A northern Manitoba First Nation is hoping a new contraceptive chip will help keep wild dog populations under control and stop the need for culling (selective killing). Debra Vanderhove of Norway House’s animal rescue program said the community is looking at a contraceptive chip implanted into female dogs as a cheaper alternative to a spay and neuter program. “[The contraceptive] definitely helps get down the aggression level when females are in heat,” said Vanderhove. “That’s when they [males] get aggressive and attack children.”
The chip costs only $80, compared to about $300 for spay and neutering, and is more expensive in northern communities because veterinarians have to be flown in to do the procedure. Vanderhove explained the chip is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades of female and stops them from getting pregnant for 22 to 24 months, which is about the average life span of a reserve dog. “It’s nothing to get a veterinarian on a plane with a couple of suitcases to implant those things,” said Vanderhove.
The convenient chip is a better alternative to the controversial mass dog culls that take place in a number of northern First Nations communities. Dog culls came under fire earlier this year when Sally Hull of Hull’s Haven in Stonewall, Manitoba was forced to euthanize a badly injured dog during a cull on a northern First Nation in early April. The dog named Trooper had 17 shotgun pellets in his head that shattered his skull bones destroyed some of his teeth. Hull said Trooper had been left lying in someone’s yard for several days before he was flown to Stonewall for emergency care. Hull set up a Facebook page petition asking people to support bylaws governing dog ownership in northern communities and calling for an end of the practice of dog culls.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief David Harper said dog culls are necessary for safety reasons. “It’s for the safety of the children and the community,” said Harper at the time. A search of CBC archives revealed eleven dog mauling deaths of children under 8 between 1998 and 2007 on First Nations reserve communities.