The Saipan Mayor’s Office animal shelter program currently has 25 adult dogs and 10 puppies, and only three people are manning the program: the manager and two stray dog handlers. Aside from that, there is no money to buy food for the animals, according to Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang.
At the hearing for the Saipan Mayor’s Office’s budget last week, Apatang painted this bleak state of the animal shelter for lawmakers, who had asked about the current state of the animal shelter in As Perdido, and an update on the new shelter that still has yet to be put up.
Apatang said the food that the shelter currently has are donated by the Guam-based non-profit, Guam Animals In Need. At the moment, the shelter has 70 bags of dog food and seven bags of cat food.
Despite this, Apatang said they are trying to manage and maintain the As Perdido shelter, to make sure that they take care of all the animals that they have. The mayor also mentioned that veterinarian Ignacio T. Dela Cruz volunteers at the shelter and provides veterinary services.
Responding to concerns about how the animals are taken cared of, Dog Control Program manager Martin Pangelinan explained that they have a routine where, after every morning’s briefing at the mayor’s office, the staff goes to the shelter, feed the animals, and wash the kennels before responding to service requests in the community.
As for the new shelter, Apatang said that they are currently waiting on the U.S. Corps of Engineers to approve the project and give them a go-signal on when to start. The Saipan Mayor’s Office has already secured funds for this from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and had some local funding to add to the project, but had to wait for almost a year to secure the environmental permit.
Apatang also said they met with the Department of Public Works to discuss his concerns about possibly rebidding the project and the possibility of prices having gone up, having waited for almost two years since the bidding.
“Hopefully, we can come up with a good decision,” he added.