Friday, July 20, 2012

Humane Animal Eradication Begins in San Pedro

A few weeks ago I blogged about the brutal stray dog eradication by strychnine poisoning by the San Pedro Town Council on July 9th.  Since that time, Bill Milstead with SAGA Humane Society (and my husband) and Dr.Laurie Droke with San Pedro Animal Hospital met with Mayor Daniel Guerrero to stop the eradication by strychnine poisoning after a national out cry from animal lovers about the inhumane process used to control the dog population in San Pedro. 

Mayor Guerrero agreed to stop the inhumane practice but also made it very clear that he is depending upon SAGA to handle the humane eradication of the island dogs in an efficient and timely manner or the town council will authorize the poisoning by strychnine poisoning again.  The first week of August SAGA will begin the process of picking up any stray animals on the streets and will do so on a continuing basis.  Any animal picked up will be held for 3 days.  If the animal has not been sprayed or neutered, SAGA will do so and the fees will be passed on to the owners.   If no one claims the animals, a decision will be made as to the adoptability of the animals and they will either be humanely euthanized or kept a short while longer in hopes of finding a good home for them.   
SAGA is asking for your help by donating, you can contribute by going by SAGA or through the website at  SAGA is a 501c charity through the United States which makes your donation 100% tax deductible for Americans. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th, 6 Months of Living in Belize and Belizean Betty Friday

Today is Friday the 13th which is considered unlucky in Western superstition and it also marks our 6 month anniversary of living in San Pedro, Belize in Central America.  We flew to Belize on January Friday the 13th, 2012 and I am usually not superstitious, but our trip to Belize in January was definitely a Friday 13th kind of day.  I feel certain today, July Friday the 13th will not be as eventful.  You can read about our January, Friday 13th move to Belize here.

Interesting events that happened on Friday the 13th. (Information obtained from Wikipedia)

  • On October 13, 1307, Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and several Templar Knights were arrested by King Phillip of France. Most were eventually tortured to death.
  • On January 13, 1939, the single worst bushfire in Australian history struck Victoria, Australia, claiming 71 lives and causing widespread damage.
  • On March 13, 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered in Queens, New York. The lack of reaction by her neighbors has been called the bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome"
  • On October 13, 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the Andes. Books and movies told of the survivors' stories.
  • The renowned rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur was pronounced dead on September 13, 1996.
  • On November 13, 1998, Michel Trudeau, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was killed in an avalanche in Kokanee Lake, British Columbia
  • On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley slammed in to Southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since 1992.
  • An engineering train on the Northern Line of the London Underground became uncoupled and went on a 13-minute journey southbound from Archway station, finally stopping at Warren Street tube station on the West End branch of the line on August 13, 2010. The train in front was forced to skip several stations and was diverted to the City branch of the line.[24]
  • On January 13, 2012, France, Austria, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Spain had their credit ratings downgraded by Standard & Poor's[25][26][27]
  • On January 13, 2012, the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia sank in front of the island of Isola del Giglio, killing at least thirty-two aboard and injuring 64.[28]
  • North Korean satellite launch attempt Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 failed on April 13, 2012.
  • The asteroid 99942 Apophis will make a close encounter with Earth, closer than the orbits of communication satellites, on April 13, 2029.[29]
  • On April 13, 2012 at 8:30, an earthquake hit Palermo, Sicily, Italy with a 4.3 magnitude.
  • On April 13, 2012 at 4:00 PM a tornado hit Oklahoma.

Here are some Friday the 13th Belizean Betty pictures.

Betty is learning to write her name.  She is practicing her B's.

Betty started taking gymnastic classes.   Look at that smile.

Betty went to her annual 4th of July parade in Austin.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Brutal Dog Eradication by Strychnine in San Pedro

It should have read "Dogs Beware".


As many of you know, we moved to San Pedro, Belize this past January with our three Siberian Huskies.  They are part of our family and we could have never moved to Belize without them.  Back in the states Bill was on the Board for both CARA (Community Animal Rescue and Adoption) and Mississippi Spay and Neuter.  So naturally one of the first things he wanted to do when he got to Belize was help with SAGA Humane Society.

Our pups love riding around town in the golf cart.


Waiting for their daddy to get home.

In Belize dogs are not always looked at the same way as we do in the states.  Most of the local dogs do have homes and owners.  Most wear collars and all seem to be well fed.  But the dogs are allowed to roam about town and yes defecate on the streets and beaches.   A few weeks ago Bill signed on as the President for Saga and had a meeting with the Mayor of San Pedro about stray dogs running the streets.  The Mayor said he needed something to be done and Bill asked that he work with Saga and try to find a solution. 

We had heard about the way dogs in Belize and other 3rd world countries were poisoned in mass eradication roundups.  The last time this what they call "Bait Strychnine" happened in Belize was about 5 years ago when a mass poisoning eradication project was carried out in Belize City.  The San Pedro Humane Society heard about it and immediately contacted the Town Council and then Mayor Elsa Paz to have a meeting to suspend further eradication of stray dogs for the time being. 

Showing how dogs were poisoned with Strychnine.  (Reef TV)

Fast forward to July 9th, 2012.  Everyone is waking up and checking their facebook page, like we all do.  It has happened again on the streets of San Pedro.  31 dogs were poisoned during the early morning hours with Strychnine laced meat balls.  Yes at around 2:00am, these poor defenseless animals were poisoned and then picked up and thrown in the back of trucks to be taken off and buried somewhere on the island.  This is being done due to the health issues of animal feces.

What is Strychnine and how does it poison its victim.  According to Wikipedia, Strychnine poisoning produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction.  Death occurs as a result of respiratory arrest.  Following the ingestion of strychnine, symptoms of poisoning usually appear within 15 to 60 minutes.

There has been a national out cry to the Mayor of San Pedro to stop this cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.  There are ways to humanely euthanize animals.  Saga is more than willing to work with the Mayor and San Pedro Town Council to help with the stray animal problem.  Most of these dogs did have owners and families that cared about them.  Pet owners need to be educated to proper pet ownership and benefits of spay/neuter.  Learn about leash laws and cleaning up behind your pet on the streets and beaches in town.  The biggest and most important things that we can teach the people of Belize is to spay and neuter their pets.  That in itself can help stop the killing of poor and innocent animals.  We just have to work together to find a solution and STOP STRYCHNINE POISONING.

UPDATE:  Today PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) became involved in the issue of Strychnine Poisoning of the animals in San Pedro on July 9th, 2012.  Today at 5:00pm on Belize Reef TV, the Mayor of San Pedro, Daniel Guerrero addressed the issue of Strychnine poisoning of the 31 dogs by the Town Council.  The original plan was to go out every other night for approximately two months and round up and poison about 200 animals.  During his interview today at five, he has agreed to suspend all poisonings and to consult with both Sage Humane Society and the San Pedro Animal Hospital on finding a more humane and ethical way of dealing with the dogs in San Pedro. 


Mayor Danny Guerrero suspends brutal dog eradication. (Reef TV)

Dr. Baptist from SAGA explaining a more humane way to euthanize animals. (Reef TV)

San Pedro Animal Hospital

Saga Humane Society

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Can I Earn Income in Belize If I am Not Retired??

Living in Belize one of the number one questions that I get asked is "How can I earn income if I move to Belize and I am not retired?".  Well sometimes, the answer can be something quite simple, with a little thought and creativity you just may come up with a great idea that can produce income.  A friend of mine Sharon with Red Roof Management, who lives on the mainland and also started several businesses in Belize met a couple on facebook who did just that. 

Below is a post from Sharon's Blog, Wealthships.

Charlotte and Chris recently moved to Ambergris Caye, Belize. Prior to that, Chris grew up in San Francisco and Charlotte went to school in Berkeley – my old stomping grounds in the States! As they were living in San Pedro, they noticed a problem all islanders face: fruits and vegetables going bad! Since produce is only delivered once or twice a week to the island, by the time the end of the week rolls around, it is very difficult to find anyone selling fruit or veggies that looked half way appetizing.

This experience sparked a memory of a product on TV back in the States. They found the company that is the exclusive manufacturer and patent holder and negotiated an exclusive distributorship for the product in Belize. Now they want to bring it to market for the Belize consumers!

Produce Genie is a sachet containing U.S. patented Power Pellets, which are designed to control ethylene gas. Fruits and vegetables naturally emit ethylene gas, which causes them to ripen really fast. Merely keeping produce in the refrigerator won’t necessarily extend the life of produce, since ethylene gas can get trapped inside, which can actually accelerate the ripening process.

Using this product is very simple. Just add one sachet in a regular refrigerator crisper. Just make sure not to let the sachet fall to the bottom of the bin to ensure its maximum effectiveness. You can also add a sachet to a fruit bowl covered by a breathable material (such as a towel). Produce Genie takes the ethylene gas out of the air to slow down the natural decay process of fruits and vegetables.

Produce Genie is very effective with popular fruits and vegetables of Belize: banana, avocado, mango, orange, papaya, apple, broccoli, lettuce, okra, bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, and tomato. Each sachet lasts for three months while it is being used. You can store unused sachets in a plastic bag to prolong the sachet’s shelf life. For $12 bze ($6 usd) you can purchase four sachets, which is a year’s supply for every refrigerator crisper or fruit bowl you have (just $1 bze per month!).
Produce Genie isn’t available in local Belizean stores yet, but they have plans to make it available in all the stores by sometime later this year. To get samples of the product, please contact Charlotte or Chris at To see case studies, pictures, and more, check out their fan page at (and “like” their page while you’re there!). Since they can’t possibly cover the entire country of Beelize, if you feel like you would like to be involved in helping bring Produce Genie to market, please feel free to contact them, as they are actively looking for partnership opportunities.

I also like that instead of reinventing the wheel, they contacted the manufacturer directly and arranged an exclusive distributorship. Who knows how many other products are out there that you could do the same thing with? It’s just a matter of noticing what voids need to be filled. And, in the process, they are providing opportunities for others who may want to distribute the Produce Genie as well.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July Without Fireworks

Peace and Happy 4th of July

Independence Day, commonly known as the 4th of July in the US, a federal holiday commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, and declaring Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  In the United States July 4th is usually celebrated with parades, baseball games, barbecues and of course fireworks. 

This year since we are now living in San Pedro, Belize where there is no red, white and blue celebrations and no fireworks.  You can always get some good barbecue in Belize, so that is no big deal.  But last night a few of us Americans here on the island decided to celebrate with Wednesday night at Roadkill Bar in San Pedro with Karaoke Joe's.

The Americans.

There were lots of Karaoke singers and of course the evening would not be complete without a round of Lee Greenwood's song "Proud to Be an American".  So we felt a little bit American last night even without all the fireworks and celebrations.

They were proud to be an American.

Artist: Lee Greenwood
Song: Proud To Be An American
If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.
And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

Our very own American Soldier Dov Magy singing "An American Soldier".  Thanks Dov.  I think I have decided that if you live in San Pedro, Belize you eventually become a karaoke singer, but I am not sure what the time frame is on this and seriously you never want me singing karaoke.  I shall stick with being a Roadkill backup dancer.

Dov, Karaoke Joe's

An America Soldier (Toby Keith/Chuck Cannon)

I’m just tryin’ to be a father, raise a daughter and a son
Be a lover to their mother, everythin’ to everyone
Up and at ‘em bright and early, I’m all business in my suit
Yeah I’m dressed up for success, from my head down to my boots
I don’t do it for money, there’s bills that I can’t pay
I don’t do it for the glory, I just do it anyway
Providing for our future’s, my responsibility
Yeah I’m real good under pressure, being all that I can be
And I can’t call in sick on Mondays when the weekend’s been too strong
I just work straight through the holidays, and sometimes all night long
You can bet that I stand ready, when the wolf growls at the door
Hey I’m solid, hey I’m steady, hey I’m true down to the core.

And I will always do my duty no matter what the price
I’ve counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice
Oh and I don’t want to die for you, but if dyin’s asked of me
I’ll bear that cross with honor, cause freedom don’t come free.

I’m an American Soldier an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand
When liberty’s in jeopardy, I will always do what’s right

I’m out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight
American Soldier, I’m and American, Soldier.

An American Soldier an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand
When liberty’s in jeopardy, I will always do what’s right
I’m out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight
American Soldier, I’m an American, an American, an American, Soldier.

It was a great night and I also wanted to see off my friend Lorna from my aerobics class that is leaving San Pedro today and going back to Scotland.  We will miss you.

Lorna, Joe and Me.

Since there were no fireworks in San Pedro last night, I thought I would post a few pictures of some beautiful fireworks. 

Betty, our very own little firecracker.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Africanized Honeybees in Belize

Africanized Honeybee in Belize.

The house next door to us has been abandoned and vacant for some time now.  They have been trying to sell it.  We noticed several months ago that we kept seeing bees flying around and on the ground.  The guy that owns the house we rent had gotten someone to go next door and check out the bee situation and they removed part of the hive.  It had not been a problem any more until lately we started  noticing a lot bees again.  Last week Bill was out in the yard doing some cleaning and yardwork and he was attacked by a swarm of bees.  He was stung on the face and ear numerous times.  Luckily for Bill he is obviously not allergic to them and other than some minor discomfort and pulling out some stingers, he had no swelling or anyhing.  I on the other hand am allergic to bees and wasps, so I have had to stay out of the yard completely. 

Virtually all honeybees also known as "killer bees" in Belize and throughout Central America are now Africanized.   The sting of the Africanized honeybee normally does not hurt any more so than that of a regular bee, but the hives can be very large and aggressive.  They say if you are attacked get under a building or in the water.  The bees generally will not follow you.

As of 2002, the Africanized honeybees had spread from Brazil south to northern Argentina and north to Central America, Trinidad, Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida.  They have since been found in Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia.

Since the first time someone came out about the bees, the house has now been sold.  So the new owners were contacted and said they would send some one out to take care of the bee situation again.

After about two weeks, we had Sam from the Belize Town Counsel show up all dressed in his bee garb from head to toe and was ready to take on the Africanized Honeybees of Belize.  Sam brought one helper with him.  He was the guy that went in with the smoke.  They were going to use the smoke to calm the bees before going in and removing the hive.

Sam, dressed and ready to get some bees.


After the smoke was blown in near the hive, Sam went in to get the bees out.  Sam said the hive was about 4 to 5 feet tall.  I would have loved to have gotten a picture of that.  But sorry I was not going near those bees or the bee hive.  A short time later Sam came out of the house and he said the job was done.  Sam told us there was not much honey in the hive only eggs.  He said with all of the rain we have had the last few weeks that the bees had not been able to get out of the hive and outside to eat and therefore were having to eat the honey. 

This smoker which burned wood chips that created the smoke used to calm the bees.

Squeezing the bellows on the smoker makes the smoke come out.  When bees are frightened they send out a special scent to alarm the other bees to attack. When a beekeeper uses smoke on a beehive, the bees are no longer able to smell the alarm scent so they keep on working in the hive.

Unfortunately Sam had to kill the bees.  He really hated that but he had to this time.  He said they make some really good honey too.

What do honeybees eat besides honey?  Well I didn't know, so I thought I would google it.  Don't you just love google.  You can find the answers to anything there and this is what I found.  Bees eat nectar and pollen when they are outdoors.  The nectar mixes with enzymes within the bees stomach to produce the honey.   Sam also told us that the male honeybees do not have stingers and therefore cannot sting.  The female worker bees are the only ones that can sting.  Go figure, us females get the bad rap for everything. 

Honey had dripped all over Sam's shoes.

Sam said the bees were not being very aggressive this time.  Here are the hives they took down.  There were still somes bees buzzing around.

Sam's mask he wore before going in the house to get the bees out.

Sam's gloves.  He said they stung through his gloves and one stung him on the hand and another on the knee.  Sam said he likes to be stung, it builds up his immunity to them.

You could still find a few bees here left on Sam's clothing.

The house where the bees were.  This home was a foreclosure but has been sold now and they should start working on the rehab of it soon we hope.