When the shelter housing pets rescued by RezQ Dogs — which saves extremely at-risk dogs from two isolated Indian reservations in Montana — was destroyed on June 4 by a flood, we rushed $3,000 in disaster aid to Dodson, Mont., where RezQ Dogs is building new kennels so it can keep saving the area’s stray, abused and unwanted dogs.
“Every inch of the property is covered with three to four inches of silt and mud,” RezQ Dogs President Anita Wilke tells us. “Ten kennels are destroyed, as is the perimeter fence. All of the dog houses are either contaminated or destroyed.”
RezQ Dogs takes in dogs, cats and other animals from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s reservations. Together, the communities cover roughly 1,200 square miles in North-Central Montana, and the prospects for homeless dogs are dire in both, Wilke says.
On Fort Belknap, Wilke says, “Dogs spend their mandatory three-day hold cramped into the live trap in which they were captured.”
“Because there is no budget for animal control, there is no budget for medical needs or even food for the dogs that find their way to ‘animal control,’ ” she adds. “Prior to RezQ Dogs, the Fort Belknap Animal Control euthanized 95 percent of all incoming dogs. Only 5 percent were reclaimed by owners or found new homes. Strays on Fort Belknap were held for three days, if they didn’t cause a problem, and then were euthanized by gunshot. Owner turn-ins were shot immediately.”
There is no animal control presence on Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Wilke says.
“Their customary response to the ‘dog control issue’ is to conduct round ups which result in the animals being hunted and shot,” she says.
In the last three years, RezQ has saved and found loving homes for more than 800 dogs, Wilke says.
Wilke says Dodson’s heavy rains began several weeks before the June 4 flood hit. Fearing the weather would worsen, RezQ Dogs transported 11 of its dogs to a boarding kennel 180 miles away in Great Falls. Eight dogs remained in the group’s care when the flood struck, and they were evacuated by boat. Some of these displaced dogs have been taken in by shelters and rescues in the region, but the demand on RezQ Dogs to take in imperiled dogs from the reservations has not slowed down.
“We are looking forward to making the necessary improvements to continue helping dogs from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations,” Wilke says. “Everyone at RezQ Dogs is very grateful for your support!”