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Rural Alaska

Animal care groups to help clear stray dogs from Southwest Alaska village

BETHEL - Two animal groups plan to help a Southwest Alaska village clear out all its stray dogs, officials said.

Bethel Friends of Canines and Alaskan Animal Rescue Friends hope to catch and remove the wandering animals from Tuntutuliak on Jan. 31, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported.

After volunteers vaccinate the dogs, some will be given to homes in Bethel while most will be transported to Anchorage, officials said.

"It's such a high volume of dogs that we're expecting to bring in that we'll probably ship most of them to our rescue partners in Anchorage," Bethel Friends of Canines Vice President Theresa Quiner said.

Tuntutuliak residents should keep their pets inside during the sweep so they are not mistaken for strays, coordinator Jesslyn Elliott said.

The organizations said the village's traditional council contacted them with a request to help remove the dogs. Council members could not immediately be reached for comment.

The stray roundup will involve the participation of partners including airlines and veterinarians.

Ravn Air Group, Grant Aviation Inc. and Northern Air Cargo LLC are expected to transport dog kennels to the area and donate space to fly the dogs to Anchorage, while a website has been set up to help collect funding for the effort.

Stray dogs are a well-known problem in rural villages and Bethel Friends of Canines also plans to coordinate a spay and neuter clinic in Tuntutuliak during the first week of March, Quiner said.

“People don’t have ready access to spay/neuter services, so the inevitable result is that there’s a lot of puppies being born,” Quiner said.

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