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Mount Currie to move dogs off its streets

Children being attacked by packs running wild in community

The Mount Currie Band is gathering resources as it readies to pull hundreds of canines off its streets.

The First Nation community east of Pemberton has had it with kids being attacked, with packs running wild and owners who refuse to manage and care for their pets. On July 29 and 30 the band, assisted by WAG and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) will indiscriminately pull dogs off the streets if they aren't fenced in or tied up.

Lucinda Phillips, head of Mount Currie's land and resources department and currently serving as interim administrator, is leading the charge. She's set a goal for 200 dogs to be pulled off the streets in those two days alone.

"We have a dog problem," she said. "We have too much wandering the community, we have a lot of community children being attacked, we have packs running wild, anything and everything with dogs is a problem."

Phillips couldn't identify where the problem started. She said there's been dogs loose and running the streets for as long as she can remember.

"Forever, since I don't know, forever," she said. "It's just been a problem and I'm pretty much sick of it. I'm sick of receiving letters of complaints, I can't even put it to numbers."

As far as causes go, she said it's the "callousness of owners" allowing dogs to mate with one another and then not taking care of their offspring.

"Spaying and neutering, it helped to a certain degree," she said. "But it doesn't take care of the vicious dogs, the dogs that travel in packs. I think out in the bushes we have wild dogs that are starting to come into the community."

Phillips wasn't sure whether the dogs in the community have been spreading disease among people they come into contact with. She said dogs once attacked her daughter on both of her calves and that she got shots to treat them. The animals broke her skin but Phillips said there was no sign of disease.

Mount Currie's Band Council has been receiving a number of letters with complaints about the dogs roaming its streets. Indeed, there are several that run freely throughout the community and it isn't clear whether many of them actually belong to anyone.

Phillips has thus assembled a number of trucks and is looking for volunteers to help her go through the streets for two days and pick up the animals.

They will then be taken to any SPCA shelters that has space or WAG, if Whistler's shelter has any room to take them. She's gotten nothing but support for her plan.

"I think it needed someone to step up and take this on," she said.

WAG Executive Director Paula Del Bosco said in an interview that the Mount Currie Band will be working in conjunction with the Stl'atl'imx Tribal Police to hire people to find the dogs that are strays, and WAG will assist with transportation.

"It'll be completely up to Lucinda and the Tribal Band as to how they're planning on hiring people, from what I understand, to assist them in capturing the dogs that are wild and running around without homes," Del Bosco said. "They'll turn over ownership to WAG and the SPCA and they'll transport them to facilities to find new homes."

Phillips is asking owners to tie up their dogs, fence them in or even close them up inside their homes on July 29 and 30 if they want to keep them. Otherwise, they will be picked up even if they have dog licenses.

"After we're done with WAG and SPCA, I hope more homeowners will keep them locked up in the house," she said.