Lakota Animal Care Helps Combat Dog Overpopulation Problem on the Pine Ridge Reservation

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By Stephanie Kayser

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Updated: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 08:35:00 MST

Dog overpopulation is a growing problem on the Pine Ridge Reservation and several organizations are working to combat the issue and help relocate the dogs. The Lakota Animal Care Project not only sets up spay and neuter clinics in Pine Ridge but also has a puppy fostering program, nurturing these puppies and giving them a second chance.

Cola, a puppy recently rescued from the reservation is now ready for adoption thanks to the Lakota Animal Care Project, but just a few weeks ago he wasn't the rambunctious puppy that he is today.

"When we received dogs here, many of them do have mange and so they have to be treated most of them do recover without any problem, parasites, internal parasites are abundant, often times they are thin, they don't know about people," said Peggy Behrens, a Veterinarian and Vet-Tech Program Chair at the National American University.

The puppies, all coming from the Pine Ridge Reservation where there is a severe overpopulation problem. Many coming in with broken bones and most are hungry.

"There are thousands of dogs on the reservation most of them are wild, feral type dogs some of them do belong to people but many of them are not spay and neutered so the population problem just is propagated," said Behrens.

The project helps rescue dogs and puppies and finds them new homes. Volunteers set up spay and neuter clinics on the reservation and help to relocate some dogs to other shelters.

"We probably see 40 puppies come through here in the spring every year, that's quite a few and that's just what we see, Lakota Animal Care takes them other places too," said Ronda Martin, a registered Vet-Tech 1 at National American University.

When a recent black and white pup was found, she was on the side of the road eating a newspaper.

"During this time of year these puppies are outside, most of the dogs there are outside and of course with the cold they do not have good shelter so its very difficult for many of these puppies to survive," said Behrens.

The puppy is still a little unsure of people. Peggy Behrens says this puppy is slowly learning how to be a dog again.

"The ones i have right now, they were quiet and a little shy and now they are rambunctious and play all the time and get into everything, so they start to warm up and start to live a little more," said Carey Garlock, a senior in the Vet-Tech program at the National American University.

And Garlock has fostered 12 different puppies, all of them successfully finding a loving home.

"it really does help the dogs otherwise they would be out on the streets," said Garlock.

An adoption clinic will be held Saturday march 1st. Five puppies will be available including Cola at Runnings from 10-3.

If you want more information on how you can become involved in the Lakota Animal Care Project go to http://lakotaanimalcare.org/.

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