Growing need for animal shelter in the north

By Teena Monteleone
December 21, 2017 - 12:00pm

Despite a series of spaying and neutering clinics, the number of animals needing help in northern Saskatchewan is on the rise.

“We’re looking at close to 500 animals for the year,” Joanne Dickson, a founding board member of Northern Animal Rescue Humane Society (NAR), said. “We thought the numbers would dwindle, but they are not.”

Dickson said 38 cats, 13 kittens, 177 puppies and 139 dogs were among those rescued by the organization in the last year, and those numbers don’t include statistics for November or December.

“We attribute the rise in number to the spay and neuter clinics being hard to access by outlying communities," Dickson said. "They are held in La Ronge, and it is hard to coordinate transportation for the animals to get vet care. The outlying communities are underserved for veterinary care."

NAR was founded in 2009 and runs as a volunteer operation, Dickson said. Funding is raised through donations and the organization receives a grant from the College of Veterinary Medicine to help with spay and neuter clinics. While the group is based in La Ronge, their services have reached Grandmother’s Bay, Southend, Hall Lake, Stanley Mission and Sucker River. Dickson said the area needs better enforcement of bylaws and animal protection legislation.

“Our biggest struggle is not having an animal protection officer in the north," she said. "We also need to have a tri-community approach to having a shelter, because we are always trying to raise enough funds just to cover our expenses. We need a combination of different sources."

Until that happens, Dickson said NAR will continue to help animals in need as best they can. She recalled one happy ending for a dog named ‘Lucky’ this year. He arrived at the shelter from Hall Lake along with a female dog. Both were very bloated, she said, and the female had to be euthanized. Lucky had several litres of fluid drained from his stomach and was given antibiotics, an anti-parasitic medication and high-quality dog food.

“He was sent back here for fostering, and was then transferred to a rescue in Alberta where he ended up finding his forever home,” she said.

NAR is an adoption partner with the Pet Smart store in Prince Albert. Dickson said they are currently seeking families in Prince Albert to help foster dogs, cats and kittens. 


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