Mount Currie emerged from a dog collection operation last week unsure if it had picked up the canines causing problems in its streets.
On July 29 and 30, volunteers with the Mount Currie Band, in partnership with WAG and the SPCA, went into the streets of the reserve looking for neglected dogs that had been allowed to roam freely throughout the community, becoming "not only a nuisance but also a threat," according to a news release from the band.
The volunteers took an estimated 28 dogs off the streets, not as many as was hoped for and not even the most aggressive ones, according to Lil'wat Land and Resources Manager Lucinda Phillips. She pushed for the collection after her daughter was attacked by two dogs.
"I just wanted more," she said. "It was frustrating because we had a lot of dog owners that tied up their dogs at this time.
"That was the point of me informing them. I think out of the 28, they were the friendliest dogs you could ever get, versus the aggressive dogs that I originally wanted, because there are some pit bulls, rottweilers that were being tied up. Those are the ones scaring the neighbours and whatnot."
Phillips put word of the operation out to Mount Currie Band residents on June 29 through the Lil'wat Nation Facebook page. She explained that she was sick of the "dog problem" in Mount Currie after the band received over a dozen complaints in recent months.
The complaints were focused around dogs running in packs, children getting attacked on their way to school and community members getting chased or attacked as they walked the streets.
Phillips formed a partnership with WAG, the SPCA and the Stl'atl'imx Tribal Police to assist in an action plan on July 29 and 30 to round up over 200 dogs. SPCA from Port Coquitlam, Vancouver and Sechelt offered up dog catching instruments such as poles and trucks and Phillips put out a call for volunteers.
Owners were asked to release unwanted pets voluntarily and tie up their dogs if they didn't want them taken away. Any dogs captured would be taken to the WAG shelter or to SPCA facilities. They would also be given to families willing to take them on.
The operation itself saw four Mount Currie volunteers and about 10 to 15 people from WAG draw dogs into trucks using food. Once found, dogs were taken to a checkpoint on Lillooet Lake Road where officials with WAG and the SPCA were stationed. Some of the dogs were then taken to the WAG shelter and others were taken to a SPCA facility in Victoria.
But participants in the operation still didn't get the dogs they were looking for.
"We had food provided to any dogs that came about," Phillips said. "That's why I think we got all the friendly dogs because we had food. They all just came towards us, they weren't afraid of us or nothing. Half of them walked right into the kennel, happy to go."
Phillips herself encountered some resistance when she approached one Mount Currie resident who tied up three dogs in the back of his house - aggressive dogs, according to her. Three dogs is one more than he was allowed to have under Mount Currie bylaws.
"I approached him and I went right to his door, said this is what I'm doing, I'm here to take a dog," she said. "He was upset with the project I was working on. He told me to leave his dogs alone, get out of his yard, but that was the extent of it."
With one dog collection out of the way, Phillips said she isn't finished. She's planning another collection day but this time out she's not telling anyone when it's happening.
Mount Currie has a bylaw in place that allows the band to collect dogs that are left at large in the community. Band officials can also enter homes in order to control, impound or destroy any "dangerous, vicious, wounded or sick animals" they find that are violating the Community Safety Law.
"There's all these things in the bylaw that allow me to apprehend a dog," Phillips said.