There are no veterinary services in these isolated communities so the dogs cannot be spayed or neutered. Not all dogs are taken indoors so they are either chained outside or left free to roam. Over-breeding occurs and many puppies are born under houses, in the bush or amongst debris. For many years the only solution to the overpopulation problem was the dog cull where stray dogs were rounded up and shot. Since rescue organizations are more than willing to remove dogs from the communities and host spay/neuter clinics there is now a hopeful alternative to the past way of doing things.
One female and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just six years.
The dogs that do live can face hardship, abandonment and neglect. The elements alone can put dogs at risk and some puppies are born outside in minus fifty-degree weather. Many freeze to death before they can be found and cared for. Others suffer from frostbite, starvation, mange due to a compromised immune system and malnutrition. Some pups, as young as three weeks of age, can become orphans if their mothers have been shot during a round up when they were out scrounging for food. This may not be intentional but it happens. The sheer number of unwanted dogs puts a burden on these communities and their limited veterinary resources makes the situation impossible to deal with. Even the many families who love and care for their dogs face the hardest of decisions if their dog is injured or becomes ill. They must give up the dog and send it south if it is to survive.
People move and for many reasons are unable to take their dogs so they get left behind. These abandoned dogs get added to the packs of community dogs that don’t actually belong to anyone but roam from house to house and are fed randomly by various people who watch over them.
We rely on people within the northern communities to help rescue the dogs in need. In Attawapiskat people are finding dogs who are injured or unwanted and taking them to our rescue worker who then cares for them until they can be sent down to us. He is truly the hero of the story because he will house moms with their new born litters amongst young dogs and orphan puppies. The adult dogs remain outside but do not stray far because they are well fed and housed. There is no end to his goodness and the many people working with him.
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