School: SHIPROCK HIGH
Area of Science: Zoology
Stray dogs have been around the reservation for so long that it has become a habit for the people to just dump their dogs wherever they want. Stray dogs can be harmful to people and other animals, including livestock. Roads in and around the reservation are sometimes littered with dead dogs. Reliable estimates are hard to establish, but the stray dog population is probably around 200,000 or higher. People on the reservation do not reclaim their dogs. The stray dogs generally do not wear identification tags and are largely unadoptable due to poor health or temperament problems. There are not many people out in the reservation trying to solve the situation, and they have not been doing their best to come up with a better solution. Many of the dogs on the reservation are important. They help take care of livestock, watch the owner's homes when they are away, and provide companionship. They also teach children compassion, self-esteem, and responsibility when they are taking care of the dogs.
The goal of this project is to try and encourage the people who live on the reservation to sterilize their pets so there is not an overflow of unwanted animals. Dogs can be helpful and provide years of love. Those that have a good home and are well cared for should out number those that are homeless. If people know the problems that are caused by too many strays they will be more likely to consider what will happen if their pets have puppies every year, if they are not on a leash, or do not have identification tags.Problem Solution:
By promoting responsible pet ownership, people hopefully will understand why their dogs need a leash, identification tags, and spaying or neutering. Collaborating with animal control officers and advocates insures that our information and research will be of some use.Progress to Date:
We were able to contact two people: the first is an animal control officer, Stacy Daw, who would like to use some of our research and the second person is a Chinle vet Dr. Scott Bender. The animal control officer provided us with recent numbers of strays and graphs of amounts of damage caused to wildlife, number of animal bites, and animals that are euthanized as well as those that are licensed.Expected Results:
We expect to raise awareness of the problems caused by pet overpopulation and to educate others on responsible pet ownership. The more people who realize they need to help by sterilizing their pets, the fewer pets we will have running around that are not fixed.
Sponsoring Teacher: Vernetta Noble