The Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT)
The Canadian Animal Assistance Team is a group of Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians whose mission is to impact on the safety, health and population control of domestic animals worldwide. CAAT was formed in response to the devastating events caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. CAAT sent 82 members to Louisiana to aid in the rescue and care efforts of the thousands of animals affected by the storm. Our mandate is:
- To provide education in the health needs, husbandry, care requirements and population control of domestic animals to handlers, keepers and owners.
- To ensure domestic animals are included in community disaster response / preparedness plans.
- To provide veterinary services to domestic animals following natural disasters.
- To provide spay and neuter clinics for domestic animals in rural / underserved areas.
Our work with spay/neuter projects has included trips to the Northwest Territories, Kadavu, Fiji, and Trinidad & Tobago. Upcoming projects are located in Peru, Nunavut, Guyana and some Northern Ontario remote communities.
Dog overpopulation is a common issue throughout all of these remote communities. The community has very few options when veterinary care is not available. When the population of dogs reaches unmanageable proportions there are several concerns for the community. Overpopulation problems increase the transmission of some zoonotic diseases (passed from animals to humans). Dogs are less likely to remain healthy due to not enough resources for the number of dogs in the community. A large population of dogs creates an environment that is more challenging for them, they tend to need to be more aggressive over territory and food and mating. Some dogs will show more aggression toward humans, especially children.
Apart from the physical health concerns posed, in many communities, although the dog may be used for hunting, transportation (sleds) and protection, many are also seen as pets. The human-animal bond has been well documented and researched. The way these dogs live may be dramatically different from some of the communities we live in but they are part of the family just the same. Animals as pets can be incredibly important, especially to many of the people who are living in an isolated community. CAAT spay/neuter projects aim to improve the animal health in the community through spaying and neutering, de-worming, vaccinating and providing general health care. Providing the option of veterinary health care that did not exist before benefits the animals as well as the people. We also want to be sure we leave behind an impact for the future. The people in the community are involved in our projects, we go to communities that have invited us to help with a humane option to overpopulation. We go into the schools and speak to the children in the community about how to avoid dog bites and talk about the positive aspects of dog and human interaction.
We are a Registered Charity, we rely solely on donations to fund these worthy endeavors. Should you require further information, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-519-623-2070, or email CAAT.Ontario@gmail.com. You can also go to the CAAT website at www.caat-canada.org