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Pets, vets and economics

The veterinarian clinic organized by Carmacks was a group effort to address a local problem. I applaud all residents who volunteered their time.

Re: Veterinary Handouts are Unfair,

(the News, May 18)

The veterinarian clinic organized by Carmacks was a group effort to address a local problem. I applaud all residents who volunteered their time, gave up their home, and provided transportation to pets and vets. I also thank Air North, Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation,/Carmacks’ village staff, and the Tantulus school council and school staff.

We also extend a big thank you to the Canadian Animal Assistance Team volunteers. Some paid out of pocket to reach Calgary, Edmonton, or Vancouver to travel to our community to help us start to solve a problem we have grappled with for too many years.

Just to clarify: Only two veterinarians visited, along with six veterinary technicians. Some technicians were students being trained by a certified technician educator. They all stayed in one house, with many sleeping on the floor.

The cost of this project was borne by the Village of Carmacks and Little Salmon[Carmacks First Nation. There was no involvement from the territorial or federal governments.

All the neutered or spayed dogs had never seen a vet in their life. Nor will many see one again. The team also provided rabies and parvovirus vaccines, but most of those dogs did not, nor will they, receive booster shots.

All of the animals seen by the team belonged to local residents who are unable to provide their animals with any type of veterinary care. That was the agreement we had with all the Whitehorse veterinarian clinics prior to the Carmacks clinic.

Now some Whitehorse veterinarians have created an issue of this, and the Canadian Animal Assistance Team will not return. We have asked all Whitehorse veterinarians to provide a similar type of service, but some have not responded or they have refused.

The humane society is trying to deal with the same issues we face and they do a great job with the resources they have, but there is often “no room at the inn.”

The Village of Carmacks used to euthanize the strays and cremate them, but we are no longer able to do this. I imagine that most of our strays or unwanted puppies will succumb to a less-than-humane end and disposal. If people are unable or unwilling to travel to Whitehorse for veterinarian care, you can imagine that they would be reluctant to travel there to dispose of their unwanted animals.

Dr. Marina Alpeza ties the Carmacks clinic to the loss of private sector jobs and the federal government’s layoffs and pension plan changes. Does she think that only veterinarians are affected by the current economic climate and federal government policies? Or that other citizens of the Yukon or Carmacks are not also facing economic challenges?

The Carmacks clinic did not take any business away from a vet in Whitehorse. Responsible dog owners in Carmacks will continue to travel to Whitehorse to see veterinarians. We had no intention of turning our problem-solving into a negative discussion about politics and economics.

We did it because we cared about the people and animals in our community.

Mayor Elaine Wyatt

Carmacks