A project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is taking a progressive, community approach to the massive problem of dog overpopulation on tribal reservations across America, the Associated Press reports.
Virginia Ravndal, the founder of the Lakota Animal Care Project, is combating the issue of stray, disease-ridden and homeless dogs by training local tribal members to provide basic pet care for diseases like mange and worms and talk to residents about spaying and neutering. She has also started a program that teaches children the basics of animal care.
In the Navajo Nation, there are hundreds of thousands of stray dogs that pose risks to livestock and people, as well as suffer from disease, according to the Nation's wildlife and animal control manager Kevin Gleason.
Gleason said that roundups of the stray dogs have had little effect. Partly because the reservation doesn't have enough money to continually conduct the collection of such a widespread population of animals, and partly because dogs have cultural significance to the people.
In addition, many outside animal rescue
groups don't want to work with tribes because of their high euthanasia rates, and others are afraid of stepping on cultural toes.