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On February 5, 2024, MFNM commenced a pilot-project which establishes an Animal Services community-of-practice. It will run until March 31, 2025. It was a result of Matawa Chiefs Resolution passed in 2023 during the Matawa Chiefs Council’s regular business meetings.

The pilot-project will do the following:

  • Work with part-time Animal Guardians in each Matawa community (to learn, be trained and supported by an Animal Services Lead Coordinator)
  • Improve education on animal wellness in Matawa First Nations
  • Improved animal wellness, reduced fertility rates and safer/healthier communities using a animal/human ‘One Health Model’
  • Provide Animal Wellness and Spay/Neuter Clinics in 7 of the 9 First Nations in Matawa (starting in March 2024)
  • Work on getting feedback from people in the community and leadership on how they want to see the animal situation, complete an animal population survey and sustainability plan (for when the pilot project is completed)
  • Work with online veterinarians to learn to do rudimentary first aid, give basic vaccines and medications as required
  • Contribute to the Matawa Pets and People site on Facebook to better educate the public on what other communities are doing, etc.
  • Advocate with governments on animal issues in the First Nations in Matawa
  • Complete a Final Report on a Community-of-Practices which can be used as a model for other First Nations in Canada who are both road-access and remote

The pilot-project recognizes that the relationship with our animals (especially dogs) has changed and has been affected by colonization (the cultural practice of dog sledding has almost disappeared, and we also have new animals that we didn’t have traditionally). In some cases—this has resulted in poor animal health and dog overpopulation which negatively impacts the community through instances of dog bites, pack aggression, dog mauling deaths, and potential for zoonotic disease transmission. The pilot-project also recognizes that there are a lot of responsible pet owners in our communities also (and in some communities, some wonderful volunteers who are helping).

Check out the Matawa Pets & People page on Facebook: here!

Listen to the CBC Listen segment on the Parvovirus Outbreak in Nibinamik here: here

Spay and Neuter Clinics