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The Navajo Nation, which stretches across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, has an estimated 445,000 stray dogs.
The growing problem with Navajo dogs is that they are becoming so overpopulated, they are left to fend for themselves, fighting for food and becoming aggressive with other animals and people.
In New Mexico, a 55-year-old man was found lying on the side of the road with a pack of dogs mauling him. Emergency workers chased the dogs away, but the pack, with their ribs sticking out, kept circling around them.
Wildlife and animal control manager Kevin Gleason says:
"They kill everything. Cats, dogs, cattle, sheep, horses. We've also had people severely injured by them. We've had people with horrendous bites. We just had a case … where a man lost 37 sheep to a pack of dogs.
We have that going on all the time. Our officers respond to more than 25 bite cases a month, and 25 livestock damage cases a month.
You look at the Sundance area where that gentleman was killed, we went in and removed 79 dogs after that and it looked like we never touched it."
The saddest part is that animal control just can't deal with the huge number of daily cases.
Dogs are found roaming along highways, restaurants, gas stations, parking lots, or wherever they may find food. Just between last October and April, 2,332 dogs were picked up. Only 79 were adopted and 313 were released back to their owners. The rest were unfortunately euthanized.
Spokesman for Best Friends Animal Society John Polis says that outsiders come into the tribal areas and "step on toes." He adds:
"A lot of people think they should round them up and take them off. But a lot of them are people's pets. Sometimes people take a dog and we tell them you are stealing."
Meanwhile, Lakota Animal Care Project's Virginia Ravndal says:
"We don't have a big problem with (attacks on people) although we do occasionally have dogs that are hungry and will pack up and kill young livestock. Probably a bigger issue for us is disease, starvation and freezing. Mange is a huge problem. And going into South Dakota winters without hair, a lot of dogs don't make it.
Animals are our relations and no one should go hungry, no one should go cold, no one should be sick."
We agree 100%. These animals deserve a second chance. As well as the Navajo Nation, which deserves to have more programs to help with overpopulation and socializing the "Rez Dogs."
For more information about Virginia's Animal Care Project, CLICK HERE< /strong>.
[Image via WENN.]