Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit January 12, 2018 - 2:15 pm

Iqaluit councillors ponder the dangers posed by fox traps

Man’s dog injured on Upper Base not far from built-up area

Iqaluit resident Thomas Rohner speaks to Iqaluit city councillors Jan. 9, after his dog was caught last month in a fox trap in the Upper Base area. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Iqaluit resident Thomas Rohner speaks to Iqaluit city councillors Jan. 9, after his dog was caught last month in a fox trap in the Upper Base area. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Thomas Rohner's dog Nacho was mostly unharmed after being caught in a trap Dec. 23, but other Iqaluit animals have been badly injured. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Thomas Rohner's dog Nacho was mostly unharmed after being caught in a trap Dec. 23, but other Iqaluit animals have been badly injured. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Traps set for foxes in Iqaluit have instead been catching dogs these days.

Iqaluit resident Thomas Rohner told Iqaluit city council on Tuesday, Jan. 9 that he was out walking his dog, Nacho, in the Upper Base area Dec. 23 when the animal’s leg was caught in a fox trap.

To release the pet, a friend held the dog down while Rohner worked to open the trap. 

The dog escaped with minor injuries and swelling, but the veterinarian told Rohner his canine was lucky.

“Where the trap was set, it was concealed. It was not visible even just walking by it. It could have very easily been me, I was walking right beside my dog when it happened. It could have also very easily been a child,” he told city councillors.

Other dogs in Iqaluit haven’t been so fortunate.

A puppy was killed recently when it was caught in a larger trap in the same area of town, and the Iqaluit Humane Society had to send another dog to Ottawa for emergency surgery recently after it was badly injured in a trap.

Rohner said he understands the issue of hunting and trapping restrictions is “divisive,” but he believes there should be a clear city bylaw dealing with trapping in the municipality, and one that is strongly enforced. 
“I don’t think there is any place for hunting traps within city limits where people and pets can easily step into it and be seriously injured,” he said. 

But Mayor Madeleine Redfern said that there are already legal documents that address trapping near town.

She quoted a Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. lawyer, who said: “While Inuit do enjoy hunting and trapping rights within the Nunavut settlement area, there are restrictions for such activities within built-up environments, any place within one mile of a building.”

That’s in line with Article 5 of the Nunavut Agreement, which sets out Inuit harvesting rights. The same principle is reflected in the Nunavut Wildlife Act.

In Rohner’s case, he says he was within 30 feet of a structure.

As well, the City, Towns and Villages Act gives city council the authority to prohibit trapping within municipal limits.

Redfern said the issue has come before council in the past, but little has been done.

She was to have met with the Amarok hunters and trappers association on Thursday, Jan. 11 to discuss the issue and look at the possibility of making a joint statement to the public.

But some councillors are concerned about a bylaw that would restrict hunting rights.

“I need to think more about how to approach this issue, because it involves your pet, and my right to hunt,” Coun. Joanasie Akumalik said. 

Coun. Simon Nattaq said the area Rohner spoke of used to be open tundra, so people are used to using it for trapping.

But he also said newer traps used in recent years are far more dangerous.

“New traps are built to humanely and instantly kill an animal,” Nattaq said.

In light of this, Redfern flagged safety as the primary concern when it comes to traps near publicly used areas. 

“It is a public safety issue. The land claim does state that there is no hunting, harvesting and trapping within one mile of a building, probably to attempt to address that balance of issues between allowing Inuit the right to harvest, but also to ensure that public safety is paramount,” she said. 

“This is not an Inuit versus Qallunaat issue. Inuit also own pets. There have been other Inuit who have had their dogs caught in traps within municipal boundaries. There are also people who do go berry picking up in that area.”

Deputy Mayor Romeyn Stevenson said the city should take some ownership of the issue.

“I think we need an off-leash area for dogs. Currently there is no place in the city of Iqaluit where people are allowed to run their dogs,” Stevenson said.

A Jan. 9 letter from the Iqaluit Humane Society—presented by Rohner to councillors—described a dog that was flown to Ottawa for surgery after being badly wounded in a snare.

“The puppy had broken off nearly all of its teeth trying to free itself and did additional damage to its leg while in the process,” the humane society president, Janelle Kennedy, wrote in the letter.
“All of us at the Iqaluit Humane Society are shocked and saddened by the injuries reported by pet owners these last few weeks; injuries and pet deaths caused by unmarked leg holds, snares and larger traps set within city limits, close to buildings and in recreational areas,” the letter states.

“We hope that the city council finds a way to inform the public of this issue and involve all relevant authorities to improve the community’s awareness and prepare measures for prevention of injury.”

Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share Comment on this story...

(46) Comments:

#1. Posted by IceClass on January 12, 2018

Trapping so close to town is just lazy, dangerous and disrespectful to the community at large.
Any traps I find within the city limits when out walking with my dogs, I’m pulling them up and taking them home to put in the trash.

#2. Posted by Graveyard Visitor on January 12, 2018

I went to the cemetery to visit my deceased relatives and there was a pit bull and a huge black tiger striped dog running loose!! There was a big fat man walking behind them who didn’t seem to care that they were running through the crosses.
People should not walk their dogs off leash in town and they should respect the graveyards by not letting their dogs loose to scare people and do their business on our families graves!Disrespectful!

#3. Posted by Sunnydays on January 12, 2018

There are nearly one million square kilometers of land in the Qikiqtaaluk area alone, all that is being here is that trappers refrain, out of respect for the safety of others - pets and people alike, from trapping the 8 square kilometers that is Iqaluit.  This doesn’t seem like an unreasonable ask considering what is at stake.

#4. Posted by Peter on January 12, 2018

The area has always been used for trapping, maybe a sign for new comers that this area has traps would help them out.

#1 what gives you the right to steal other peoples hunting tools? You may not be used to hunting and trapping and moved up here, but this area has always been used for trapping. Again local people and their rights being walked all over.

I’m sure you can walk in another area, talk to some local people to see where they trap and avoid those areas with your dog.

You better not get caught stealing other peoples property.

#5. Posted by Calling Bull$%#t on January 12, 2018

#4 the Nunavut land claim agreement gives anyone the right to remove that trap because it was in an illegal location

The area in upper base where Mr. Rohner’s dog was caught by a trap is less than one mile from a structure. According to the NLCA it is illegal to set a trap within one mile of a structure inside a municipality.

The so-called hunter who set that trap was obviously too stupid and lazy to go further out of town to a safe location. He deserves to lose all of his traps.

Just wait. One of these days, somebody’s child is going to get maimed or killed because of one of these irresponsible so-called hunters who set illegal traps inside city limits close to buildings were people live and where children play outside.

If that ever happens they should be charged with criminal negligence and have their sorry ass locked up in jail.

#6. Posted by read it on January 12, 2018

#2 Graveyard Visitor, that isn’t what this article is about.

#7. Posted by Oopik on January 12, 2018

“I need to think more about how to approach this issue, because it involves your pet, and my right to hunt,” so u hunt in the city grounds? That’s comforting

#8. Posted by Bylaw after bylaw on January 12, 2018

So they are going to create another bylaw while breaking another? Dogs are to be leashed at all times according to one bylaw!!  These people are walking dogs off leash and the trappers are at fault? There are already more laws then municipal enforcement can keep up with, keep your dogs on leashes! Problem solved! And for those of you saying “it could have been me” do you know how big a fox trap is? Lol they are tiny!

#9. Posted by angunasukti on January 12, 2018

I am a dog team owner who keeps dogs at West 40 for part of the year.  In past years, I have had two working sled dogs break their chains, get lose and get caught in traps.  Both dogs suffered severe frost damage to paws and legs- one lost most of her toes.  These traps were placed within a few hundred yards of well over 100 Canadian Inuit Dogs- that just doesnt make good sense , land claim or not.

#10. Posted by Amaruq on January 13, 2018

Hunting and trapping by Inuit is an inherent right rooted in Aboriginal title to the land and subsequently to the NLCA. It is a right written into a document where Inuit and the Government of Canada have agreed to, an agreement with the intent of upholding those rights and also attempting to reconcile with colonization, which includes affirming harvesting rights with full and unrestricted access and use of ancestral lands. This agreement has the same standing as the charter of rights and freedoms. So when questioning the NLCA rights, inform yourself first otherwise you’ll sound as uninformed as a person questioning peoples right to religion, questioning rights to rights to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure….sure there are debates within those issues too but people really need to read up before having strong opinions. Infringement on any rights is a serious issue. Any informed comment, by Inuit or non-Inuit, will consider those rights in order to understand the depth…...

#11. Posted by Tide change on January 13, 2018

I can’t believe that some idiot councillors and citizens are actually trying to defend this moron putting up traps so close to town!! What is a matter with people! Have we lost our common sense up here!! I wonder how that idiot so called trapper will feel if his young niece or nephew loses a foot because of one of his stupid traps. What is wrong with people. Inuit need to speak up that this is bad trapping practice, pure and simple!!!

#12. Posted by Northern Guy on January 13, 2018

Your dog doesn’t have to be off leash to get caught in a trap and many aren’t. If I find any traps set on or near on my walking routes all of which are within city boundaries and near built areas I will deliberately spring them as they are against the law. Council needs to show some backbone on this issue and ban trapping within municipal boundaries.

#13. Posted by iThink on January 13, 2018

#10 I find your comparison between the NLCA and religion a fitful one, both are to be accepted as immutable, eternal and sacrosanct laws of the universe. Neither demand the application of common sense or reason. At worst, the act of questioning itself is considered blasphemous.

I think most people would agree that rights come with responsibilities, they are also socially constructed. There is no inherent right in the universe to put a fox trap in a dangerous location. This is a fantasy.

#14. Posted by large on January 13, 2018

#8, there are traps that are bigger and stronger than fox traps, and you know it. And they are right beside the roads. I set a big one off less than two feet away from road to nowhere. I set it off because I had two small children and we were berry-picking. There were other families and children around too. The trap blended in very well with the rocks.

#15. Posted by Peter on January 13, 2018

When you resort to name calling we can’t take you seriously, not one bit.

Thank you #10 for explaining this clearly, some of these people will probably still not get it though.

#16. Posted by #10 is full of crap on January 13, 2018

Read the Wildlife Act buddy:

Dangerous harvesting
89. (1) No person shall harvest wildlife
(a) in a manner that endangers other persons; or
(b) without due regard for the safety or property of other persons.

79. (1) Pursuant to the Agreement, an Inuk or an assignee under section 16 may employ any type, method or technology to harvest pursuant to the terms of Article 5 of the Agreement that does NOT

(b) conflict with laws of general application regarding the humane killing of wildlife, PUBLIC SAFETY or firearms control;

#17. Posted by #10 is full of crap on January 13, 2018

This is what your big holy land claim agreement says buddy.

Your NLCA says the government can ban your traps any time they want for public safety reasons. Those so-called hunters should try reading it some time.

Decisions of the NWMB or a Minister made in relation to Part 6 shall restrict or limit Inuit harvesting only to the extent necessary:

(a) to effect a valid conservation purpose;
(b) to give effect to the allocation system outlined in this Article, to other provisions of this Article and to Article 40; or
(c) to provide for PUBLIC HEALTH or PUBLIC SAFETY.

5.7.42 - Methods of Harvesting

An Inuk or assignee pursuant to Sub-section 5.7.34(a) may employ any type, method or technology to harvest pursuant to the terms of this Article that does NOT:

conflict with laws of general application regarding humane killing of wildlife, PUBLIC SAFETY and firearms control;

#18. Posted by respect matters on January 13, 2018

#15 I agree that name calling, bullying words, close the door to read their comment any further.

#2 The disrespect is felt.  Part of the trap discussions need to include respect, to keep dogs leashed, and walk on graveyard paths.

#19. Posted by Common Sense on January 15, 2018

Doesn’t matter if I walk with a not leashed dog, giraffe, monkey, space alien, or 34 children walking on their hands. The issue is trapping that close to town is illegal. The issue is eventually some poor child is going to step in it and be seriously injured. Unfortunately in Nunavut everything happens reactively an not proactively. Let’s just not argue and move your traps to the legal distance. No one is questioning your hunting rights, just your common sense.

#20. Posted by Think on January 15, 2018

This was on PSA December 13 2016
When Walking on the land, especially if you have dog or small children with you, please remember that there could be fox traps
It is your responsibility to keep your pets and children safe. If you let your dog off it’s leash, it is at your own risk,
Please not that it is illegal to spring or interfere with traps out on the land.

#21. Posted by Municipal Hunting on January 15, 2018

The people who continuously call everybody’s attention to Inuit hunting/harvesting rights just blow my mind.

Nobody has an issue with Inuit hunters doing what they’re allowed to do.  But they aren’t allowed to put traps less than 1 mile from a structure within municipal boundaries.

And the municipality has the right to restrict where they hunt even further, to anywhere within municipal boundaries.  You know why?  Because the lands within municipal borders are owned by the municipalities through fee simple title.  They are not Inuit owned lands and are not subject to hunting/harvesting rights in the NLCA.

#22. Posted by Incompetent Councillors on January 15, 2018

“‘I need to think more about how to approach this issue, because it involves your pet, and my right to hunt,’ Coun. Joanasie Akumalik said.”

“Coun. Simon Nattaq said the area Rohner spoke of used to be open tundra, so people are used to using it for trapping.”

No, it doesn’t involve your right to hunt.  You don’t have a right to hunt there.

You know what else used to be open tundra?  The Plateau.  But you can’t put traps beside people’s houses on the Plateau, either.

There is a tonne of land you are allowed to hunt/trap on.  We’re talking about the land you’re not allowed to hunt/trap on.

#23. Posted by Peter on January 15, 2018

#18 I agree 100%

#24. Posted by Jack on January 15, 2018

#21 with the lack of respect shown on these comments, name calling the undertones you would think southerns have a huge issue with the way Inuit Hunt.

The invasion continues, welcome to 2018.

#25. Posted by Sue on January 15, 2018

You can’t tell Inuit they cannot hunt, who do you think you are?
You come up here and start telling people what to do?

Maybe if you take the time and talk with Inuit that have always lived here how they feel about someone coming here and unleashing their dog to run in an area that has always been used for trapping.

But I bet you won’t do that. You seem to feel that you have more rights and privilege with your dog than for Inuit to set their traps where they have done so for a very long time.

#26. Posted by Tiny Violin on January 15, 2018

#24 It seems there’s always some sad sap who has to turn everything into a commentary on race, and of course invoke their ‘victimness’ in the process.

*Woah is us!!*


Curious what your opinion is on this issue? It seems obvious that setting traps close to town is not only irresponsible and dangerous, it’s probably illegal.

#27. Posted by Small towner on January 15, 2018

During this kind of stuff, us small town folks feel blessed that we are not being pushed around by people not from here, I feel for the people of Iqaluit, it must be difficult seeing over the years the loss of your area and people trying to tell you what to do for their own reasons.

#28. Posted by Jack on January 15, 2018

#26 with your undertone I can’t take your seriously, yawn.

#29. Posted by Trapper on January 15, 2018

I’d like the see the city designate this area a trapping zone and keep people with their dogs away from that area, there are a lot of other areas they can take their dog for a walk.

#30. Posted by Ever boring on January 15, 2018

#27 & #28 Feeling sorry for yourself really brings a lot of clarity to these issues. Please post the link to your blog, I’d love to read more.

#31. Posted by huh? on January 15, 2018

#25 no one is questioning hunting rights. They’re saying isn’t it common sense that it is a bad idea to set traps on the side of the road. They are concealed by snow. They blend in with the landscape.

#20 a PSA doesn’t make something a good idea. There have been many PSA’s over the years that make no sense and are terrible ideas. The traps blend in with the tundra and are covered in snow. How can I avoid them when I can’t see them. I’m not talking about out on the land. I’m talking about near the road, on the edge of and in town.

#32. Posted by Not an Invasion on January 15, 2018

Sue and Jack.

Inuit do not have rights to set traps within 1 mile of structures in city limits.  That’s in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, signed in 1993 by the President of NTI, who is now Premier of Nunavut.

That is the whole point of this.  You can’t shoot a rifle at a ptarmigan at the Road to Nowhere subdivision, right?  Nobody seems to have an issue with that.  Well, you can’t set traps that close to town either, for the same reasons.

#33. Posted by Small towner on January 15, 2018

#30 I do feel sorry for my Inuit cousins in Iqaluit that they have to put up with someone like yourself but I do not feel sorry for them for being Inuit like myself.

#34. Posted by Sue on January 15, 2018

For guns yes I agree, but for trapping that is something else. I think the city needs to consult with NTI to make sure Inuit rights are not being trampled. Special rights under the Nunavut agreement.

#35. Posted by huh? on January 15, 2018

#34 why one and not the other? Both are effective for hunting and both can cause serious harm.
I’m asking because I actually want to understand, by the way, not because I’m trying to be an ignorant jerk.

#36. Posted by NTI Lawyer on January 15, 2018

Sue, please, it’s literally in the article:

“She quoted a Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. lawyer, who said: ‘While Inuit do enjoy hunting and trapping rights within the Nunavut settlement area, there are restrictions for such activities within built-up environments, any place within one mile of a building.’”

I understand there are special rights, but those rights have restrictions in certain areas, specifically, close to town.

#37. Posted by Urbanization on January 15, 2018

City of Iqaluit’s job is to balance societal interests in its land use or general plans and identify different uses for land within its municipal boundaries, as well as to carry out implementation of such plans, through zoning and by-laws.  But no City Administration has dealt with urbanization and new demands brought upon by newcomers who do not have harvesting upbringing.  The more houses and structures are built, such as in Plateau and Road to Nowhere, the further away the harvesting areas are pushed out.  There was never any public information or awareness campaign to harvesters that their trapping lines were being affected by the one-mile requirement as the houses and buildings were being constructed.  Remember, this was at a time when Iqaluit was facing huge housing demands by the introduction of the new territorial government jobs and private sector growth, and their focus was accommodating the needs of newcomers who sought employment; more houses and more houses.

#38. Posted by Causeway, too on January 15, 2018

The trapper who is too lazy to leave their vehicle, or mark their traps, also has them at the causeway… beware.

#39. Posted by Urbanization II on January 15, 2018

It’s not really fair to say the harvesters are stupid, lazy or illegally setting traps.  There can be many factors, including not being able to afford snowmobiles, not having the financial means to go out further and not being informed where the boundaries may be within the one-mile limitation.

No municipal plan has ever addressed harvesting areas, except for that one time when residents were asked where new subdivisions should be built and most replied to keep the subdivision away from berry patches, but the berry patches that Inuit have traditionally used have been soiled by an influx of dogs and pets - as well as on Sylvia Grinnell where elders are given their drinking water. 

They are not crying out as ‘victims’ - they literally are left out in the majority of planning and development plans.  Inuit may be the majority, but they are often drowned out by those who are more assertive and adept of the processes to deal with their grievances and state their needs.

#40. Posted by Smart E. Pants on January 15, 2018

“...he believes there should be a clear city bylaw dealing with trapping in the municipality, and one that is strongly enforced.”
Oh, like the bylaws against letting dogs run around loose within city boundaries…?

#41. Posted by Ever boring on January 16, 2018

#33 Smalltowner, what you think about this issue? Should people be allowed to put traps out wherever they think it’s suitable? No need to worry about anyone else, or their pets for that matter. Hunting and trapping around the city are fundamental rights. Do you agree? Would love to hear your opinion.

#42. Posted by Ilinniaqtuq on January 16, 2018

There is no NLCA right to hunt within a mile of a structure, BUT there is also no constitutional right to walk your pet dog on the land. So this issue is not a competition between rights, it is a competition between interests.

I’m trying to think of a constructive solution that would please both sides…what if the municipality designated one area as a dog park, and one (larger) area as a trapping area?

I do agree with #39 that there is an equity issue here - some of the trappers trapping near to town don’t have the financial resources to go further out.

#43. Posted by What? on January 16, 2018

Of course you have a right to walk your dog on municipal lands.  Not loose, of course, there is a bylaw against that.

However, I am supportive of a constructive solution, including a designated dog park which the City of Iqaluit has the power to do. 

However, the City of Iqaluit does not have the power to change the fact that you cannot set traps within one mile of a structure on municipal lands.  That is in the NLCA, which is way over the head of the city. 

I think that it wouldn’t be too difficult for the City to look at a map and draw a 1 mile border around the city’s outermost structures, and then put some signs up around where that border is saying that traps are allowed outside of that area.

#44. Posted by huh. on January 16, 2018

#42, a little effort is required with hunting and trapping though, no? If you can’t afford a snow machine you just walk along the road setting traps? Isn’t being innovative and resourceful when seeking solutions am IQ principle? The traps I’m talking about were two feet away from the side of road at road to nowhere. And the ones at upper base are near the road too. Even just 100 more paces away would require minimal effort.

#45. Posted by Co-dependent defendant on January 17, 2018

Dear #37 & 39. Your comments are reminiscent of a co-dependant defending their alcoholic spouse.

#46. Posted by Peter on January 18, 2018

Nunatsiaq news can be difficult sometimes to take seriously when some like #45 comments are allowed to be approved on here.

What’s the point? 😆

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?