A Safe Place for Animals

Many reservations struggle with animal overpopulation and the community health issues that come with it. Program partners like Ethel on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota receive financial and material support from PWNA’s Reservation Animal Rescue (RAR) program to care for homeless cats and dogs. 62-year-old Pauline uses RAR food and other care items from the shelter to help support foster puppies and her 7-year-old Saint Bernard named Baby.

A Safe Place for Animals

Today, many reservations struggle with animal protection and control problems such as overpopulation, feral dog packs and abandoned animals. Program partners like Ethel on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota receive financial and material support to care for homeless cats and dogs. Ethel receives regular deliveries of food and other animal care items from Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) through its Reservation Animal Rescue (RAR) program.

62-year-old Pauline of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe recently started working full-time for Ethel at Wakpá Wašté Animal Shelter, but she’s volunteered there for years and benefited from the RAR support. “I’ve gotten animal supplies since 2016. I’m really thankful for the donated things like toys and blankets.” Pauline adds that the shelter runs on donations and doesn’t always have funding for simple items like wipes and paper towels. “All the supplies donated to us are used. It really helps us out here.”

Pauline’s parents raised her around animals, allowing her caring nature to blossom. “I’m an animal lover.” Pauline has adopted multiple dogs from the shelter over the years, including her 7-year-old Saint Bernard named Baby. “I got her at 7 months, and she already seemed fully grown.” Baby lived nearby and kept escaping to visit Pauline, so the dog’s adoption was arranged. “She’s really loving and watches over the family cats.”

Pauline is also the only regular foster for the shelter, which is often at capacity. It’s important to Pauline that no animal is turned away, and she’s grateful for the RAR puppy pads and food she uses to care for them. “The shelter isn’t big enough. People find puppies on the street and bring them in.”

Ethel says that the overpopulation of stray dogs is a big problem on the reservation, keeping the shelter full. “We are at capacity, and it’s very tough. For every female dog, there are 10 puppies, then 10 more from each of those, and so on.” PETA notes that 67,000 dogs can come from one female dog and her offspring in six years. Thankfully, adoption rates are on the rise, but Ethel mainly transfers them off the reservation. “We’re very strict because we don’t want the dogs to end up on the street. We just can’t keep up with all of it, so we do transfers every week.”

Ethel’s team regularly conducts trapping operations of cats and dogs to mitigate overpopulation issues like attacks on people. Ethel notes that dog attacks are common due to the number of strays and pets not getting spayed. “We’re working on being able to contract another veterinarian here.”

Despite the shelter being at capacity, Ethel and Pauline work tirelessly to rehabilitate animals, giving them a warm place to stay. Ethel notes, “Any donation is appreciated to help keep these animals safe.” Donate to RAR to help program partners like Ethel and big-hearted adopters like Pauline.

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