Who shares the love for animal welfare on the reservations?
Think about what it must be like to rely on others to care for you; our animal friends know this well. In many Native American communities, animals are considered relatives and caring for them is an important tradition. We’re reminded of this, with Love Your Pet Day approaching on Feb. 20, and February designated as Responsible Pet Owners Month by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
As tribal communities strive to meet these responsibilities, overpopulation of animals, specifically dogs and cats in need of care, is a challenge. Adding to the problem is the animal dumping on reservation land by unknown individuals living off-reservation.
The issues associated with abandoned animals and stray animals, for some reservation communities, are immense, leading to human health risk such as animal bites, rabies and the spread of disease. The Navajo Nation alone has estimates reaching up to 6,000 stray dogs and cats, depending on the community and access to local veterinary care is limited.
Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) supports animal welfare groups that rescue, rehabilitate and place injured or stray animals in foster care or forever homes, ensuring well-being of animals and healthy, safe communities. Annually, our partners aid and rescue more than 50,000 hungry or injured animals and, through PWNA support, they:
- Spay, neuter and vaccinate animals on the reservation
- Educate community members on proper care of animals
- Care for more animals than they otherwise could
Recently, on a cool winter day, Midwestern University, College of Veterinary Medicine hosted an animal welfare event in partnership with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and PWNA. The event, aimed at animal welfare and overall community health and operating from a mobile unit, enabled Midwestern staff to spay and neuter more than 20 dogs and cats. The Midwestern team also drew blood samples and conducted other testing for dozens of animals brought to the event by concerned family members.
Midwestern trains veterinarians to provide exemplary animal care and impact the world by improving animal and human health. Through our collaboration, Midwestern will be taking their mobile unit to reservation communities PWNA serves, educating our partners on the Zeuterin method of neutering and offering it in their communities. Non-surgical in nature and backed by years of research, Zeuterin was developed by Ark Sciences, a nonprofit supporting animal shelters and agencies on the front lines of animal health care. Zeuterin eliminates the need for incisions and general anesthesia, resulting in a safer and quicker procedure for the animals and in a more humane and manageable way.
PWNA is pleased to collaborate with Midwestern and share the love for animals on the reservations. Through our partnership, we are able to bring mobile spay/neuter services to remote reservation communities without veterinarians or affordable animal healthcare.