THUNDER BAY – Today, over 40 dogs and puppies, as well as a number of cats, are travelling through Thunder Bay, Ontario, as they make their journey south to be adopted through the Ontario SPCA’s Year of the Northern Dog program.
On this dog transfer, the Ontario SPCA and Northern Ontario animal wellness partners relocated animals from Naotkamegwanning First Nation (Whitefish Bay) and other Northern communities. The Ontario SPCA has been partnering with Naotkamegwanning First Nation since 2015 to support dogs and provide resources such as spay/neuter services.
“Naotkamegwanning First Nation is a leader in animal wellness and is working towards the development of a Community Animal Management Strategy. Education, community engagement, outreach and providing culturally relevant solutions has been crucial in working with Northern communities to improve the health and welfare of animals,” says Judy Decicco, a Thunder Bay resident and Ontario SPCA board member.
When the Ontario SPCA was in Naotkamegwanning First Nation to transfer the dogs and puppies, the organization also participated in cultural ceremonies and provided humane education and bylaw consultation. “These are customized solutions developed with community leadership, with the objective of building a healthy community for animals and people,” says Daryl Vaillancourt, Senior Director, Humane Programs and Community Outreach.
Several volunteers were on site at the Central Canada Feeding Station in Thunder Bay to help walk, clean and feed the canines, preparing them for the rest of their travels. The dogs are en route to Ontario SPCA Animal Centres in Sudbury, Barrie, Midland, Orillia, Muskoka, Orangeville, Stouffville, Cornwall, Pembroke, Napanee and Brockville where they will be placed up for adoption. The Peterborough Humane Society and Brant County SPCA will also be welcoming dogs into their adoption programs.
The issue of Northern dog overpopulation continues to be a major challenge across Canada. A lack of basic animal wellness services has created an abundance of dogs in the North, who need resources and support.
“This has been an extremely successful program, as we have seen over 200 dogs relocated and adopted by families in 2018. Spay and neuter clinics are also having a lasting and positive impact in these communities. The Ontario SPCA continues to encourage Northern communities to collaborate on a proactive and effective approach,” continues Vaillancourt.
The transfer was made possible thanks to the vision and leadership of the communities, as well as a partnership with Northern Reach Rescue Network, Second Chance Pet Rescue, the Peterborough Humane Society, Brant County SPCA and Northern Legacy Horse Farm, which transports dogs aboard its “Bark Bus.”
The Ontario SPCA has delivered animal wellness services and provided transfers from close to 30 Northern communities this year in celebration of the Year of the Northern Dog program. To bring awareness, attention and action to Northern dog overpopulation, the Ontario SPCA declared 2018 the Year of the Northern Dog.
For more information, including how you can get involved, visit northerndog.com