News / Saskatoon

Saskatchewan village takes up 'unfortunate' culling of stray dogs

Each spring as dogs enter mating season, some people in northern Saskatchewan turn to culling.

Duane Favel, mayor of the remote village of Ile-a-la-Crosse, says during this time of year untagged canines that litter the streets are in heat and aggressive.

“They start bunching up outside the schools,” said Favel. “They become extremely dangerous.”

It’s been like this since Favel can remember. One explanation, he said, is northern society has changed and dogs are no longer necessary for transportation.

But without a permanent veterinarian to neuter animals or a bylaw enforcer to regulate pet owners, Favel said Ile-a-la-Crosse has few options.

“Sometimes we have to resort to culling, which is unfortunate because we certainly don’t want to do that,” said Favel.

He could not estimate how many dogs have been killed in the process.

A poster hung at the village office around three months ago, says administrator Diane McCallum, seeks pest control personnel who have firearm acquisition certificates.

“It took a while before we got anyone,” said McCallum.

Even though most don’t want to shoot dogs, tragedies are fresh in the minds of those who live in isolated places.

This season, two young girls were attacked and killed in rural Manitoba on separate occasions. In 2009, a six-year-old boy was mauled in Ile-a-la-Crosse.

Favel said he is consulting with residents on an action plan and there is a need for a holding facility for dogs to stay until claimed or brought to a shelter, which could be difficult to finance.

“It’s really tragic that these things need to constantly happen in order for anyone to realize there’s a problem,” said Bowden-Leonard.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Government Relations in Saskatchewan, who requested not to be named, said animal control is not the province’s responsibility.

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