A collection of animal rescue groups from the Edmonton area joined forces in Hobbema Thursday to try to save some of the dozens of dogs running wild in the First Nations community.
The plan was to pick up the 20 dogs that are most injured or ill, said Tracy Penrod of Sundance Canine Rescue. But she admitted she would like to help them all.
"It does get frustrating, of course it does. You see dogs like this one that need medical attention and you can't bring them in. It's hard. It's hard when you don't have room,"said Penrod.
"But the reality if is, if we don't have foster homes and we don't have people willing to help, you can't bring them in."
The dogs have no owners and wander around the community where some residents feed them occasionally. But they are not spayed or neutered and so the problem grows.
"Dogs are part of our culture in some aspects, both spiritual and through history, so dogs do play a significant role," said Dwayne Eaglechild, a community health manager for Maskwacis Health Services.
The dogs are mostly friendly, he said, but still present a health and safety risk. Last year, 50 people in the community were bitten.
"Some of our communities they have been reduced to taking the choice to shooting dogs at random to control population," he said.
"We want to take more proactive, more education awareness approach, and look at some programs that will bring populations under control."
A spay and neuter clinic is planned for the community later this spring.