Iqaluit city council eases dog impound rules after humane society closure

Bylaw will now hold pets for seven days instead of 72 hours

Rod Mugford, Iqaluit’s chief enforcement officer, presents options for dog registration fees to city councillors Tuesday evening at City Hall. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqaluit city council is trying to make it easier for people to reclaim their lost dogs in the absence of the city’s humane society.

Councillors passed a motion Tuesday night to extend the holding period for impounded animals from 72 hours to seven days.

This, said Rod Mugford, Iqaluit’s chief enforcement officer, will give animals a better chance to be claimed by their owners.

Before the Iqaluit Humane Society closed on Sept. 2, bylaw would hand the dog off to the shelter.

If they know where the dog lives, bylaw officers also try to bring dogs to their home without impounding them, said Mugford.

There’s one dog, for example, that has been picked up eight times.

Iqaluit’s chief enforcement officer Rod Mugford says often, bylaw officers return dogs to their homes without impounding them — if they know where the dog lives. (Photo by David Venn)

“If we know where that dog lives, we will drive it home, we’ll knock on the door, we’ll tether it and we’ll drive away if no one’s home,” he said.

There have also been instances where dogs have gotten loose while their owners were on hunting trips, said Mugford.

Sometimes, owners have tried to come home but couldn’t because of weather or other circumstances, so bylaw would hold the dog for seven days to allow time for owners to come back.

Coun. Sheila Flaherty asked Mugford what would happen if an owner is out of town and can’t get back within the seven days to reclaim their dog.

Mugford said bylaw could release the dog to someone else to care for it “on good faith.” Or, if the dog is registered, they will hold it until the owner comes forward.

“I just want to make it clear that ultimately it is the dog owner’s responsibility to be in control of their dog at all times, regardless of whether they are out of town or not,” Mayor Kenny Bell said.

The city is still trying to figure out where to send dogs if they aren’t claimed after the seven-day impoundment, Bell said, and has spoken with airlines and shelters in the south.

“We’re looking at alternatives of course, but at this point we’re still not 100 per cent sure,” he said.

Councillors also passed a motion Tuesday that will do away with animal registration fees.

Mugford said he has estimated that this will cost the city $3,000 up front to pay for tags, but that the city will benefit by providing the service.

“Once we make this free and easy to register, there’s no longer any excuse whatsoever not to have your pet registered,” Coun. Kyle Sheppard said, adding that he believes the impound fee should be increased for dogs that are not registered.

Not every council member agreed.

Flaherty said she’s concerned about unregistered dogs owned by children or low-income families that are caught by bylaw on a Friday, for example, when there’s a long weekend ahead, which would increase the cost to get the dog back.

Bell said the impoundment fee, which is $75, could be dropped altogether, and bylaw officers could charge $20 for food and maintenance each day it has an animal in its care.

Council ultimately decided to discuss the fees associated with impounding animals at a later date.

The bylaw changes will likely be approved by council by the end of October, Bell said.

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Good boy on

    Good job Iqaluit city council. You have taken away a service provided by a charity and dumped it on city services. How much is this going to cost us when you raise taxes again?

    • Posted by Not with that attitude on

      Yeah…but they were so rude to the mayor!

    • Posted by what? on

      this is getting ridiculous, if you own an animal be responsible for it, end of the story end of the problem for everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

        Wouldn’t that be nice eh… Just like it would be nice if everyone:
        -picked up their garbage at the park
        -showed up for work every day and on time and,
        -stopped throwing rocks at taxis and I could go on and on
        We live in a real world not a fantasy world. In a real world people abandon their pets for a constellation of reasons, and no free dog tags or impound penalties will stop them. We need the humane society to mitigate this damage!!! But now they’re gone and the crisis will worsen and worsen!!


    This is a capital of Nunavut yet NO SPCA initiated? Great JOB! WHO’s initiating HUMANE SOCIETY in Nunavut??? NO Effort committed YET!?!

  3. Posted by Inhumane pound on

    The state of the pound is deplorable. It is dirty and not cleaned, ful of deadly parasites that kill dogs. Animals are put into cages, sleep on cement floors, there is no heat and they are left in the dark all day.

  4. Posted by Shame on

    This makes no sense. Take away the IHS because there was a personal vendetta and put the responsibilities on the City staff.

    Why didn’t the City help IHS with securing land? They had no problem giving away land to the ski-club and how did they get that?

    Whatever your view is on IHS is you’re opinion. These volunteers worked hard to keep the place running and they didn’t even get a thank you.

    These “adults” should be ashamed for conducting themselves in this manner.

    • Posted by Seriously? on

      There’s a Ski Club that got free land from the city?

  5. Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

    Boy, did the Mayor and the city really blow this file!! They had a committed charity in place with dedicated people to provide shelter and homes to Iqaluits abandoned dogs. Now that essential service is gone and the Mayor himself is calling airlines and animal shelters in the south to deal with this crisis. How pathetic!!!

    The dog problem will only be getting worse and that is a guarantee!! Anyone who thinks that fiddling with impound and registration fees will solve it is living in LaLa land. The humane society was the only front line tool that they had and the city kicked sand in their face. Like I said: Pathetic!!!!

    • Posted by WOW!!!!! on

      This is such a redundancy!!!

      New chief takes over and makes the city enforcement take 100 steps backwards instead of moving forward.

      Very clown like organization. As if you really think giving away free dog tags and not charging for impound fees are going to do the trick.

      No wonder the IME department is not respected it acts like a bunch of clowns.

      How does a city take away the Iqaluit humane society when they have been doing the job so well for many many many years. And not only that but the city of Iqaluit didn’t even accommodate them to acquire land

      Must be because of a personal vendetta with that one guy that everyone calls TULUGAK

  6. Posted by Northern Guy on

    What isn’t clear yet and what Mugford skated around was the city’s policy on euthanizing stray animals. Wait for it folks it’s coming. What a schmozzle! The city closes a perfectly good and well operated shelter and puts a massive bureaucratic mess in its place, this is a perfect use of our tax dollars!

  7. Posted by Candace on

    The loss of the Humane Society has been a body blow for Iqaluit. A dedicated, well run, volunteer operated organization. It is absolutely disconcerting that the Mayor and council care so little about animal welfare and the safety of Iqalummiut. They should get down off their high horses and open discussions with the IHS to find a location NOW!

  8. Posted by Dog lover on

    One dog returned 8 times ! Maybe the dog could be returned to a responsible dog owner and tell the original owner to get a goldfish .

    • Posted by Big farce on

      Same problem in Rankin. There are a few dogs that are always loose, always getting picked up and always getting returned to their owners, over and over and over…

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