Two First Nations near Calgary are warning residents about roaming dogs and dog attacks.
Alrey Brass grew up on a farm and loves animals. He was taught to respect them and care for them. Brass says it breaks his heart to see so many dogs being neglected on the Siksika Nation.
“I can’t even walk next door without dogs trying to attack,” Brass said.
He says dogs have gotten into his garbage, pursued him and bitten other residents.
As a resident of the Siksika Nation, Brass is worried about the safety of humans and the fate of the hungry dogs he ends up feeding.
“These aren’t even my dogs, but I’m feeding them because they are hungry and if you don’t feed them, they get really mean and they will bite,” Brass said. “They are cold and they’re not being fed. No water, no shelter. The dogs barking at all hours of the night wake you up.”
On November 28, Siksika Animal Services issued a warning that there have been several dog bites reported in the area. They reminded people to make sure dogs are given appropriate shelter, fresh water and food and to get the animals spayed and neutered.
“If you or a family member are bitten by a dog, try to get a good description of the dog. If we can’t positively identify the dog, we won’t be able to enforce the Siksika dog care and control bylaw,” reads the statement posted to social media.
In a statement to Global News, Siksika Nation Animal Service said they have strict rules regarding capture, removal, education for owners or rehoming off the nation, and that all dogs involved in an attack are required to be isolated and to undergo behavioural assessments.
“However, we are affected by the challenges brought on by the pandemic and a lack of kennel space off-reserve, which we rely on and is connected to a larger crisis outside of Siksika. The lack of kennel space and a bout of distemper has taxed our resources and forced us to create an interim emergency holding kennel to isolate any dog involved in an attack. This is supplemented by working with dog owners to take responsibility to secure the animal when kenneling space is not available,” the statement said.
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“Within the next week, we will have six active staff in Animal Services , a join team effort between Animal Services and security staff.”
According to the Siksika Nation, since the start of 2022 to March 2023, over 225 dogs have been spayed and/or neutered, over 155 animals (primarily dogs) were rehomed after being surrendered and/or seized, and there have been five dog-related attacks.
Since 2022, Siksika Animal Services has increased staff and response capacity for service calls.
Tsuut’ina police issue similar dog warning
The Tsuut’ina Nation Police Service are warning residents about “vicious” dogs roaming the area.
A letter to residents dated March 2 said, “There is an increase in concern with roaming dogs. More concerning is that some of these dogs are vicious. Over the last couple of months, there have been a number of reports of dog attacks.”
The animal control by law requires dogs to be on leashes and under complete control by the owner in public places. Failure to do so can result in a fine up to $1,000.
“In response to the concerns, head chief and minor chiefs have issued a directive to Tosguna to take count of the dogs and who owns those dogs in North Sarcee and any other areas of concern,” reads the post.
“For the safety of our children and our community, please cooperate with Tosguna and provide them with the requested information.”
Brass said more needs to be done both by officials and residents in his community.
“Tag the dogs. Take responsibility. We all have to work together and create awareness and fight for these dogs, because they can’t fend for themselves. We are supposed to be here to care for them and love them,” Brass said.
Brass said historically dogs have played an important role in Indigenous life.
“There’s many nation members out there that have come together to help the dogs.”
This week, Siksika Animal Services teamed up with Canadian Animal Task Force to vaccinate roaming dogs.
The next Siksika spay and neuter clinic will be held between April 21 and 23, 2023.