Nfld. & Labrador

Birth control underway for stray dogs in Labrador

A team of Alberta veterinarians is in a Labrador community this week, to provide birth control for roaming dogs.

Implanted contraceptive lasts for 18-24 months

A group of vets from Dogs with No Names prepares to implant a contraceptive into one of Sheshatshiu's stray female dogs. (CBC)

A team of Alberta veterinarians is in Labrador this week to provide birth control for roaming female dogs.

Stray dogs have long been a problem in the community of Sheshatshiu.

The veterinarians are with the organization, Dogs with No Names, based in Alberta.

In 2009, a scientific pilot program was initiated by the group, to humanely reduce the population of unwanted dogs on two First Nations reserves in southern Alberta.

For the first time ever, contraceptive implants were inserted under the skin of female dogs, many of them semi-feral and feral in nature. 

About 100 stray female dogs in Sheshatshiu are receiving implants to keep them from breeding, which should prevent about 100,000 births over the next few years. The contraceptive will last for 18-24 months.

Innu band manager Greg Pastitshi is relieved to finally have a solution for his community's dog problem.

Innu band manager Greg Pastitshi is pleased that the province's Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Hugh Whitney, connected him with the Dogs with No Names team. (CBC)

"I think it's an excellent thing that's very positive for the community when it comes to dog control and dog population, because a lot of community members really love their dogs, and we want to help them as much as we can from the band council."

The project is being funded by the provincial government and through donations.

Veterinarian Dr. Judith Sampson-French is one of the volunteers in Sheshatshiu this week.

"This is a great community to work with ... they're very collaborative with the project," said Sampson-French. "They're even coming in to us and bringing dogs to be implanted and vaccinated. This is awesome, this is great cooperation we're having."

"Oh, I am sure it will be stabilized just after one week, putting implants in here ... based on what we've done in Alberta. I am sure the population here will be stabilized very quickly," she said.

The province will be sending a small team to continue implanting dogs in Natuashish next week. In addition to the contraceptive implant, each dog will receive a rabies vaccination and deworming. An implanted microchip will track the animal.