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This article was published 16/5/2017 (1108 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Little Grand Rapids has put a $25-per-head bounty on wild dogs in its community after a young mother was mauled to death on the weekend.
Animal experts warn the dogs that killed Donnelly Rose Eaglestick, 24, early Saturday while she was returning home from a friend's place will attack again if they’re not killed.
"Right now, at least some of the dogs have prey aggression. They're going to hunt people. They've learned this is something they can do in order to get food," said Richard Herbert, a Thunder Bay-based veterinarian who has helped various First Nations communities deal with dog problems.
"A community will kill off a lead dog and diffuse the situation for a short period of time, but then another lead dog will emerge, and they will do it again because they have memory."
Dog-rescue operator Colleen Holloway, a director with Manitoba Mutts, agrees.
"Dog culls are the necessary go-to when there are no other options or supports available to a community dealing with a wild dog population," she said.
Little Grand Rapids has contacted Manitoba Mutts about running a spay-and-neuter clinic on the reserve once the cull is over and to help the band develop a program to prevent the problem reoccurring. Dogs can have up to three litters a year ranging from four to 10 pups each time, which is how a wild dog population quickly spins out of control, she said.
"(The band) has reached out to us," Holloway said.
The band advertised over the local radio station this week for someone to shoot stray dogs roaming the community. By some estimates, there may be as many as 100 strays in Little Grand Rapids, a fly-in reserve 270 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
Chief Roy Dunsford said residents will be ordered to stay inside when the shooting takes place. People with dogs will have to keep them inside or tied up.
No one had responded in the first 24 hours. Dunsford said the band will look outside the community if no one comes forward locally.
As of Tuesday afternoon, only one dog has been shot. RCMP shot a dog when it became aggressive toward officers during their investigation, said Const. Paul Manaigre.
The RCMP pledged to work closely with the band and help with any measures to protect Little Grand Rapids residents, he said.
Holloway expects an agreement to be worked out soon with the province’s veterinary association to cut through red tape and permit the temporary veterinary clinic.
Part of the long-term solution will be providing collars for domestic dogs to distinguish them from wild dogs. Surveillance of the wild dog population is also important.
"If a litter is born to a stray dog, get those dogs into the rescue program before they reach sexual maturity," Holloway said.
Capturing and fostering very young dogs will be part of the solution.
Funding has not been discussed, but Holloway said Manitoba Mutts has a sizable nest egg from private and corporate donations, especially for such rescue operations.
Animal control and enforcement will also be part of the solution, but that is not the non-profit's expertise.
Rural municipalities have a variety of animal-control measures, starting with a dog catcher. Bylaws ensure owners are responsible for their dogs and don’t let them run wild, said Raymond Garand, reeve of the RM of Alexander. However, most RMs do not have a wild dog problem.
"There are more people here trying to save dogs than anything else," Garand said.
Little Grand Rapids doesn't have any bylaws regarding how many animals people can keep in a home, Dunsford said. He said the band's council will examine a number of measures to deal with the issue, including how many dogs a person may own.
"Sometimes people have five dogs in one house. I don’t know why they’d want to have five dogs," he said.
Officials with the department of sustainable development said Tuesday the provincial government has no role in issues regarding wild dogs.
"Municipalities are responsible for animal control in their area through their own bylaws. Animal control on First Nations property would be under the jurisdiction of the band council, and off reserve it would be the local municipality," said a provincial official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Opposition NDP declined to comment on what the province could or should do. Press secretary Rachel Morgan said New Democrats prefer to wait to see if the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs or Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak asks the provincial government for any specific help.
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Updated on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 5:30 PM CDT: Updates image
9:18 PM: adds photo
May 17, 2017 at 12:56 PM: Thumbnail changed.