'I'm a big believer that the city should have assets.'
City to get new dog pound
It's cleaning time at the Iqaluit dog pound on Tuesday, Aug. 7, and bylaw workers are shifting a half-dozen cages to clean away feces, urine, matted fur, and under one cage, congealing blood.
One dog, which was picked up because it was being mistreated, died during the night. Bylaw officers Gordon Higgins and Tyson Kalluk each grab a pair of legs and haul the bloated corpse to a city truck.
Later, they'll take the dog to its final resting place: the dump.
Meanwhile, a single cat is locked in what was once an office. Hearing voices outside, it cries and keeps pawing under the locked door.
The city's dog pound is an old building off Federal Road once used by the Qulliq Energy Corp. for storage.
Rod Mugford, the city's chief municipal enforcement officer, said it's simply too small and poorly ventilated, though the current building is better than the sea-can that stray dogs used to be held in.
"It's been a big need for quite some time, although we've been able to manage as best we could," he said. "We're to the point where we can't manage any further."
They may not have to for much longer. City council voted last week to accept an offer that will provide a bigger facility for animal control.
The current pound holds six dogs outside and has room inside for another half-dozen. When space allows, animals that need to be quarantined are kept inside and away from other animals.
Mugford said a proper pound would allow officers to clean pens without shuffling cages around.
Qulliq has let the city use the current building for more than a decade free of charge, but in 2005 said it wanted the site back. The corporation has offered the city $30,000 for its trouble, which city staff and some councillors say is generous.
Meanwhile, the city in May took legal action against Northern Property REIT over a building the company owned in the North 40 area that contained illegal apartments.
Northern Property has pitched to the city an out-of-court settlement to sell the building to the city for $250,000 and perform $50,000 worth of repairs for free. A memo to councillors said that Northern Properties paid $400,000 for the building in 1999.
But that didn't sit well with councillors Claude Martel and David Alexander, who felt the Northern Property deal, which is on a lease-to-own basis that will cost the city about $2,400 per month, is too expensive.
"I don't know why we have to pay $200,000 for stray dogs," Martel told council, suggesting shooting the animals might make more sense.
Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik broke the tie between the four councillors present at the city's July 31 meeting and voted in favour of the request.
Deputy Mayor Al Hayward and Coun. Jimmy Kilabuk were in favour of the deal, while Martel and Alexander voted nay.
Mugford said he estimates the cost of building a dog pound from scratch at $400,000 to $600,000. And Sheutiapik said the city should be building its stock of real estate.
"I'm a big believer that the city should have assets," she said.
Back at the pound, Kalluk, the city's animal control officer, sets about hosing down the stalls. He sweeps out the nasty stuff with a giant squeegee, then disinfects the area with a peroxide-based cleaner. He shrugs when asked if cleaning out the mess bothers him.
"It's for the better of the dogs," he said.