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Wind River dog ordinance submitted for intertribal approval

Taylar Stagner
Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing office in Ethete, Wyoming. Tribal housing has regulations concerning dogs, but if a dog is too violent law enforcement has little they can do without a reservation wide ordinance.

The Wind River Dog Control Code is a proposed ordinance for the Wind River Reservation and has been submitted for review by the Wind River Inter-Tribal Council. Residents and officials have reported an uptick in roaming violent dogs the past few years.

While tribal housing on the reservation has rules surrounding pets, the law and order code on the reservation doesn’t include provisions on aggressive dogs. Advocates have been pushing for both tribal councils to approve a dog ordinance, which will include fines and jail time for those in possession of uncontrollable, wandering dogs.

Pet dumping was also included in the proposal. Advocates for years have reported people leaving animals at local garbage dumps. It proposes perpetrators be fined $500.

The proposed ordinance would also make the tribes responsible for an animal shelter.

Darrel Lonebear, the head of security for Northern Arapaho housing, has been an advocate for a dog ordinance for the last few years. He said the draft has been approved by the Eastern Shoshone General Attorney, and now waits for the intertribal council to approve it.

“It includes in it the authority and citation of the dog regulations, the purpose of this dog ordinance, the enforcement of it, all the definitions are included in there, which also includes dogs running at large, keeping vicious dogs that are prohibited and then also the pet owner requirements are also in this code,” he said.

He, also, said the ordinance to build a shelter for impounded dogs is a needed amenity as most of the surrounding pet shelters are overcrowded.

“Hopefully soon once we get this approved by the tribes and submitted, [it] becomes part of the Shoshone and Arapaho Law and Order code and this is really going to be a good end result for all the efforts put forth in dealing with the problems that we do have here on the the Wind River Reservation,” he said.

Other provisions include penalties for purposely training dogs to fight, that comes with a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

The Wind River Dog Control Code includes requirements for rabies vaccinations and spay and neuter guidelines as well.

Ethete resident Shawna Jo Bell was recently attacked and killed by dogs. Those close to her said she carried a hatchet to protect her from dangerous dogs.

The Wind River Intertribal Council’s next meeting is August 3 where they are expected to review the dog code.

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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