This past month, I had the opportunity to go on another animal rescue with Animal Rescue Corps. I have written about my first rescue with them in Tennessee where we rescued some 150 small dogs from horrific conditions. Most were living outside in dilapidated hutches with layers of feces stuck to their floor, others living among dead ones and others so severely matted as to limit their movements. The ones inside (the mothers with newborns, babies & 5 birds) were living in a warmer, cleaner but severely toxic atmosphere. It was so toxic that the hazmat team, which evaluated the toxicity of the garage, wouldn’t even let us in to get them out for more than a half hour as they used huge fans to drive the fumes away. It was a real eye-opener to me, even though I knew of how horrible puppy mills are. I will never understand how one middle-aged lady can do this kind of cruelty to these innocent dogs!
This trip was very different. It took me out of the country to Quebec, Canada and to a First Nation reservation called Lac Simon, with the Anishnabe Tribe. Here, to deal with the roaming dog population in the past, the community resorted to “round-ups” where they would round them all up and either gas them or shoot them. Luckily, this year, the head of housing, Terry Babin, decided to contact ARC to see if we would help. So ARC came., ARC saw & ARC conquered! We spayed, neutered and vaccinated every owned dog
with the exception of a few who wanted to breed their dogs and we rounded up the other 150 dogs to be fixed, vaccinated and placed with a rescue group to find their forever homes. As one first nation person says so succinctly in this video- “They love their animals; they just don’t know how to do it right.” So, ARC also went to the elementary and high schools to teach humane education- how to care for animals, their needs and wants, our reason for being there, etc. and I heard that some of the high school kids were building dog houses after we left. I hope we left a lasting impression on the people of Lac Simon; this mission certainly has made a lasting impression on me. Probably, the biggest lesson for me on this rescue is finally admitting that many, actually most, people are just plain ignorant of how to take care of animals, even dogs and cats. One thing is for sure- Animal Rescue Corps definitely knows how & will go to the ends of the earth to save the unfortunate ones who are suffering. I also have to say that ARC
is led by a very special man, Scotlund Haisley, who has the courage, the determination, the compassion and the leadership to inspire the team to do our best. The ARC team is full of dedicated, selfless people who come together and work together because we love animals and want to help the unfortunate ones. I hope you enjoy the film of this project and become an ARC supporter so we can save more! Here’s an article from the Montreal Gazette about our efforts. Dog bless you!
By Max Harrold
November 17, 2011
The stray dogs would have been rounded up and culled – either shot or gassed, not uncommon in some remote First Nations communities in Quebec, experts say – but instead they were lured with canned dog food, caught and sterilized before being released back to their owners or put up for adoption.
The intervention was conducted Nov. 3-8, when about 40 volunteers from the Anishinabe Nation in Lac Simon, 175 kilometres northwest of Montreal, and the U.S.-based Animal Rescue Corps caught 275 dogs in the Algonquin community and then spayed and neutered them in a clinic set up on-site, Animal Rescue Corps president Scotlund Haisley said.
Of the lot, 175 were returned to their owners in Anishinabe and 100 unclaimed dogs were transported 275 kilometres to Brome in a rented 16-metre air-conditioned truck. They were housed in a building loaned by the Brome Fair. Since last week, all but six have been relocated to animal shelters, mainly in Ontario.
The six dogs still unadopted on Wednesday included a Boston Terrier being treated for mange, a yellow lab, a black lab, a husky puppy and Rottweiler mix with no teeth “because he was chewing rocks; he was that hungry,” Haisley said.
The rescue operation, costing an estimated $75,000 for the group funded largely by private donors in the U.S., is believed to be the first of its kind where there has been the full cooperation of a First Nation, he said, providing “a lasting, full-circle solution” to controlling a stray dog population. It’s a problem he has heard is “widespread” in many First Nations in Quebec, Haisley said.
The $3,700 spent annually by the community of 1,650 people to kill stray dogs will now go to pay for an animal-control advocate who will educate residents about pet sterilization and connect them with a veterinarian in a nearby town, Haisley explained.
Terry Babin, Anishinabe’s director of housing, invited the group to come in. “They did a fantastic job,” he told The Gazette.
“We had too many dogs. It’s been that way for years, since I was a kid,” the 35-year-old said.
Although friendly, the dogs can get aggressive when they roam in packs, he said. There have been tense moments with packs of dogs at the local school.
From now on, animal control will be strictly enforced, with a licensing system and mandatory sterilizations.
“Either you do it or we come and pick up your dog,” Babin said.
Babin agreed that stray dog populations are a big problem in other First Nations communities, especially those without pound services or veterinarians nearby to conduct sterilizations.
“I hear that the Mohawk community (Kahnawake) near Montreal is a dumping ground for (non-residents) who drive by there and don’t want their dogs anymore,” Babin added.
Justus Polson-Lahache, a spokesperson for the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, said “it happens all the time; people dump their dogs off at the (traffic) lights when they drive through here. It gets really bad right after Christmas when people have just got pets and they realize how much work it is.”
Between June 6 and Oct. 21 this year, Kahnawake’s pound picked up 89 dogs, 33 of which were not from the community, Polson-Lahache said. Sixteen of those were adopted and 17 were sent to the AMR pound in St. Constant.
Polson-Lahache said animal control in some First Nations is hampered by a lack of bylaws on the topic, a lack of enforcement by police and a lack of awareness of the issue by the public.
Haisley said he would like to repeat the catch-and-release effort in other First Nations communities. Formerly an animal-control officer in Washington D.C. and an animal shelter director in Manhattan, Haisley, 43, said there is “still tremendous injustice being done to animals.
“As humans, we have the power of compassion so we can make that change.”
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