Dog Care & Management program

Program Overview

The Dog Care and Management Program (DCMP) provides resources, guidance and assistance to communities who wish to start a community-based, humane and comprehensive dog program. The ultimate mission of the DCMP is to assist communities with dog-related programming which focuses on long-term outcomes and positive impacts on the well-being of the dogs and the overall community.

We have partnered with the Siksika Nation at their request for over four years in order to provide guidance, resources and training. The program has been very effective at reducing dog bites and improving the welfare of dogs in this community.

The Task Force is currently working with additional First Nations that have requested our assistance with implementing humane bylaws and other components of the program.

This program has been designed based on our experience and knowledge in free-roaming dog communities as well as the relevant and thorough research conducted by the International Companion Animal Management Coalition which includes the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), Humane Society International (HSI), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), RSPCA International (the international arm of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and the Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC).

FOUNDATIONal elements 

Community Based (+Community Engagement)

 It is best practice for dog care and management programming to reside with the local government. When the community is engaged, the programming will be unique and culturally relevant resulting in more effective programming.


Truly humane animal programming benefits both Nation members and the animals. Research has shown that neglect and abuse of animals can have a negative effect on the mental health of those that witness it. It is very important to us that any community that we assist with programming has consistent values and beliefs with CATF regarding animal welfare.


Research has consistently shown that dog management programs are more effective when a number of tools are used in the community. To make long-term, positive impacts, a number of components should be deployed.


Currently, many short-term approaches to solving dog problems are being used across the country. These attempts are draining the resources (financial and human) in supporting Animal Welfare Organizations. It is also a disservice to the community, who would benefit the most from long-term solutions.

Components of the Program


This includes both creating and implementing by laws as well as providing humane enforcement. The Task Force provides a by-law template as well as mentorship and training for Animal Control Officers.

Registration and Licensing

This includes collecting information about the dog population, registering and licensing of dogs.

Information Sharing

We can assist with different kinds of educational programming dependent on the community’s needs. Examples of initiatives that can be effective are bite prevention courses, bylaw information sessions, animal care program, build-your-own-dog house, etc. We’ve also partnered with the International Fund for Animal Welfare in order to share their educational program as well as developed a workshop for communities and volunteers working to improve human-dog relationships in communities. See Educational Resources below for more info.

Accessible Spay and Neuter Programs

We provide high volume, MASH type, on site clinics with procedures for both dogs and cats. We can also assist with spay/neuter and return programs! Learn more about our spay and neuter clinics here. 

Accessible Veterinary Care

This component applies mostly to remote communities who are without reasonably accessible medical care for their animals.

Holding or Re-Homing Facility

We can facilitate relationships between a Nation and a local animal welfare organization who can assist with rehoming, and in some cases also boarding impounded dogs according to the bylaw.

Management of Resources

This component is related to the disbursement of donations (pet food and supplies), management of funds, as well as managing locations (ie landfills, garbage bins) where dogs might congregate.

Educational Resources 

Dog Care and Management Workshop

After working for a combined 30 years in First Nations dog management, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Canadian Animal Task Force recognized the opportunity to share what we have learned about building comprehensive and sustainable dog programs.

Who should attend?

This workshop is designed for Animal Welfare Organizations and individuals who are currently providing programming in First Nation communities, or are considering assisting a community. It offers a comprehensive look at dog population dynamics and offers suggestions for working together in a community, tools, assessment and planning information. This training is ideal for anyone working or volunteering in this field. This workshop is two full days of participatory activities, sharing and learning! We have received excellent feedback from the pilot participants and look forward to our next workshop.


ICAM - Humane Dog Population Guidance

International Companion Animal Management’s Humane Dog Population Management is a document for anyone with the goal of creating positive human-dog relationships.

IFAW - Living in a Good Way with Dogs

The International Fund for Animal Welfare’s “Living in a Good Way with Dogs: Our Stories” is the only culturally-responsive resource about dogs and community developed by First Nations, for First Nations. The units are easy to integrate with the school curriculum while building knowledge and skills around living safely and kindly with dogs.

CATF - Dog Care and Management

Outlines the background and components of the Community Dog Care and Management program developed by the Canadian Animal Task Force (formerly ASNTF).


Watch our video “Staying Safe with Free Roaming Dogs,” funded by Dogs Trust International.

Local, National, and International Involvement

Our Dog Care and Management Program Manager, Alanna, attended the Canadian Animal Law Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia in October 2019. Alanna and M. Josh Littlechild, the Ermineskin Cree Nation Tribal Law Coordinator, were honored to speak to the conference delegates about First Nations animal welfare opportunities with a focus on progressive legislation.

We were delighted when Barb Cartwright of Humane Canada introduced Alanna and Josh to Senator Senator Yvonne Boyer.

Thank you to Animal Justice and the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University for planning an excellent conference with world class speakers.

Alanna was also invited to present at the October 2019 International Companion Animal Management Coalition Conference in Kenya. She arrived home with an enormous amount of information, tools and knowledge regarding humane dog population management! We are very grateful to Dogs Trust International for sponsoring the trip!

The CATF Dog Care and Management Program is not just a program, but a movement. Many important stakeholders across Canada are starting to take notice and we are very excited for the future of animal welfare in First Nations communities.