Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force Education Program
The Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force (ASNTF) has successfully implemented free-roaming dog population management programs in 14 First Nations communities in Alberta by providing high volume, on-site spay and neuter clinics and advice regarding humane dog care and control programs. Our organization has spayed and neutered 11,500 animals in Alberta First Nations Communities. When considering that just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in six years, one can only imagine the amazing impact made in these communities. ASNTF has also received an additional 5,000 surrendered companion animals from these communities again making a huge impact in the stray or unwanted dog population. Despite the success in our current initiatives, we recognized a gap in relevant educational programming which addresses human/dog conflict and animal welfare issues specifically in First Nation communities. The health and public safety of First Nation communities is at risk due to an ever increasing rate of human/dog conflict and animal welfare issues. This is evident in the number of dog bite incidences in First Nation communities, where rates are higher per capita than in any other Canadian community. The population most at risk in these communities is children. Despite attempts made by animal welfare organizations to remove unwanted, stray, injured or sick animals from these communities, the general health and well-being of the community animals is not improving. As a result of human/dog conflict, some First Nation communities are developing a strained relationship with community animals. In order to improve the well-being of both the humans and animals in these communities, culturally appropriate educational programming must be developed and implemented.
Who Will it Benefit?
During the evening of November 6, 2006, 5 year old Lance Loonskin, of TallCree First Nation, had just finished dinner. As with many other evenings, Lance left his home to walk the short distance to his cousin’s house. During this fateful walk, Lance was attacked by 5 dogs. There were no witnesses, however concerned community members heard the barking dogs and investigated. These community members were first on the scene to discover Lance’s lifeless body. Lance Loonskin was pronounced dead by the EMS staff who arrived at the scene. We believe that serious incidences could be reduced and even prevented by education programming.
The Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force is in a unique position to create and manage a relevant Education Program and to make such a program available to any community who has a need. The ASNTF has 10 years of experience working with First Nation communities and their free-roaming dog population. The ASNTF already has established relationships and contacts in these communities. ASNTF currently visits 8-11 First Nations communities/year during the operation of other ASNTF programming (spay/ neuter clinics). There are endless amounts of animal welfare educational materials available, however, none of this existing material is culturally appropriate or relevant to First Nations communities. What is needed is educational programming designed specifically for the unique needs of First Nation communities. We aim to make our program easily accessible and readily available to any First Nation community.