Central Vet staff prepare a dog for surgery on June 18 during the project to help limit a nearby feral dog population in conjunction with a provincial charity and two area animal welfare and rescue groups. Image: Canadian Animal Task Force

Groups combine to fix feral dogs, control population

Spay/neuter program designed as preventative measure

A recent concerted community effort is helping bring down future feral dog populations in the area, while also attempting to educate people about responsible pet ownership.

The Canadian Animal Task Force (CATF), an Alberta charity that focuses on the health and safety of animals in addition to programs that help to control, shelter and re-home dogs, organized a project last month that hopefully will quell the growth of a feral dog population near Ponoka.

With the combined assistance of Ponoka’s Central Veterinary Clinic, Old MacDonald Kennels and the Saving Grace Animal Rescue Society, a total of 20 feral dogs were spayed or neutered, vaccinated and de-wormed June 17 and 18.

R.J. Bailot, CATF executive director, stated the project involved some area residents that have been taking care of the animals, but wanted assistance after finding they were getting overwhelmed by the number of dogs.

“It would not have been possible without the great support of these two organizations and the wonderful and efficient work of Central Vet,” Bailot said, adding the residents reached out to the local rescue groups who then approached them.

“This kind of work is preventative and is the most effective way to address the issue of overpopulation.”

The charity has been around since 2005 and has been working mostly with First Nations communities at controlling out-of-control feral animals, including spaying and neutering more than 550 dogs at Maskwacis in recent times.

“Feral animals stem from either some financial implications or no longer wanting to care for a pet,” he said.

“However, these roadblocks can be avoided if people are mindful of what it will take to care for the animal.”

That includes seemingly homeless and feral dogs and cats, which can easily escalate to hundreds of dollars for food.

“People start out with great intentions, but things can happen quickly and before you know it, it’s gotten out of hand,” Bailot added.

For more information on CATF, check them out online at cataskforce.org or visit their Facebook page. To see animals that have been put up for adoption, search Facebook for Old MacDonald Kennels’ and Saving Grace Animal Rescue’s pages.

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