Dog control program lacks personnel

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THE lack of manpower has been the biggest challenge of the Saipan mayor’s dog control program, its manager Martin Pangelinan said.

From having a full staff of eight, the program now is down to three, including Pangelinan.

“We still perform our daily routine,” he said, adding that he takes care of all the phone calls, registration and documentation in the program office while the two other staff members are out in the field.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the CNMI economy, government agencies, including the Saipan mayor’s office, have furloughed or terminated some of their employees.

Of the more than 60 employees at the mayor’s office, 38 have lost their jobs, including five staff members with the dog control program.

Before going out to take care of service requests from community members, Pangelinan said the two other personnel of the program first have to feed the animals and maintain the animal shelter.

The service requests include complaints about dog bites, stray dogs, stray cats, noise complaints, neglected/abandoned pets, among other concerns.

From May 12 to June 23, Pangelinan said they received 60 service requests, 40 of which were about dogs in public  areas; dogs that are not registered; and dogs entering people’s properties and causing a nuisance.

During the same period, he said the mayor’s office registered 50 dogs.

Pangelinan said they conduct stray-dog removal operation on certain days and attend to  service requests on other days.

“Although it’s a very difficult time, all we can do is just try our best to provide the services that we have to provide,” he said.

“I think it’s been working out well, although the status of our shelter is not where it has to be, but we’re doing what we can,” Pangelinan added.

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