Iqaluit Humane Society eyes move as shelter is slated to be demolished

“We need to start thinking about some longer-term, more sustainable solutions for animal care in the North”

The Iqaluit Humane Society’s city-owned shelter is set to be demolished next year, prompting the organization to launch a major fundraising drive to pay for a new facility. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Two puppies nap together in a kennel at the Iqaluit Humane Society shelter. (Photo courtesy of IHS)

The Iqaluit Humane Society city-owned shelter sits quietly tucked away off Federal Road on Ulu Lane. But walk through the shelter’s front doors and you’ll set off a chorus of howls and yelps from its excited occupants.

The building, which has been occupied by the volunteer-run organization for over a decade, is now set to be demolished in 2021. The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission condemned part of the facility earlier this year for safety reasons.

But the Iqaluit Humane Society hopes to turn that circumstance into an opportunity to rebuild the animal rescue service and broaden its mandate to include wellness and rehabilitation.

The city is looking for a new parcel of land for the IHS to build on, while the society is looking for a million dollars to pay for a new facility. But the organization doesn’t have long—the building is set to be demolished next spring or summer.

“It’s a very short time-line to construct anything in the Arctic,” admits Janelle Kennedy, president of the IHS board of directors.

“We’re not looking for marble countertops or chandeliers. We’re looking to build something that’s functional. “

Kennedy said the IHS takes in anywhere between 350 and 600 animals a year, mostly dogs and cats, from Iqaluit and around the Baffin region. The organization operates on between $80,000 and $100,000 a year that comes from private donations and grants.

That money goes to pay for supplies—pet food, kennels, and spay and neuter clinics in other communities. The organization also employs three full-time and five part-time staff, who help care for the animals and help to ship them to southern animal rescues if needed.

Currently, the IHS is caring for 23 dogs and two cats.

As the organization looks ahead to its future, Kennedy said they hope to expand their reach to be able to work with different community groups and help other Nunavut regions co-ordinate their own local animal rescue services.

The society has launched a Go Fund Me campaign seeking $1 million in donations.

The organization has also applied for an Arctic Inspiration Prize to help the IHS build wellness activities into its day-to-day operations. Kennedy said the organization would like to work more closely with inmates at the correctional centres in the city and train staff and animals to do therapeutic visits and suicide prevention with different groups.

“You cannot talk about dogs and not talk about people,” she said.

“And we need to start thinking about some longer-term, more sustainable solutions for animal care in the North.”

City hopes to lease IHS new land in 2021

During a meeting last August, Iqaluit city council passed a motion for the city to work with the humane society to develop a lease agreement.

That’s because the IHS has been operating on city land without a lease for as long as it has worked at the Ulu Lane facility.

That dates back to when the city took over the building in the late 2000s, which was then the city’s dog pound. As the IHS acquired the building, Kennedy said the organization slowly took over functions of the pound, for example, taking in dogs that city bylaw officers picked up.

The city told Nunatsiaq News that it’s looking for an appropriate piece of land for the organization to lease in 2021.

“Together, the City and the IHS advocate for the safety and well-being of dogs, and the City will continue to have an integral role in reuniting lost dogs,” the city said in a Nov. 2 email.

“The city is also looking for a new pound location and to update the animal act in order to reduce the need for IHS services.”

Kennedy said the city is a critical partner for the IHS moving forward.

“[The move] is no one’s fault. It’s just something we have to overcome and we have to keep a positive outlook,” she said. “Maybe this is [the] situation we need to push us to do something spectacular.

“What we’re striving for is a win-win-win. A win for the shelter, a win for the city and a win for the territory at large.”

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by SPCA in Nunavut! Part of Infrastructure needed! on

    Nunavut Government should make an effort to development Nunavut SPCA! This should be part of infrastructure.

  2. Posted by Robin on

    We need an animal shelter in Nunavut. Please support the Go Fund Me. Thank you to all the donors and countless number of UNPAID volunteers who have served so many lovely animals; giving them a second chance at life! You make the world go round with love!

  3. Posted by Cindy Leishman on

    Could you post pics of all the pets available for adoption?

  4. Posted by Why meow? on

    The society should be responsible to fix this problem before now. Same people for years and same problems over and over. And now they want a million bucks!

  5. Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

    She also pointed to the Inuit’s traditional relationship with dogs and Canada’s troubled role in the deaths of thousands of sled dogs in the region, known as qimmiit. In an apology last August, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett acknowledged Canada’s “participation in the processes that resulted in the loss of qimmiit, which were key to your culture, survival, and community health.”
    Kennedy said that losing the humane society would only add to that hurt.

    This is from CTV
    First off not many Inuit know the existence of the IHS, other then taking our beloved animals without our knowledge which leads to having grudge and resentment to IHS.
    Second IHS has nothing to do with us Inuit more so do not have our support, it is a different culture run and not under our culture, Janelle Kennedy has no right to use the Inuit dog slaughter for her gain, she has no right to use us for the benefit to support a society that we true hate and despise.

    • Posted by Umm whut? on

      Like everyone else in Nunavut, you’re big on criticism and low on ideas. Kennedy has helped hundreds if not thousands of animals in the Qikiqtaaluk region. Most of whom would have suffered terribly and died needlessly without her and the IHS. What have you done? How exactly do you suggest the region would benefit if Kennedy and the IHS one day got sick of being libeled by know-nothings and the perpetually offended?

      • Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

        Like I said she is not even an Inuk and what right does she have to even mention
        about Inuit dog slaughter that occurred up here, What right does she have to use it to the benefit for non Inuit.

        Forget the dog that ain’t working dogs, we are Inuit at our surpassingly own land and we did not ask for animal that are not husky’s and for working purpose.

        • Posted by sheinuk on

          Hey Nunavutmiuta. From my soap box I see many non-Inuks volunteering for free, not paid a penny. In fact, it costs them money to do volunteer work because they pay for their own transportation and clothing they may need. Just go out and check out all the volunteer opportunities in Iqaluit. In my experience volunteering in Iqaluit, the majority of these opportunities are managed by non-Inuks. Here are some examples for you: Iqaluit Humane Society, Habitiat for Humanity Iqaluit, Angel Tree, Kamatsiaqut Nunavut Helpline, Rotary Iqaluit, Soup Kitchen, Thrift store, plus all the after school programs that teachers do for free, and the list goes on.

          Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting Inuks don’t volunteer. They do. And I thank them for their service.

          • Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

            volunteering? when did I mention that? My point is a Qallunaaq has no right to use Inuit dog slaughter for the benefit towards IHS. No right what so ever.

        • Posted by Northern Guy on

          And yet there remain hundreds of unpsayed stray animals that were once owned by someone and those owners were likely Inuit. The IHS offers free spay and neuter clinics throughout the region and takes in dogs that would otherwise be euthanized by bylaw enforcement officers. Do you see anyone else providing these services Inuit or not?

    • Posted by And yet… on

      And yet no one is stepping up to the plate. Only finger pointing. The “criticism vs actually doing something” ratio in this town is absolutely insane. What Janelle said was correct, maybe a bit over the top, but not incorrect and there was nothing culturally appropriating about it.
      .
      The owner-dog love-neglect relationship in this town is the real problem. What the IHS is doing is a band aid solution–but it’s a massive bandaid. It’s too bad that it’ll probably come down to the IHS shutting down and the city becoming over run with dogs for the city to actually do something about it, but that’s Nunavut for ya.

      • Posted by Legitimate concerns on

        Many of us don’t trust IHS. It’s culturally biased only towards non-Inuit. They take dogs from the Municipality and only advertise adoptions down south, without giving anyone in Iqaluit a chance to reclaim their dogs, or an opportunity to contest whether a dog was lawfully taken. There’s no transparency, accountability or checks and balances between the Municipality and IHS. There’s no effort to engage with Iqalummiut, nor provide any efforts for dogs to reunite with Iqalummiut. Their attitude is very dismissive of any legitimate concerns raised. And then for them to use the dog slaughter as a way to entice more donations is a real kicker in the gut. It’s not finger-pointing, it’s raising legitimate concerns that need to be addressed.

  6. Posted by Infrastructure for Nunavut SPCA & Humane Society on

    Territory Government lacks infrastructure from SPCA, to pet control, humane society, animal hospital, or vaccines for pets etc. Some people buy pups from south; once grown it is than neglected. This is a situation where Nunavut Government should make an effort how to manage or control stray dogs or puppy’s. Infrastructure should be in place both by Nunavut Government, and DIO’s. When can we start this process!?!

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