entire lives with their family, who apparently cared for them and loved them all of that time.  As all responsible pet owners know – pet ownership is a lifelong commitment.  Sadly for Chubby & Capri, their owners were not responsible.

Chubby & Capri had no idea that when their owner left that they would never come back, but that is exactly what happened.  Their owner left them in temporary care and then they just said they weren’t coming back.  For over ten years, Chubby and Capri had a family that loved them and then, that family abandoned them.

Poor Chubby & Capri.  It’s not their fault. They are very good cats – a bit overweight, but lovely and sweet.  Now, during a time when they should be enjoying their ‘senior’ years, they are homeless and probably wondering why their previous owners don’t love them anymore.

They are currently living at SAGA Humane Society, where the staff are trying to keep them comfortable and happy, but it isn’t the right place for a pair of older cats who’ve spent their whole lives as family pets. Chubby & Capri need someone to come into their lives to restore their faith in human beings.  They need someone who truly does understand that pet ownership is a lifelong commitment. They need someone who will love them truly and forever.  Chubby  & Capri have already gone through so much upheaval that SAGA Humane Society believes that it would be best to keep them together.

Please give Chubby and Capri a chance to show you that love lasts a lifetime.  If you are thinking of getting a pet, remember that cats and dogs live well over ten years.  A good and responsible owner understands this and makes sure that their pets are cared for, especially when they are older.  Pets are dependent on us and should never have to wonder why their owners don’t love them anymore.

If you can give a permanent and loving home to Chubby & Capri or to any other animal in need, please call SAGA on 226 3266 and they will be more than happy to help.


Heartworm – Dirofilaria immitis


Heartworm Lifecycle

Heartworm is a preventable, but serious and potentially fatal, parasite that primarily infects dogs, cats and ferrets. It can also infect a variety of wild animals, including wild canids (e.g., foxes, wolves, coyotes), wild felids (e.g. tigers, lions, pumas), raccoons, opossums, and pinnipeds (e.g., sea lions and seals), as well as others. There have been documented human infections, but they are thought to be rare and do not usually result in signs of illness.

How is heartworm disease transmitted and what does it cause?

Heartworms can only be transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, young heartworms called microfilariae enter into that mosquito’s system. Within two weeks, the microfilariae develop into infective larvae inside the mosquito; these

infective larvae can be transmitted to another animal when this mosquito takes its next blood meal. Unlike dogs, infected cats do not often have microfilariae circulating in their blood, and an infected cat is not likely to transfer the heartworm infection to another mosquito.

The infective larvae mature into adult heartworms in approximately six months. During the first three months, the larvae migrate through the animal’s body, eventually reaching the blood vessels of the lungs. During the last three months, the immature worms continue to develop and grow to adults, with females growing to lengths of up to 14 inches. The worms damage the blood vessels, and reduce the heart’s pumping ability, resulting in severe lung and heart disease. When the animal shows signs of illness due to adult heartworm infection, it is called heartworm disease.

If adult worms (5-7 months post-infection) of both sexes are present, they will mate and produce new microfilariae. The microfilariae can cause the animal’s immune system to mount a reaction; this immune reaction can actually cause damage to other organs. This life cycle continues when a mosquito bites the infected animal and becomes infected by the microfilariae. After development of the microfilariae to infective larvae within the mosquito (10 days to 2 weeks later) the infective heartworm larvae are capable of infecting another animal. Adult heartworms can survive for 5 to 7 years in dogs and several months to years in cats.

What pets should be tested for heartworm?

Because heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, any pet exposed to mosquitoes should be tested. This includes pets that only go outside occasionally.

How can I tell if my pet has heartworm disease?

Dogs: If your dog has been recently or mildly infected with heartworms, it may show no signs of illness until the adult worms have developed in the lungs and signs of heartworm disease are observed. As the disease progresses, your dog may cough, become lethargic, lose its appetite or have difficulty breathing. You may notice that your dog seems to tire rapidly after only moderate exercise.

Numerous diagnostic tests are available for your ve terinarian to detect the presence of adult heartworm infection (> 6 month old infections) in your dog. Antigen tests detect the presence of adult female heartworms, and antibody tests determine if your pet has been exposed to heartworms. The antigen test is most commonly performed, and is very accurate in dogs. Further tests, such as chest radiographs (x-rays), a blood profile and an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart), may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis, to evaluate the severity of the disease, and to determine the best treatment plan for your dog.

Cats: Signs of possible heartworm disease in cats include coughing, respiratory distress, and vomiting. In rare cases, a cat may suddenly die from heartworms.

The diagnosis of heartworm infection in cats is more difficult than it is with dogs. A series of different tests may be needed to help determine the likelihood of heartworm infection as the cause of your cat’s illness and, even then, the results may not be conclusive. In general, both antigen and antibody tests are recommended for cats to give the best chances of detecting the presence of heartworms.

How can my pet be treated?

Dogs: As with most medical problems, it is much better to prevent heartworm infection than to treat it. However, if your dog does become infected with heartworms there is an FDA-approved treatment available. There is substantial risk involved in treating a dog for heartworms. However, serious complications are much less likely in dogs that are in good health and when you carefully follow your veterinarian’s instructions.

The goal of heartworm treatment is to kill the adult worms and microfilariae present in your dog, as safely as possible. However, when a dog is treated it is important to consider that heartworms are dying inside the dogs lungs. While your dog is treated, it will require complete rest throughout hospitalization and for some time following the last treatment. Additionally, other medications may be necessary to help control the body’s inflammatory reaction as the worms die and are broken down in the dog’s lungs.

Cats: There is currently no effective and safe medical treatment for heartworm infection or heartworm disease in cats. If your cat is diagnosed with heartworms, your veterinarian may recommend medications to reduce the inflammatory response and the resulting heartworm disease, or surgery to remove the heartworms.

Can heartworms be surgically removed?

Surgical removal of heartworms from dogs and cats is a high-risk procedure and is typically reserved for severe cases. However, in many cases surgical removal of heartworms may be necessary to afford the best opportunity for survival of the pet.

Can heartworm disease be prevented?

Heartworm infection is almost 100% preventable in dogs and cats. There are several FDA-approved heartworm preventives available in a variety of formulations. Your veterinarian can recommend the best method of prevention based upon your pet’s risk factors and lifestyle. Of course, you have to remember to give your pet the preventive in order for it to work!

The preventives do not kill adult heartworms, and will not eliminate heartworm infection or prevent signs of heartworm disease if adults are present in the pet’s body. Therefore, a blood test for existing heartworm infection is recommended before beginning a prevention program to assess the pet’s current heartworm status. Because it is more difficult to detect heartworms in cats, additional testing may be necessary to make sure the cat is not infected.

Testing must then be repeated at appropriate intervals. The next test should be performed about 6 months after starting the preventive treatment, to confirm that your pet was not infected prior to beginning prevention (remember, tests only detect adult worms). Heartworm tests should be performed annually to ensure that your pet doesn’t subsequently become infected with the disease and to ensure the appropriate amount of medication is being prescribed and administered. There have been reports of pets developing heartworm infection despite year-round treatment with a heartworm preventive, so having your pet tested regularly is the best way to keep them protected.




It’s a common story and one that SAGA Humane Society hears much too often –“I brought my dog or cat from another country and now I can’t take him back with me.”  Or, even worse, “I went to another country to get my pet and now I don’t want him anymore”.  You would imagine that people who go through all the trouble and cost of importing a pet would be committed to caring for it for the rest of its life. As all responsible animal lovers know – a pet is a lifelong commitment. Pets are not disposable.


Sadly for sweet, sweet Mocha, he was just abandoned like a piece of garbage on the street.  He was brought to San Pedro from Mexico and then dumped when his irresponsible owner didn’t want him anymore.  If only they had brought him to SAGA straight away.  Unfortunately, some people make the unbelievable decision to just leave their dog to a life of danger, disease and misery on the streets even when we have a very good humane society who will care for the animal and find it a loving new home.


Little Mocha ended up becoming a street dog, his only companions a group of street dwelling alcoholics from whom he was able to scavenge small amounts of food and the occasional kindness.


One day he was badly savaged by a group of dogs.  He received very serious injuries to his neck, which with no care, gradually grew into a huge hole.  Finally, someone took pity on Mocha and brought him into the loving care of SAGA Humane Society, where he immediately received the very best in veterinary care.  The staff worked very hard to give Mocha the attention and medical support he needed until he recovered fully – the only thing to left remind anyone of his terrible experience was a scar on his neck.


Like so many dogs that SAGA Humane Society rescue, Mocha was a very sweet dog – just like his namesake – and it wasn’t long before a wonderful family met him and fell in love with his courage and cute personality.  Now Mocha has the permanent and responsible home he deserved from the beginning.  He has a forever home.


If you or someone you know has to give up their pet for any reason at all,

call SAGA on 226 3266 and they will be more than happy to help.  All dogs and cats deserve a sweet, sweet ending.











There aren’t many things that everyone in San Pedro agrees about, but no onewould argue with you when you say ‘It’s hot!’. It has been very warm the pastcouple of months and it looks like we may be in for a long and very hot summer.While we seek out the shade and drink ice cold drinks to cool us down, weneed to remember that our furry friends feel the heat just like we do. The onlydifference is that they depend on us to provide them with shade and fresh, coolwater.
Recently, a family in San Pedro suffered the tragic loss of their much loveddog. Why? Because they didn’t realise that dogs can suffer terribly in the heat.Their loyal pet followed them on a journey along San Pedro’s dusty roads oneafternoon. He seemed enthusiastic to run and stayed with them as he often doeson their journeys, running along beside them.
What this dog’s owners didn’t realise was that dogs often place their loyaltyabove their own health and welfare. They believed that if the dog became toohot or tired, he would rest or find a drink. Sadly, it was too late before theyrealised that their beloved dog had overheated and he died.
Remember that in the hot sun, your dog may be even more uncomfortable thanyou are. He’s wearing a fur coat, after all. It is best not to exercise your dogduring the hottest hours of the day – between 11am and 3pm. If you have totake your dog out during this time, make sure that you give him breaks in theshade and have plenty of fresh drinking water available.
Dogs do not sweat like humans do, so they can become overheated very quickly.If your dog is panting, you know he’s hot. Make sure you provide shade for yourdog during these hot ‘dog days’ of summer and have a plentiful supply of freshwater available to him at all times. Never leave him tied up in the sun.Keep an eye out for the symptoms of heat stroke, which can include any
of the following: heavy panting, dark red and dry gums, lying down andunwilling (or unable) to get up, collapse and/or loss of consciousness, thicksaliva and dizziness or disorientation. If you think your dog has suffered fromheat stroke, there are things you can do to help save your dog.
1. First, move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.2. Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on thebody – especially the foot pads and around the head.3. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! This can make the situation worse.4. Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth.5. Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internaldamage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary
Have a cool canine – not a hot dog!
If you are worried about a dog that may be over heating or suffering from heatstroke, call SAGA on 226 3266 for further advice.

Keep your dogs cool with fresh water


Many people don’t realize how much their pet is worth.  Pets are tremendously valuable.  Aside from their traditional roles as guards, farm workers, hunters and companions – research shows that having a pet makes us healthier.  Pet owners have better general health and lower blood pressure than non pet owners.  Kids with pets in their home take fewer sick days from school and have better non verbal communication.  Older pet owners are less lonely and more likely to be active if they own pets.  Of course, human beings only receive these benefits if they are responsible pet owners.

This year SAGA has seen an increase in the number of pets that have been purchased at great cost to the owner, given up for adoption.   Why would people spend hundreds of dollars on a dog, only to give it away to SAGA?

Many people will share stories of the local pot licker, its loyalty and good temperament with children.  If the ‘pot licker’ were considered a breed, maybe it would have more value.  Certainly, the Belizean pot licker is a unique dog and Belizeans should be proud to own one.  But some people want something specific – such as a certain coat colour or size – and so they go to pet shops or breeders to buy a pet off the shelf, in much the same way they’d buy a box of corn flakes.  The big difference is that a healthy, well cared for pet can live for 14 years or longer.  Pet ownership is a big commitment and should be taken especially seriously by parents wishing to teach their children about behaving responsibly.

The pets that are being given up to SAGA did nothing wrong except grow up.  The cute little puppy that was purchased six months ago has turned into a demanding, large and active dog that needs training, exercise and company.  Unfortunately, the people who purchased the puppy didn’t think it through and now there is an unhappy ending.  The children are sad and feel like failures, the adults have lost several hundred, maybe thousands of dollars raising the puppy and the dog is homeless, no longer loved or wanted.

If you are considering getting a pet, try your local humane society first.  In San Pedro, it’s SAGA.  Pet ownership is not a decision to take lightly or to make on the spur of the moment. The experts at SAGA will help you to find the perfect pet for your needs.  Once you have adopted the a dog or cat, you’ll soon discover how valuable a pet truly is.


As we watch the changes in San Pedro we all get to know that with progress comes the good and the bad.  Unfortunately it is often our furry friends who end up paying the toll.  Freeway is a good example of this.

Recently taxis have been allowed to cross the bridge to the part of the island north of the cut.  Dogs who live in town grow up around taxis and learn how to stay safe and out of the way as they pass.  But for dogs north of the cut, taxis are a new and unknown danger.

Freeway grew up footloose and fancy free at a resort on the north side of the island because his owner lived and worked there.  He had not seen many taxis in his lifetime and because he was neglected by his irresponsible owners, he was just allowed to wander around on his own.  This had been safe enough until the taxis were allowed to cross the bridge.

Poor Freeway didn’t know anything about how to stay out of the way and before long he was run over.  Sadly, his owners didn’t care enough for him to take him to SAGA and have his injury treated.  So, his foot got worse and worse, leaving him in pain and suffering – only able to hobble around on three legs.  Luckily for Freeway, some kind tourists took pity on him and brought him to SAGA.

It was too late for Freeway and he ended up paying a very high toll.  Because his injury had been left so long without medical attention, part of his foot had to be amputated.  The worst part about this is that if his owners had been responsible and cared for him the way they should have, he probably would have recovered fully.

But there is good news.  Freeway is getting better and with the love and attention of the SAGA staff and volunteers, he will soon be looking for a new home with people who truly love and care for him.

If your dog is injured or if you see an injured animal that has not been cared for, make sure to get help.  You might just save them from paying a very heavy price.

Freeway’s foot
Freeway feeling better

For information on how you can help sick, injured or neglected animals or if you’re interested in adopting Freeway or any of his friends, please contact SAGA on 226 3266.


(thru Nov. 30)

Feline FVRCP Vaccine

(protects your cat against three contagious diseases)

50% off! Reg. $30 NOW $15BZ

Canine or Feline Heartworm Test

75+% off! Reg. $90 NOW $20BZ


For every $20 you spend on


(spay/neuter, or other exam & treatment)

get another ticket in our monthly raffle!

Raffle Tickets may also be purchased

$2 each or 3 for $5 at the Saga Clinic

(drawing December 9th)


The San Pedro SAGA Humane Society has been providing humane services to animals of San Pedro since it was founded in March of 1999. Among the services provided are: dog patrols to pickup strays, dangerous, diseased, mistreated/abused, abandoned or injured animals; respond to complaints of dog attacks, dog fights, noise nuisance and other negative interactions between animals, provide free rabies shots for all animals, provide free or low cost medical treatment to animals of individuals who may otherwise not be able to afford it; serve as a shelter where homeless or mistreated animals may receive food and treatment as well as serves as an adoption agent to animal lovers among other services.

SAGA’S journey to acquire a full time veterinarian started in April of this year. In June, committee members saw an approaching end to their struggle when a temporary conditional permit was issued to Dr. Lauren Henkel (Veterinarian). This permit allowed Dr. Henkel to provide veterinary services to strays, suffering animals and pets belonging to underprivileged owners. While the Humane Society was offering veterinary services, the terms of the permit were unclear as to what would qualify an individual as being “underprivileged”.

After a 23-week process, the San Pedro SAGA Humane Society is extremely happy to report that Dr. Henckel received her unrestricted, permanent license to practice at the SAGA Humane Society Clinic on Saturday October 2nd, 2010. Dr. Henckel is excited at the opportunity to provide services to ALL residents of San Pedro and their pets. SAGA offers monthly specials to its patrons. For the month of October, being the month of Halloween, SAGA is offering discounted spays and neuters to all cats, and at no cost for black cats. The community is also invited to start planning for SAGA’s annual Halloween Bash. Details of this activity will be released as it becomes available.

The SAGA Board would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the people of San Pedro and everyone who signed their petition, Facebooked and posted on message boards in support of SAGA, with special thanks to Minister Manuel Heredia, Minister Rene Montero, Dr. Miguel DePaz, Ms. Iraida Gonzalez, Humane Society International, Eileen and Dan Jamison at Dande’s, Phil and Marie of Gecko Graphics, Colette Kase of Conch Creative, Marty Casado of, Mr. Nano Guerrero of SP Town Council and Mayor Elsa Paz, Ms. Tillett of the Health Dept., Tom and Val Gilbert, and the dedicated SAGA Staff Dr. Lauren Henckel, Ingrid Lima, and Noami Castro.

The SAGA Humane Society and Veterinary Clinic is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm. On Saturdays, SAGA is open from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. In addition to veterinary services, SAGA is available to render assistance with adoptions, surrenders, abuse/neglect reports and other animal issues. SAGA’s Clinic is closed on Sundays and Mondays. For more information and to make an appointment, please call 226-3266, and for emergencies, SAGA may be reached at 660-4303.

San Pedro Sun