In February 2015, the Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) was invited to the community of Bella Bella, a remote community on Campbell Island, in British Columbia. The Community does not have veterinary services readily accessible due to their remote location. The Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council and the local By-Law Officer, were in the process of updating and implementing new local animal control bylaws, and were seeking humane alternatives to controlling the dog populaiton within their community.
One of the council's goals was to re-home any existing stray animals off the island. They accomplished this goal, in the summer months before CAAT's arrival, with the help of various rescue groups and humane societies. Once the clinic began, the focus was to be on the animals remaining in the community and needing the services of the volunteer veterinary team.
CAAT's volunteer members donate their time and expertise to work in these clinics right within the community, but getting to the locations can be challenging. Thanks to our Aeroplan Beyond Miles program, we are able to get our members to where they need to be to provide the much needed care to the animals.
Our team of 13 arrived and the local community hall served as our CAAT Animal Hospital for four days. Each day people arrived to have their pets taken care of, most stayed with their pet for hours, helping them to recover from surgery with lots of attention and care.
In an excerpt from a letter sent to the team after the project, the impact of CAAT's services was made evident by our host, Elizabeth Greenberg, the By-Law Officer...
"WIthin hours of landing, the Community Hall had been transfored into an entire veterinary clinic. Over the four-day visit the team spayed, neutered, vaccinated, vet checked and examined 127 of our community's furry family members. They made this community feel important and encouraged everyone to participate in the recovery of their animals. Children and adults alike were welcomed to watch the surgeries and to ask questions as the team worked. Children were invited to listen to their animals' heartbeat through a stethoscope and from the smiles on their faces I knew this was an important step in the education of our youth with regards to animal care."
CAAT was proud to have assisted this community with that first important step in controlling the animal population. The Heiltsuk Community Council are moving forward with bylaw implementation and future veterinary care locally to continue to build on what this first critical step has created.
Bella Bella community members participated fully in this endeavor and welcomed the opporutnity to make a difference in the welfare of the animals on the island. They are making things happen and the animals and the people are going to benefit from those changes for years to come.