Trap set in prohibited area kills Iqaluit family dog
“This is not just dogs who are at risk. People are at risk”
An Iqaluit woman’s dog was killed on Tuesday in an animal trap she believes was set improperly within one mile of a building, which is a restricted zone under prohibitions established in the Nunavut Agreement.
Matty McNair, who has lived in Iqaluit since 1990, said she was skiing near Lake Geraldine, April 10, with her dog “Darcy,” when the three-year-old Australian Shepherd ran out of sight.
McNair was unable to find the dog that day, but returned to the area the next day and discovered Darcy’s body snared in a baited, spring-loaded trap that had closed around the animal’s neck.
“The dog was caught by the neck and when I found her she had pulled the trap, it was supposed to be tied, and she was five feet from the trap which showed me that she wasn’t killed instantly,” McNair told Nunatsiaq News on Thursday, April 12.
The trap was located about 20 to 30 feet from the snowmobile trail, according to McNair, and less than a mile from a building.
Trapping less than one mile from developed areas is prohibited under Article 5 of the Nunavut Agreement.
Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern told Nunatsiaq News that she has already spoken with McNair, and has brought up the issue again with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. in light of the recent incident.
“The one mile limit provides a buffer where residents can and should walk, ski, pick berries, all those sorts of things people want to do near the city,” she said.
Redfern and NTI confirmed to Nunatsiaq News that they will be working with Iqaluit’s hunting and trapping organization to issue an awareness campaign for residents, focusing on what is allowed and not allowed under the Nunavut Agreement.
“When we have an initial discussion with HTOs we’ll talk about putting up signs in designated areas,” said Paul Irngaut, director of NTI’s wildlife and environment department.
“For public safety, especially for safety of children, we’re in agreement with the city that there should be a prohibition of trapping within the areas that are too close to buildings,” Irngaut said, adding that NTI does not want the city to infringe on any hunting rights enshrined in the Nunavut Agreement.
“There’s more work that needs to be done,” Redfern said, but “it sounds like we’re moving toward some mutual agreement.”
The city also plans to meet with Nunavut’s Department of Environment, whose wildlife office is responsible for enforcing game law.
“This is not just dogs who are at risk, people are at risk,” Redfern said, citing reports of individuals who have inadvertently stepped into hidden traps.
This is not the first time this year when a trap has seriously injured or killed a household animal.
Last January, Iqaluit resident Thomas Rohner appeared as a delegate before Iqaluit city council to ask the city to address trapping within municipal boundaries.
Rohner’s dog was injured by a snare while walking near the city’s Upper Base area.
“I really think there should be no trapping within the city limits,” McNair said, since the trap that killed Darcy was clearly set by a hunter who had access to a snowmobile, according to tracks McNair observed, and could have easily gone further out of town.
“People take their dogs out for walks, and that’s part of the beauty of being here, but if you’re terrified that your dog is going to get killed in a trap or held in a leg-hold trap, it’s really awful and there’s no need for that.”