From the Yukon Kuskokwim Canine Health Association
Dear Alaska Tribal Governments,
This would be a project in partnership with the tribes to protect from COVID-19 and enhance the overall health of the communities by increasing veterinary care and improving sanitation.
The plan is to provide veterinary care, spay/neuter services to reduce populations, deworming, vaccinations, human euthanasia, disease testing that will include COVID-19 according to criteria, help create a tribally run animal control program, and streamline existing strays into rescue. Added $1500 to budget for future freight of animals by tribally run control.
This program will focus on sanitation to prevent COVID-19 in our communities. There is no evidence that dogs carry or spread the disease, however, reducing the number of stray and roaming dogs with spay/neuter services will result in cleaner conditions.
Many communities have dozens of loose and roaming dogs that create sanitation issues by spreading feces/urine throughout the village. In some cases, dogs get into trash bins and there are often decaying dog carcasses in the landfills.
The purpose of this program is to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 by surveillance, testing, providing quality veterinary service, reducing populations with spays/neuters, and improving sanitation.
The cost is estimated at $18,000 per village visit including funds for transport of future strays by tribal animal control, with an average of three separate visits per year which is needed to make a significant improvement. In most cases the situation can be maintained with yearly veterinary visits thereafter.
This fee includes salary for the veterinary team, travel, freight, veterinary medical supplies, pet supplies, doghouse materials, chains and/or cables to restrain loose dogs, crates, and rescue supplies.
Communities are welcome to have as few or as many visits as they wish. The tribes may also want to create a couple of additional animal control positions independent of this project. This project will assist in setting up the tribal animal control procedures at no additional cost.
This program will help prevent and mitigate COVID-19 by providing ongoing veterinary surveillance, disease prevention and testing, population control and assistance with shipping puppies or strays out to rescue, all of which will substantially help with sanitation.
At this time, we DO NOT believe that Alaskan dogs carry COVID-19 but we would like to improve sanitation and do the research to rule it out.
Although we feel that running water and good sanitation for people are the priority, we also strive for the ONE Health aspect for our villages, which includes environmental, human, and animal health. As it is all inter-related.
Feel free to contact me if you have queestions or would like more information 907-765-2061.
-Mike Williams Sr., Chairman of the Yukon Kuskokwim Canine Health Association; Dr. Arleigh Reynolds, Director of the Center for One Health, UAF; and Dr. Timothy Hunt, Medical Director of the Alaska Native Rural Veterinary, Inc.