Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut October 11, 2012 - 10:52 am

CamBay council mulls mixed-breed dog problems

Too many are left outside to shiver in -60 C temps

JANE GEORGE
Snow blows around Oct. 10 in Cambridge Bay, prompting the Cambridge Bay hamlet council to talk about the fate of mixed-breed dogs during the winter. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Snow blows around Oct. 10 in Cambridge Bay, prompting the Cambridge Bay hamlet council to talk about the fate of mixed-breed dogs during the winter. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

CAMBRIDGE BAY — Inspired by a recent Iqaluit city council discussion for the need to preserve the Inuit sled dog breed, hamlet councillors in Cambridge Bay talked about their own mixed-breed dog problem at their Oct. 10 meeting.

Many huskies are now breeding with dogs from the South, said Coun. Sarah Jancke.

That in itself isn’t a problem, but when the mixed-breed dogs, who lack the heavy fur of huskies, are left outside in -60 C temperatures, they suffer, she said.

“Would you leave a chihuahua outside,” she asked, adding that many local dog owners don’t realize that southern breeds or mixed-breeds, such as the many half-Labrador-husky mutts around town, aren’t adapted to the cold.

Jancke also wanted to know if there’s any way of controlling the mixed-breed dog population.

Senior Administrative officer Stephen King said the hamlet has no way to limit which dogs breed — and only can enforce the limit of two dogs left outside per household and ensure these dogs have sufficient food and water.

The hamlet can’t do more than the law allows, King said.

And council can’t pass bylaws unless these are backed up by legislation.

“The worst animal control laws” can be found in Nunavut, King told the council.

Nunavut is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to a recent ranking of anti-animal abuse laws done by the U.S Animal Legal Defense Fund, which says “Nunavut has inadequate standards of care, no restrictions on the future ownership of animals by abusers, and minimal fines and sentences for those convicted of abuse.”

To councillors who talled about the need to control the dog population in town, King responded that bylaw officers will put down dogs or puppies at an owner’s request.

A local group called “Diamonds in the Ruff” is also raising money to bring a veterinarian to Cambridge Bay who would be available to spay and neuter dogs.

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