Ap­peal to SPCA

North­west An­gle 33 pur­sues ca­nine spay and neuter pro­gram in wake of tragedy

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - LOCAL NEWS - REG CLAY­TON

North­west An­gle 33 First Na­tion res­i­dents on Lake of the Woods south­west of Kenora have more ques­tions than an­swers nearly a month af­ter sev­eral lo­cal dogs were killed on Jan. 17 when they wan­dered over the ice into the neigh­bour­ing com­mu­nity of An­gle In­let, MN, on the U.S. side of the in­ter­na­tional bound­ary.

Ac­cord­ing to band mem­ber Norma Gi­rard, who is also lands man­ager for the First Na­tion, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Lake of the Woods County Sher­iff’s depart­ment is on­go­ing. How­ever, she said band mem­bers ques­tion whether the in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­ble for run­ning the dogs down on a snow­ma­chine will ever be charged.

“We don’t want this swept un­der the rug,” Gi­rard re­lated in an in­ter­view with the Miner and News. “We don’t want to stir up trou­ble with our neigh­bours but it was very wrong what this per­son did, it was a very cruel act.”

She added the com­mu­nity is also ap­peal­ing to the So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of An­i­mals (SPCA) in Min­nesota to in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent.

North­west An­gle 33 res­i­dent Con­rad Ross is among sev­eral lo­cal dog own­ers griev­ing the loss of their fam­ily pet. Ross went search­ing for Boo, the seven year old Labrador cross he de­scribes as “my best friend” fol­low­ing the tragedy. In An­gle In­let he en­coun­tered Deputy Ja­son Goulet who was con­duct­ing the ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent.

“He was up­set about what hap­pened and ex­tremely sup­port­ive in pur­su­ing the per­son re­spon­si­ble,” Ross noted, adding that some band mem­bers, in­clud­ing him­self, have rea­son to be­lieve their dogs were killed by some­one from out­side the com­mu­nity and sus­pect the cul­prit was a vis­it­ing ice an­gler stay­ing at one of the lo­cal lodges rather than a res­i­dent of An­gle In­let.

Ross fol­lowed a blood trail for about three-quar­ters of a mile into the bush be­liev­ing he was track­ing a neigh­bour’s dog when he found Boo lay­ing dead in a de­pres­sion in the snow. Ross was too ex­hausted to carry the body out and Boo was later re­cov­ered by a friend.

Mean­while, band mem­bers are or­ga­niz­ing a com­mu­nity spay and neuter pro­gram with help from It’s a Dog’s Life in Kenora. Ac­cord­ing to It’s a Dog’s Life rep­re­sen­ta­tive Chris Madi­son, rather than host a com­mu­nity clinic, two ve­teri­nary clin­ics in Dry­den will ster­il­ize up to 20 male and fe­male ca­nines brought in from North­west An­gle 33.

“It’s not fea­si­ble to do it in the com­mu­nity which is dif­fi­cult to ac­cess by road in the win­ter and for so few dogs,” Madi­son said, adding that clin­ics held at First Na­tion com­mu­ni­ties in the past will ster­il­ize up to 100 dogs.

Madi­son was es­pe­cially sad­dened by the death of one the dogs, Elsie, a white husky-cross, for which she had found an adop­tive fam­ily only too late.

“Most peo­ple care for their an­i­mals prop­erly, hav­ing them spayed and neutered and get­ting their shots but some do not,” Gi­rard ac­knowl­edged. “If any­thing pos­i­tive comes out of this (tragedy) it’s that the com­mu­nity is tak­ing a proac­tive ap­proach to an­i­mal care. We don’t want some­thing like this to hap­pen again.”

Gi­rard added that com­mu­nity mem­bers rec­og­nize there is a prob­lem with strays wan­der­ing in and out of the re­serve and with a new school be­ing built at North­west An­gle 33, the band coun­cil must have an an­i­mal con­trol by­law in place.

Po­lice re­quest any­one with in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the in­ci­dent to call Lake of the Woods County Sher­iff’s Of­fice n Baudette, MN at 1-218-6341143.

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