Conservation officers to help First Nation manage stray dogs after death

The province is sending conservation officers to Little Grand Rapids First Nation to help the community deal with stray dogs after a death.

Little Grand Rapids First Nation's Donnelly Rose Eaglestick, 24, died after dog attack Saturday

Donnelly Eaglestick, 24, died from an attack by stray dogs in Little Grand Rapids First Nation Saturday morning. (Submitted)

The province is offering assistance from conservation officers after a fatal dog-mauling in Little Grand Rapids First Nation.

Donnelly Rose Eaglestick, 24, was found dead surrounded by dozens of stray dogs Saturday morning.

"I think that's very important, that we work together with the community," said Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox in the Manitoba Legislature on Thursday.

On Friday, Cox clarified the role of conservation officers, saying that officers would be available to assist and provide advice, but have not yet gone to the community.

"Our assistant deputy minister is trying to communicate with the chief and see if, in fact, we should be sending officers out there to assist with that," she said.

"I don't mean that they would be assisting first hand, but providing advice on how to act in the community with regard to the wild dogs."

Cox also said the RCMP should be consulted because they have assisted First Nations communities with this issue in the past.

Interim Liberal Leader Judy Klassen (Kewatinook) said Little Grand Rapids is heartbroken after the death of Eaglestick.

She said Eaglestick's family is further racked with pain not knowing which dogs were responsible for the killing.

Eaglestick, the mom of a five-year-old girl, was remembered by family and friends as fun-loving and kind.

"I can't imagine what heartache they went through," Klassen said of Eaglestick's family.

"The community feels helpless and needs all levels to deal with the frightening situation."

Klassen is calling for funding to help First Nations develop their own dog control programs. 

She is also asking the provincial and federal governments to meet and create a partnership that would allow Manitoba conservation officers to help communities manage strays.

Municipal Affairs Minister Eileen Clarke said her department will meet with federal partners.

"This issue of dogs is throughout our province and needs to be looked at, and it needs to be done immediately," she said.

"We will work with all partners, whether it's Sustainable Development, our veterinary services, our federal partners, to work together collaboratively."

with files from Susan Magas