On June 13, SCARS volunteers worked alongside community volunteers and local peace officers to conduct a roundup of unwanted dogs in the Bigstone Cree Nation Reserves that surround the hamlet of Wabasca-Desmarais. Located in the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17, Wabasca is 330 kilometres north of Edmonton. Over 5,400 people live in the area including approximately 2,000 residents of the reserves.
The community asked for help
At the request of the Bigstone Cree Nation, the MD and SCARS have assisted with two community dog roundups so far this year. The first roundup was held the last week of April (we took 13 dogs) and the most recent on June 13, where we collected 15 dogs and 1 cat. It turned out that we didn’t have enough open foster homes for all of the dogs, but we had planned ahead for that possibility. Three of the dogs were transferred to our friends at the Edmonton Humane Society. They had offered to take up to 14. We are grateful for their support.
Collaboration means a win-win
The First Nation gave notice to its residents so they could ensure owned pets were not collected. A collaboration of this type sounds like a logical way to deal with pet overpopulation, but sadly it doesn’t happen often enough in Alberta. The MD of Opportunity has shown tremendous support and willingness to assist the Bigstone Cree Nation reserves with their dog overpopulation problem. They deserve a lot of credit for their foresight and compassion in assisting their neighbours. We also want to thank the Bigstone Cree Nation for their efforts to seek humane solutions. Working together is a win-win.
SCARS and MD Peace officers weren’t able to locate and catch every dog that was identified as needing help. But we will return until these dogs can be humanely trapped. When people work together for the common good, great things can happen. We are proud to be part of a team that is working towards solutions to pet overpopulation in these communities.
Ongoing support makes all the difference
Fifteen dogs may not sound like an especially high number for a community roundup. But there is a story behind why the numbers are not higher. For many years now, SCARS has been assuming responsibility for unclaimed dogs and cats at the local pound. As well, to reduce the number of homeless animals the community has been inviting the Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force to conduct annual pet wellness clinics. Due to ongoing support from SCARS and the success of the clinics, the number of strays this year is too low to hold a clinic. But there are still dogs that need help and potentially pose a risk to the community. Without intervention, numbers could quickly rise to dangerous levels.