Most Aboriginal people know dogs were living within their nation pre-contact. However, today those dogs are gone and replaced with dogs that are foreign to the land. Today’s dogs were changed, through breeding, in other areas of the world for specific purposes. Dachshunds were bred in Germany to go into holes and kill badgers, foxes, and other pests; Karelian Bear Dogs were developed in Finland to hunt bears; Rottweilers and Dobermans were used as guard dogs by Nazi Germany; Siberian Huskies and Norwegian Elkhounds were bred in Northern Europe to pull sleds in the snow; and the list goes on. When dogs were changed through selective breeding, they also lost their ability to live in the wild and to control their own population. Today’s dogs are a man-made problem imported into Aboriginal communities. Uncontrolled dog populations and problems they cause are also an issue in the rest of the world. In response, the world developed humane societies (public education and the prevention of cruelty), veterinary services, bylaw regulations, and animal bylaw enforcement services as the infrastructure to control problems created by these changed dogs. Unfortunately, these infrastructure services have been withheld from Aboriginal people and their teachings never introduced and adapted to respect Aboriginal culture.
Most Aboriginal communities are plagued by out-of-control dog populations and dog-related problems. Dog overpopulation was identified as one of the top ten environmental problems within Northwestern Ontario First Nation communities1. However, it was not just citizens and their communities that needed veterinary infrastructure services, the Aboriginal police were also missing their veterinary infrastructure-related services. It appears that Aboriginal police services can not fulfill their mandate to protect citizens from aggressive and dangerous dogs without harmonized laws and an animal control service system; including the development of dog pound, animal control officer, and related veterinary services.
1. Environmental Contaminants & Traditional Foods Workshop Final Report. March 15, 2004. Page 28. Environmental Research Division, First Nation and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada. Thunder Bay, Ontario, February 10-11, 2004.
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