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Girls get grant for animal shelter

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Friday, March 16, 2007

NAHANNI BUTTE - The Nahanni Butte Animal Shelter is getting a helping hand to care for animals in the community.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has given the shelter a grant of $1,000 to be used for emergency situations. Three students - Bhreagh Ingarfield, Kyra Tanche and Kayla Betsaka - run the shelter.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Kayla Betsaka, left, Kyra Tanche and Bhreagh Ingarfield have received a $1,000 grant from the International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to assist them with running the Nahanni Butte Animal Shelter. In November the girls received animal action awards from the IFAW at a ceremony in Ottawa. - photo courtesy of IFAW

The grant was awarded as a result of the girls' efforts to help three dogs in February, said Jan Hannah, the northern dogs program manager with IFAW.

The three animals needed emergency veterinary care for conditions including malnutrition, a badly broken leg and an eye infection. The girls contacted IFAW to see if the organization could provide any assistance in transporting the dogs to Yellowknife for treatment.

The girls were familiar with the group because IFAW presented them animal action awards last November.

Although they managed to find their own transportation for the animals, the girls' efforts drew renewed attention from the organization.

"These remarkable young women moved heaven and earth to get three dogs the treatment they needed, which was only available in Yellowknife," said Hannah.

With the emergency fund in place some of the pressures of continuous fundraising will be taken off of the three girls, said Hannah. They will have this money and can supplement it via their own efforts, she said.

"This is something for them to build on," she said.

The funding is meant to help ensure injured and ill animals can receive treatment as soon as possible. It will also help cover the cost of that treatment. The veterinarian in Yellowknife can't continue to donate treatments for free, said Hannah.

Hannah hopes the girls can use the grant to also leverage funds from other organizations.

IFAW has moved away from giving grants, but an exception was made for the Nahanni Butte Animal Shelter, said Hannah.

Most of the organization's money for companion animals goes into its own Community Lead Animal Welfare program (CLAW). The shelter in Nahanni Butte met the criteria for the program.

"They are basically running a CLAW program without us even being there," Hannah said.

IFAW wants to expand into northern communities that need help with dog overpopulation and health issues, said Hannah. To date the three girls in Nahanni Butte are the organization's only contacts in the Northwest Territory.

Hannah considers Tanche, Betsaka and Ingarfield's work at the shelter to be amazing especially in light of their young age. The three girls opened the shelter in the fall of 2005."They took the initiative to improve the lives of animals," said Hannah.

Tanche, Betsaka and Ingarfield were not available to comment on the grant because they are out of the community on their March break.