LITTLE GRAND RAPIDS, Man. – As leaders on a northern Manitoba First Nation plan a cull of stray dogs, some rescue groups and veterinarians in the province say there should be more spay and neuter clinics in remote areas.
The issue has taken on new urgency after the mauling death of a 24-year-old woman last weekend in Little Grand Rapids, a fly-in settlement 300 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
The body of Donnelly Rose Eaglestick was found surrounded by about 30 dogs.
Several media outlets are reporting that the chief of the reserve is now offering a $25 a head bounty on strays as part of an organized cull.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jonas Watson of the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association says a review is underway of a rule saying any temporary spay and neuter clinic has to notify all vets within 250 kilometres at least 10 weeks in advance.
Some argue the rule is an obstacle to setting up clinics and taking action in crisis situations.
“I think that the mandate and the focus that we can have collectively as Manitobans is looking at public safety and animal welfare and making decisions based on that,” says Colleen Holloway of Manitoba Underdogs Rescue, which has been lobbying to change the rule.
Although the 250-kilometre rule would not have prevented a spay and neuter clinic from being held in Little Grand Rapids, Watson says the association is actively working to make the provision of veterinary medical and surgical services more available.
Stray dogs have long been a problem on remote reserves across the Prairies and there have been other deaths. In 2007, a five-year-old boy died after being attacked outside his home on the Cumberland House reserve in northeastern Saskatchewan.