Last Sunday, a pack of wild dogs attacked a man fishing just outside of the Tsuu T’ina Indian reserve that borders on Calgary city limits. It only took two days for apologists to come out of the woodwork and point out how this incident is clearly the fault of pretty much everybody but the reserve itself.
Bill Bruce (Calgary’s chief bylaw officer) has lept to the fore and said the problem is fully Calgarian’s fault as residents are driving on to the reserve and dropping unwanted pets upon it. Platt with the Calgary Sun gleefully promoted that view with quotes from Bruce here.
All I can say to Bruce is bullshit!
Wild dogs have been a problem on indian reserves across the entire country for decades. This problem is not new and it is not the fault of people who do not live on the reservations.
This issue is a very serious one as well. Children have been killed.
November 16 2006, five-year-old Lance Ribbonleg was mauled to death on the North Tallcree First Nation reserve.
June, 2004 — A three-year-old boy was mauled to death by several dogs on the Sayisi Dene First Nation reserve near Tadoule Lake, Man. One of the dogs, a husky-cross, was shot and killed by a band member shortly after the mauling.
November, 1999 — A pack of starving dogs killed five-year-old Cecilia Alook in Garden River, Alta., after she stopped to pet a puppy just 200 metres from her home. One of the dogs, a Rottweiler, was destroyed.
December, 1998 — At Cross Lake First Nation reserve in Manitoba, an eight-year-old boy was killed by a pack of stray dogs after they spotted him walking home with food in his hand. The boy, whose name was not released, was the second child on the reserve to be killed by dogs since 1996. A two-year-old was also mauled to death in the summer of that year.
There are Eastern cases of wild dog attacks on reserves as well but I am sticking to the West as these are the reservations that I have spent time on.
The evidence is rather clear that there is a large problem and it has nothing to do with neighboring urban dwellers. The problem is that reserves are largely populated by people with little to no sense of personal responsibility. Residents on reserves get pets for many of the same reasons that anybody else does eg. companionship, home protection etc. The difference is, responsible practices such as spaying/neutering or even restraining dogs in heat are completely foreign concepts on reserves. I have seen this first hand many times. Most houses will have a few outdoor dogs who are never tied and never fixed. Guess what happens?
Many natives are having difficulties taking care of themselves responsibly, much less caring for animals. When the dogs inevitably breed, the offspring are neglected or even chased from the household area. These now starving pups do what comes naturally to them. They pack up and keep breeding. It really is not a complicated issue.
Iwrote about the excellent outcomes on some reservations when band leadership embraces and encourages intitiative and personal responsibility within the membership. One of the main factors in changing their attitudes and leading them to success has been to quit blaming everybody else for their problems. There is tremendous potential on all Canadian reserves for the residents to pick themselves up and prosper.
This will never happen for more reserves however as long as residents keep blaming the world for their problems and idiots off reserve such as Bill Bruce keep feeding that attitude of irresponsibility.
The problem on the Tsuu T’ina reserve may very well lead to the death of a child if it is not properly addressed. Is there any chance of this being fixed however when Calgarians are blamed for the Tsuu T’ina’s homegrown wild dog problem? Likely not.
Most of the deaths on reserves from wild dogs that I listed were on very isolated reserves. Are we to believe fools like Bruce in that people from Edmonton have driven 8 hours to get near Ft. Vermillion in order to abandon their dogs? Edmonton is the nearest major center to the reserves with dog problems thus by Bruce’s logic Edmonton must be to blame. Why are there not packs of wild dogs roaming the NE,NW and SE quadrants of the city? One would think that this mass of city dwellers abandoning dogs would go in all directions would they not?
There have been many past injustices brought upon natives by Canada. The damage will never be solved however if we continue to encourage them to feel that nothing that ever goes wrong is their own fault.
The dog problems land directly on the band management on all of these reserves (welcome to “self-government”). I am sick and tired of being blamed.