Friday, November 20, 2009

Dog Bite Prevention in Northern Communities

Every year dedicated volunteer veterinary teams from Saskatchewan, Canada visit isolated communities in the north. In September Team North visited Sandy Bay, a community of about 1300 people, surrounded by spectacular wilderness. The veterinary team provided examinations, de-worming and spay/neuter for about 57 dogs and 3 cats as well as educational programs for local school children.

The report of this latest Team North adventure was written by Dr. Lesley Sheppard and printed in the Fall 2009 issue of the SVMA News. Here is an excerpt:
There were many stray dogs in the community wandering around. When we arrived, we were met by a group of about eight dogs, not aggressive, just checking us out. ... Emily Jenkins and I gave several talks about veterinary medicine and dog bite prevention to the school... In light of the recent dog bite incident at Ile-a-La-crosse, the need to continue the program is evident. The combination of spay/neuter, education, dog bite prevention and a town dog catcher will help these communities a great deal.

Doggone Safe is very pleased to note that these professionals consider dog bite prevention education to be an important part of their mission.

The incident in Ile-a-la-crosse (another northern Saskatchewan community), to which Dr. Sheppard refers, involved the serious mauling of a 6-year old child by a loose dog. This town has responded by rounding up the loose dogs and shooting them. This tragedy highlights the need for dog owner education, bite prevention education, access to spay/neuter clinics and animal control. Click here to see a photo of the victim (graphic) and to read a news report.

Thanks to Team North for doing what they can to try to prevent this type of situation. if you would like to donate money or supplies to the next Team North trip in the spring, please contact the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association for information.

Click here to download the entire article. Reprinted with permission from the SVMA News, Fall 2009

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