The birth of FAWI
The evolution from Dogs With No Names (DWNN) to the Foundation of Animal Welfare Initiatives (FAWI) came about because of a broadening scope and a rapid growth.
The family grows
The animal species that Dr. Judith Samson-French and her field team are working with are expanding and now include street dogs and cats of Curacao, wild and unwanted horses on public land of Alberta in addition to rez dogs in three Canadian provinces.
In early 2014, the Alberta government issued over 200 permits to cull wild horses in the eastern Slopes area to manage their population. Although unable to end the inhumane and ineffective cull, within a year, DWNN members were training in the U.S. to dart mares with a birth control vaccine to responsibly help reduce their numbers. The team successfully tabled a humane, socially prudent, and scientifically accountable population management plan, which received full support from the Alberta government. Equally important, it and was augmented with a $10,000 grant from ConocoPhillips Canada to undertake a similar program to manage the herds on the Sunchild and O’Chiese Reserves near Rocky Mountain House.
Around the same time, the Town of Okotoks contacted Dr. Samson-French to explore management of its local urban deer population. Vehicular accidents are the main reason this community is working with FAWI to humanely manage the deer in the area.
Proven concept breeds interest and growth
Dr. Samson-French and her team’s approach to humanely manage unwanted populations abides by two golden rules: target solely female dogs to eliminate aggression and chaos males cause when pursuing females in heat, and secondly, avoid the high cost of spays by spaying only those that reach three years of age or older and have demonstrated an ability to survive. Since 2009 when DWNN was created, this team has prevented some hundreds of thousands of unwanted puppies from being born.
This proven, yet novel approach has captured the attention of many groups, including PetSmart Charities® of Canada, which provided a $206,000 grant to implant female dogs in seven remote communities in northern Ontario. Begun in late 2014, this single project has the potential to initiate a new way of thinking about humanely and effectively managing unwanted dog populations throughout the world.
Non-profit status produces opportunities
As the multiple projects operated under FAWI continue to grow, FAWI will seek a charitable status from its current non-profit organizational status. This will help broaden the range of animal population management projects. FAWI is both excited and thrilled to move in this direction.