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Tag: native americans

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)