Published on July 16, 2018
Jasmine Dhillon, Duane Favel, Daryl Delorme, Ann Ratt, Tasha Epp
In Canada, an average of 1-2 fatal dog attacks in indigenous communities occur per year. The majority of these deaths have involved free-roaming or semi-restricted dogs. In many indigenous communities in Canada, especially those in northern or remote locations, increasing dog numbers are considered to be a dangerous and emotionally charged issue. Dealing with the issues that these animals create in communities requires having a population management plan and dog bite prevention program in place. However, developing a community supported comprehensive intervention can be complicated. Research focused on three separate communities in which the communities themselves worked to create successful solutions for their own perceived issues. This article is the result of work within the three communities to highlight certain issues they noted on their road to creating sustainable programs for dog control.
Community A shares the progress of working towards a sustainable program, which focused on building support in the community for new community designed legislation. Community B shares the process of developing effective bylaws. And Community C shares the experience of enforcing the bylaws. Developing enforceable and appealing legislation in Canadian First Nations communities can often be fraught with difficulties due to the multilevel approval process involved. In addition, finding common ground for all community members requires substantial diplomacy, engagement and knowledge of all impacted community partners over an extended period of time. We discuss the steps and stumbles taken in developing and enforcing such legislation, and provide recommendations for communities looking to determine their desired goals, create their own ‘dog bylaw’ or begin the process of managing dogs within their own boundaries.
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