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Dog days of summer

  • Published
  • By Airman Whitney Amstutz
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
It is a well known fact that there is an abundance of stray cats and dogs on Guam.

There are hundreds of unclaimed animals on the island. Many of these animals are sick and in need of immediate care and attention.

Andersen is no exception. When dogs and cats find their way onto the base, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron's pest management section is charged with the responsibility of restoring the safety and tranquility of the installation.

"There are only about 240 of us in the whole Air Force and no one knows who we are, or what we do," said Staff Sgt. Zach Bingham, part of the pest management section. "We try to stay out of the line of sight and just do our jobs."

This task is becoming increasingly difficult for Sergeant Bingham and others in pest management.

"Most of the hurdles to the pest management section here at AAFB is from a lack of knowledge from the base community," said Senior Master Sgt. Steven B. Swingle, 36th CES Operations Flight Superintendent.

Making the base populace aware of why it is important to catch these feral dogs and cats is imperative to the safety and security of the residents, and Andersen as a whole, Sergeant Swingle said.

Despite popular opinion, once an animal is caught in one of the traps that can be seen around base, they are not harmed in any way. The animals are taken to a facility where their needs can be met and they have the opportunity to find a permanent home.

"Animals who are caught in the traps, which are specifically designed to ensure no harm comes to them, are immediately taken to GAIN," Sergeant Bingham said.

GAIN, which is an acronym for Guam Animals in Need, is an animal shelter dedicated to promoting and protecting the welfare of animals on Guam. The shelter is home to dozens of dogs and cats from around the island. Animals are adopted from GAIN every day, Sergeant Bingham said.

Not only do members of Team Andersen benefit from the capture of stray cats and dogs, but the animals themselves are better off as well. By aiding the pest management section, residents are allowing these animals the opportunity to find permanent homes and stability.

"Wild animals are not meant to be on a military installation," Sergeant Bingham said. "At GAIN, the cats and dogs are cared for and treated humanely. Everybody can win."

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