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FBI investigates the passing of tribal member as feral dog numbers increase

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Northern Arapaho tribal member Shanaw Jo Bell, 42, passed away earlier this month and was found in Ethete. Now, family and community members are curious if feral dogs had anything to do with it. While dogs were present at the scene at her discovery, the Fremont County Coroners’ office reports that the coroner report will not be released for the next 4 to 6 weeks.

The tribes have for the last year tried to implement a feral dog ordinance, which would help control the dogs whose numbers have appeared to grow. The ordinance would require permits to breed dogs and doll out fines for owners with too many pets.

According to Dave Meyers, director of Eastern Shoshone Public Health, the ordinance still has to go to general council for approval then back to the Northern Arapaho for final approval. But Darrel Lonebear with the Northern Arapaho tribal housing department said the Northern Arapaho had already approved the ordinance last year.

The FBI said in an email the investigation into Bell’s death is in progress.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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