The Four Legged Homeless: A Comparative Study of Animal Control Policies between Helena, Montana and the Flathead Reservation
This paper examines the differences in the development of animal welfare in the city of Helena and the Flathead reservation from 1960 to 1975. An examination of the history of animal welfare in the United States serves as background information to explain the growth of the Lewis and Clark Humane Society in Helena. The concept that stray domestic pets needed humane care began to spread rapidly throughout the United States in the 1960s, especially in urban areas. The Lewis and Clark Humane Society, although situated in a town of roughly 40,000 people, represented national sentiments of humane treatment toward animals and fought for changes in local animal control. In comparison, cultural views of Native Americans toward animals have not followed sentiments expressed by the white majority class in America. Between 1960 and 1975, no animal shelter developed on the Flathead reservation. The development of animal welfare in Helena and its lack of development on the Flathead reservation are explained through the difference in cultural norms toward animals and the socioeconomic status of these two areas.