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Tag: indian

Montana reservation conducting month-long “round-up” of stray dogs

Bison can roam free on the Fort Belknap Indian reservation in Montana.

Dogs aren’t so lucky.

The reservation’s Fish & Wildlife office began a “dog round-up” on July 25, capturing dogs that aren’t chained, kenneled or leashed and impounding them.

At least they say they are impounding them. Rescue organizations are actually bearing that responsibility, since the reservation doesn’t have an animal shelter.

RezQ Dogs, a non-profit shelter in Dodson, has brought in 19 dogs from the reservation and is attempting to find them new homes, according to its co-founder, Jim Wilke.

“Making the animals pay, killing the animals, it’s not the answer,” said Wilke. “Enforcing the laws, passing better laws is…whether it’s this community or anywhere in the United States, you’re not going to solve it by creating a cycle of death.”

Now at full capacity, Wilke says he’s turning to other rescue shelters and rescues across Montana, including in Kalispell, Helena, and Missoula, for help.

Tribal officials announced the round up last month and put up posters stating that any dog not chained or kenneled will be impounded immediately.

According to Wilke, the reservation has no shelter, and at least one tribal council member has said the dogs would be killed.

“To stand by and do nothing…it’s just sad,” said Wilke. “These animals. Death for no reason. Most of these animals have done nothing wrong but be born.”

Stray dogs are a problem on the reservation, and often band together in packs.

“When you have a bunch of stray animals, it doesn’t matter, they can be the nicest animals in the world, the entire mentality changes when they pack up. You can see it in all animals, even people,” said Wilke.

But, he says, the dogs he has taken in have been docile.

“They’re wonderful animals,” he told KRTV in Great Falls.”They’ll get good homes. You would think we got a lot of feral animals but everybody that’s met them, they’re just amazed by how nice they are.”

The dog round-up is scheduled to end on August 20.

“Dogs with No Names” provides an insightful look at the plight of reservation dogs

cover

It sometimes seems a new dog book leaps off the presses everday — some not so good, some far too precious, some (though we like goofy) way too goofy, some noble and some ignoble.

Often, the most noble ones are so preachy, pedantic and overwrought they leave you feeling like you’ve spent six hours locked in a room with an evangelist who’s more concerned with lassoing your mind than opening it.

“Dogs With No Names”  is an exception to that — a collection of photos, thoughts and insights gathered by Dr. Judith Samson-French while she was on a mission to sterilize stray and feral dogs on an Indian reservation in Canada.

It has a point, without being preachy; it has heart, without being schmaltzy; it has depth, valuable insights and some awesome photographs; and it looks at the plight some reservation dogs face without being desperate, culturally insensitive or overly judgmental.

Millions of unnamed, unclaimed and often unwanted dogs roam North America’s indian reservations — some feral, some tame, many somewhere in between — doing what they need to do to survive, including repopulating.

Samson-French’s mission was to implant a new type of contraceptive into female dogs on a reservation in Alberta, Canada, but her insights extend far beyond Canada, and far beyond reproduction.

She exposes the adversity, despair and suffering reservation dogs often face, and she looks at ways to compassionately and effectively address the overpopulation problem. She examines the behavior of reservation dogs, and how they’ve evolved to the conditions they live in. And she doesn’t overlook the role humans have played — and could play — in the equation.

The book lives up to its billing as “an intimate look at the relationship between North America’s First Nations communities and dogs: seeing past our prejudices to build bridges and understanding between our often combative cultures.”

Samson-French is a veterinary clinician and surgeon with over 20 years of experience. She owns and operates a veterinary hospital in the Rocky Mountain foothills. A graduate of McGill University (B.Sc.) and the University of Alberta (M.Sc.), she received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College.

All of the profits from the sales of Dogs With No Names are donated to the Dogs With No Names project, of which Samson-French is founder.

(Photo: The cover photo of “Dogs with No Names,” courtesy of evocativedogphoto.com)

12 Days of Christmas, desert style

On the first day of Christmas the desert gave to me: A woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the second day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Two turtle doves, or some kind of doves, anyway, or maybe pigeons, no, I think they’re doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the third day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Three cartons of Camels purchased from an Indian reservation, because they are much cheaper there, because there’s no tax, but I ended up gambling away what I had saved at the nearby casino anyway; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the fourth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Four really, really big tires, that go on a big open-air monster truck, with numerous passenger seats, offering tourists an “extreme” desert adventure, but probably not a real quiet one; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the fifth day of Christmas, the desert gave to me: Five … howling …coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole..

On the sixth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Six Cave Creek t-shirts, for sale at the Indian Village shop next door, which may or may not be run by actual Indians, I don’t know because I haven’t been in there, because they have way too many bossy signs out front, but perhaps it’s necessary; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the seventh day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Seven bitchin’ Harleys, among hundreds more, which appear on the weekends, parked outside the Hideaway, a biker bar next door to my trailer park and which are probably why the Indian Village had to put up those signs in the first place; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the eighth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Eight handsome horses, which are much quieter than Harleys, though they don’t have as much horsepower, which seems odd; seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the ninth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Nine cowboy hats, made in Guatemala, by Guatemalans, just a tiny bit of the inventory Michael Chazan sets out on display, in a dusty parking lot, as his dog Sarah watches, so of course I had to stop and buy one, which led me to meet one of the original members of the Hell’s Angels, who was inside the bar next door, with a film crew, because they’re making a movie about him; eight handsome horses, seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the tenth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Ten cactus branches, all belonging to the same candelabra type cactus, whose branches, for some reason, have little pots on top of them, like tiny helmets, no wait, they’re more like fezzes, which I’m pretty sure is the plural of fez … nine cowboy hats; eight handsome horses; seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes … four really big tires; three cartons of Camels; two turtle doves; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the eleventh day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Eleven precariously balanced boulders, which seem like the could easily dislodge, and tumble down the mountain, and land on one of the fine mansions below, but I guess they don’t, either that or the mountainside mansion owners are so rich they can pay to get them secured; ten cactus branches; nine cowboy hats; eight handsome horses; seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes; four really big tires; three cartons of Camels, two turtle doves and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

On the twelfth day of Christmas the desert gave to me: Twelve saguaros at sunset, really my favorite of all the cacti, because they stand tall, and have arms and wave at you, or at least seem like they are, and they kind of remind me of Gumby, though I never really like Gumby, but I do like cacti, especially saguaro, which are sort of the redwoods of the desert; eleven precariously balanced boulders; ten cactus branches; nine cowboy hats; eight handsome horses; seven bitchin’ Harleys; six Cave Creek t-shirts; five … howling … coyotes; four really big tires; three cartons of Camels, two turtle doves, or some kind of doves, anyway; and a woodpecker on a telephone pole.

Reservation dogs in N.M. get a helping hand

rezdogsDogs can have it rough on Indian reservations, but two women — former co-workers now living 90 miles apart — are doing their best to rescue those in need and find them new homes.

Mary Williams,  a clinical nurse at the Crownpoint Health Care Facility in Crownpoint, N.M., has been rescuing dogs from the Navajo reservation for more than three years.

And Luisa Alvarez, a former co-worker of Williams is now operating a similar dog Rescue in Fort Defiance, Ariz., where she started taking in strays not long after moving there.

Both find homes for those dogs they can, and take the others to no-kill shelters in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., and Boulder, Colo.

Between them, the two women have saved more than a thousand dogs and cats, according to an article on Reznet, a Native American news website.

Last year Navajo Nation Animal Control responded to 286 dog attacks and impounded more than 6,000 animals, including cats, said Olin Arviso, animal control manager at Fort Defiance, Ariz. The shelter euthanizes about 80 percent of the animals, according to the article, which noted dogs are far from pampered on the reservation.

“They’re not companions or friends, they’re expected to protect,” said an instructor from the Navajo Technical College. “The dog doesn’t really have any significance. In the Navajo way, a dog is not allowed in the hogan — inside the living quarters.”

On the reservation, dogs are often abandoned in the wilderness, drowned, or left on the highway. Many just roam, attached to no particular owner.

“I believe that every soul … deserves a chance at a good life,” Alvarez said. “There is no reason for the suffering that we see surrounding us.”

(Photo courtesy of RezNet, a project of the University of Montana School of Journalism; by Andi Murphy, a Navajo journalism student at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, serving this summer as editor of the Crownpoint Baahane’, a community newsletter in Crownpoint, N.M.)