Sturgeon Lake’s stray dog and cat population has officially been dealt with in a humane way.

On Wednesday, a group of about volunteers with Canine Action Project (CAP) visited Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation to take on strays or unwanted pets.

The first visit late last month led to more than 150 dogs and cats being taken to animal rescues across Western Canada.

In recent years, Sturgeon Lake has dealt with its strays by holding a cull.

This was seen as necessary because of dogs joining packs and biting people in the community – some children have even contracted worms from strays. There have been 15 dog bites on the reserve in the past two years.

But recently, CAP answered their call for help to find an alternative.

The community’s animal control officer, Jeff McLeod, says this isn’t the end of their relationship with the project. Sturgeon Lake wants to host spay/neuter clinics, and animal treatments clinics in the future with CAP.

He also says they’ll be making a $500 donation to CAP to thank them for all their efforts. As a volunteer-run non-profit, CAP’s founders need donations to continue operation.

The project’s mandate is to empower remote and First Nations communities to control their animal population and keep them safe.  To do this, they build relationships, facilitate spay and neuter clinics in those communities, meet with elders, hold information sessions, and vaccinate, de-worm and tattoo pets.

McLeod’s role in the process on Wednesday helped the group to identify homes with dogs that families are willing to surrender, often due to a lack of funds for treatment or food.

CAP doesn’t force animals from homes, and that was the case during the final sweep of Sturgeon Lake on Wednesday.

Some of the animals taken were underfed or had lice and mange. However, there were only about two-dozen animals picked up, which speaks to the effectiveness of the late October trip by CAP.

The group offers to take pets and re-home them. In this case, the dogs and cats that were picked up will be adopted out through different animal rescues.