Pet owners could face fines in James Bay community
Controlling dog populations is a recurrent problem in many remote communities
Pet owners in the James Bay community of Chisasibi are being warned they will soon face fines for not registering their animals and not respecting animal bylaws which have been in effect for years.
"It helps us when there is a bite in the community. The hospital can call me. They can know if the dog was vaccinated or not," said Jolyanne Brien Holland, animal technician for the Northern Quebec community about 1400 kilometres north of Montreal and the largest of the Cree communities.
"We [will] know if your dog is spayed or neutered. If your dog is reproducing puppies every year. Is he being a problem in the community?"
Controlling dog populations is a recurrent problem in many remote communities, where dogs often roam freely in packs.
There have been dog attacks in other Cree communities, including one incident in 2015 where a 6-year-old boy was mauled.
'For the safety of the community'
As of October 5th, police in Chisasibi will start handing out tickets ranging from a $100 to $2000. Brien Holland says only about 25 pet owners out of an estimated 260 in the community have complied with the bylaws and registered their pet so far.
"It's to help open people's eyes that being a responsible pet owner also means that you have to register your pet. You need to vaccinate every year. You need to do some stuff that will keep everyone safe."
To comply with the bylaws, residents must register their dogs and cats with the local animal rescue department or at the band office, at a cost of $10 or $25 a year depending on whether the animal is spayed or neutered.
"It is for the safety of the community, and to make sure that we care for the animals in our community," said Brien Holland.
"It's been three years since we started our animal care program, and we believe that people do have to start taking care of their dogs, because we've worked hard to help them and educate them on how they must care for their animals."