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Questions about Dogs and Safety When Living in Anguilla

by Denise
(Wilmington, NC)

We are looking at the possibility of relocating to Anguilla, and have a few questions I did not see the answer to:

1) Is it safe? Obviously after reading from this site I understand that you love it there, but you don't touch on the safety factor.

2) does anyone have dogs? It seems long term rentals would not be an option because of a "no dogs" policy (unless you know of any?!). Is there any reasonable real estate for under $300,000.

Thanks for your help.

Reply from Dad: Denise, Anguilla is a wonderful place to live. I always laughed when friends would ask, "How did you adjust?"

Adjust to what? Never having to put on a sweater, let alone winter coat and boots? Not paying crazy amounts of income tax? Being minutes from our choice of 30+ beaches and over 100 restaurants, many of which are better than the best of what Montreal offers?

A frequent reply would be...

"Well, it must be dangerous, it's the Caribbean."

Actually, we do talk about the topic of safety in various parts of the site, but may not have addressed it in this "Living in Anguilla" section. So I'll summarize here (but do use the sitesearch to find more info elsewhere).

1) Safety in Anguilla

Anguilla is a safe island, probably the safest in the region. There are many islands where you would simply not go out at night, nor feel free to explore anywhere, even in the day. Other islands are not as dangerous as the, but there is still a fair amount of crime-on-tourist.

That's not Anguilla. It is a safe place for you to live. Crimes against tourists are extremely low here.

As anywhere, there are places not to be at midnight, and certain non-touristy bars to avoid, but none of them are spots where you'd likely want to go. And there is a problem with teen gangs who fight each other over territorial turf -- this latter problem is the only part of "life in Anguilla" that saddens me...

We do need some smarter economic policies that leverage the advantages of Anguilla, policies that would raise the economic tide for all Anguillians and especially that would give jobs to young men. But for as long as we've lived here (7 years now), we've not seen any politician bring forth those types of ideas.

As a result, "local crime" is a problem, not huge but there are worries about it growing. There is a sad attitude here that "its only the locals, but tourists are safe."

That bothers me. While crime is low and tourists are safer here than anywhere else, we need smarter government to raise the well-being of all Anguillians and to stop Anguillian-on-Anguillian crime.

Sorry for wandering off course on your question, Denise. The bottom line answer is "yes, it's safe, the safest island most likely."

Friends tell us how they never used to lock their doors at night 30 years ago. Those days are gone, so it's not as absolutely safe as it used to be. But no place in the world can claim that it is.

Bottom line? Don't let crime be a reason NOT to move here.

Moving on to your question about dogs...

2) Lots of people have dogs. We have 3. Ours live in "Dog Paradise" because we have no neighbors within hundreds of yards. So we let them out to roam.

Much the way we feel free in Anguilla, our dogs would feel the same way if they somehow knew what it was like for dogs in any U.S. city, say. I could just see their reactions if we moved to a major city...

"What's that thing you're putting around my neck? A leash, you say? And I can't run around, except in those dumb little doggie parks with a bunch of other dogs. Take me back home to Anguilla!"

They'd probably also wonder why we'd be picking up their poo. Here, the hermit crabs and various insects handle that.

Our dogs have caught and brought roosters home, various other little animals, and even a 12 inch trigger fish, all freshly killed. Now THAT is a dog's life.

Here they are, in a somewhat friendly cooperative mood...

Anguilla dogs

Toupsie, Mimi, Lulu

Friends who visit, though, know to honk their horns. They don't sit so nicely when visitors approach. They're very territorial, so they make excellent security guards, too!

Seriously, if you live in a residential area, though, you'll have to fence off an area for your dogs. If you let them roam, they'll annoy one neighbor or another, sooner or later. Poison meat is not an uncommon solution. Our cleaning lady has lost two dogs that way.

Many Anguillians have a different attitude about dogs. You'll hear "Don't pet them up," meaning don't turn them into pets. Their purpose is to guard your home, not to be pampered. Personally, our attitude is "why not both?"

Regarding your problem about rentals not allowing dogs...

I don't know why at least some villa owners wouldn't mind if you brought your dogs with a long-term rental here. If I was the landlord, I'd add an obligation for you to clean the house, with some form of financial bond to make sure that you take care of any damage, etc.

Perhaps you just need to get creative with some owners, offering to add clauses that guarantee the villa will be in "pre-dog" shape when the lease terminates.

As for apartments and condos, I am unsure of the rules. Phone and ask. I can see why there may be rules against dogs, but there are many dog-friendly apartments and condos in New York, for example. This will require some leg work. I hope you find one that has a more open mind about allowing dogs.

If it turns out that you can't bring dogs on any form of rental, that brings you to your possible solution (instead of renting)... home ownership in Anguilla @ $300,000.

$300,000 will buy you a reasonable home. It will be inland, though (not oceanfront). It won't likely be in an ex-pat community (costs tend to be higher) or would be smaller, but there are many excellent Anguillian communities where $300,000 goes a long way.

Unlike other islands, there is no racial tension here. So I'd have no qualms about color issues here if I were you. We don't.

If a community (ex-pat or local) feels right with you, get to know them. Knock on a few doors and ask what the community is like. With a little research, you can find a comfortable home in that price range.

You are perhaps going to want to find an area where there are no neighbors too close by (i.e., outside of a community). That way, you can set your dog(s) free. Janice and I love to watch ours take off along the waterfront, or go hunting for small game in the surrounding bush. They always come home with such happy looks on their faces.

But if yours are used to the leash and being walked, finding a home for $300,000 in any one of several small communities is do-able. It won't likely have much of a sea view, which is why inland real estate is much cheaper.

Ask a real estate agent for help. Jackie Pascher is a friend and someone we recommend. You'll find coverage of others in this site, as well.

I hope you enjoy living here as much as we do!

All the best,

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