WE HAVE SOME REALLY GOOD NEWS!
The Task Force and Siksika Nation have entered into a partnership to work together to develop and implement a new and ground-breaking community based Siksika Nation Dog Care and Control Program (SDCCP). After a particularly serious dog attack in the Siksika Nation in March 2016, the Siksika Justice Department contacted us for help and a partnership was born!
The Task Force has provided 8 Spay and Neuter Clinics for the Nation since 2008. We have fixed 1,218 dogs and removed 370 stray or relinquished dogs to be rehomed.
The Task Force is very proud of our spay/neuter statistics but we acknowledge that providing an accessible spay/neuter program addresses only one component of a community based Dog Care and Control Program. The Task Force has expanded our Strategic Plan to include providing support and guidance to our partner communities in designing and implementing a successful community based Dog Care and Control Program.
We have worked very closely with the Nation’s lawyers in order to create bylaws that address not only animal welfare but providing a safe environment for community members, especially children. Alanna Collicutt, our Dog Care and Control Adviser, has designed and implemented the components of the Program and provided support and guidance to the Siksika Nation.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
- Legislation: This includes both creating by laws and providing humane enforcement. Siksika Nation Chief and Council approved the new by laws in July 2016 and the Siksika Justice Department recently hired an Animal Care and Control Officer. The Task Force is providing mentorship and training.
- Registration and Licensing: The Task Force, along with community members and Siksika Security, have registered and licensed approximately 300 dogs so far.
- Education: We will continue to attend community events in order to provide public awareness booths. The Task Force Education Committee will work with Siksika educators to draft a curriculum and new programs for local schools as well as develop and implement an adult education program.
- Accessible Spay and Neuter Programs: The Task Force will continue to provide an accessible spay/neuter program.
- Holding or Re-homing Facility: Impounded or stray dogs will be held at a boarding facility or at Alberta Animal Rescue Crew’s facility “Safe Haven” to be re-homed. We are very grateful to AARCS for their support.
- Controlling Access to Resources: Together, we have designed a structured feeding program for free food to eligible community members. The food is provided by rescue groups. We also encourage communities to provide secure garbage containers and discourage free feeding dogs in populated areas.
The Task Force has created this program based on the ICAM Document (International Coalition of Companion Animal Management) recommendations and Task Force experience, knowledge and expertise. We are committed to ensuring that the Siksika Dog Care and Control Program is, and continues to be, a community based program.
Stakeholder meetings that include the Siksika Justice Department, Siksika’s lawyer, Siksika Health Department, RCMP and others are ongoing.
The Nation has hired Sherry Goodeagle as their Animal Care and Control Officer and we couldn’t have asked for a better person to work with! Sherry has attended a Task Force clinic and we are so happy to work with her in implementing the program.
There is a desperate need in Canada for a sustainable model of a community based Dog Care and Control Program in First Nation’s communities. We believe that long-term commitment to this initiative will provide an opportunity for Siksika Nation to become a role model for other First Nations communities in managing their dog populations and keeping their community safe.