A First Nation in eastern Saskatchewan says it is reviewing its policies after 11 dead dogs that had been culled were found near railway tracks.
The RCMP began investigating last week after receiving several reports of dead dogs near the town of Runnymede near the Manitoba boundary.
The investigation led back to the Cote First Nation.
Darlene Bryant, the band’s health director, says the cull was regrettable but necessary.
She says dogs are often abandoned on the First Nation’s land north of Kamsack, Sask., and they quickly become strays that hunt for food and sometimes form packs.
Bryant says the animals tear into garbage bins and become increasingly aggressive.
“Throughout the year we’ve had nine bites,” said Bryant. “These range from the smallest child to an adult.”
It’s especially a concern for the nearly 70 children, between four and 18, who attend the First Nation’s youth centre, she said. Some children have been attacked and are now too scared to return.
Bryant said that so many dogs are left on Cote land that there are usually two or three culls a year.
The disposal of the dogs was inappropriate, said Bryant, who added that the contractor hired to cull the animals made his own decision about where to leave the bodies. The contractor won’t be hired again, she said.
There are no laws against culling dogs when they become nuisance animals, as long as the cull is done humanely.
Don Ferguson, executive director of Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan, warns that there are consequences for people who abandon or neglect dogs.
“Abandoning their dog is contrary to the Animal Prevention Act and they could be charged if found abandoning their dogs,” he said.
He recommends that pet owners seek alternatives to leaving their pets.
“There are still agencies, like the respective humane societies and SPCAs, where they can be humanely euthanized.”
Bryant told CTV News that alternatives to culls are being sought. In the short term, she said, the band office is looking to partner with a shelter to help find homes for the dogs. There’s also some thought of the First Nation constructing its own kennels. (CTV Regina)
The Canadian Press