When Christine Day was reunited with her pet dog Mocha after he went missing for almost a week, she pampered the persevering pooch like it was his birthday.
“He jumped into the truck when we picked him up from the dog pound, he doesn’t usually do that,” she said. “I bathed him yesterday and tried giving him a hair cut. The bylaw was happy to get him home and gave me a collar that he hopefully won’t break.”
Mocha disappeared June 4. He was found by locals and taken to the Inuvik Animal Shelter. However, when Day called the bylaw office the first time to pay the required impounding fee for his care, she was told he was scheduled to fly to Yellowknife and be put up for adoption at the SPCA there.
Day said she called the office frantically over the next few days, but finally when she was able to connect with the office on June 10 they were able to stop Mocha’s flight.
“I really thought I wasn’t going to get him back,” she said. “I didn’t want him to just be sent away because I love dogs.”
Public Safety director Cynthia Hammond told the Inuvik Drum if the town finds an animal at large, pet-owners have three business days to claim their furry friend before it becomes property of the town. The town charges a $50 impoundment fee for the first seizure of a licenced dog, or $100 if unlicenced and $200 for a nuisance dog. Additional collection of the same animal will result in the reclamation fee increasing to $120 for second offense, or $200 for nuisance dogs.
Because the town has a “no kill” policy, the animals are instead sent further south for adoption if no one claims them, though the town goes to great pains to reunite pets with their humans.
Having your dog registered with tags makes connecting lost canines with their families easier, as the town has an address and phone number to follow up on. If an animal is found not-registered, there is no point of reference to work with.
Microchips for pets are not available, so anyone with a dog in their yard should have a sturdy collar and leash tied to a lead that will not break. That lead should also be secured to something solid like a post or building. Alternatively a fence can be used, but should be high enough the dog can’t jump over it and deep enough that it can’t be dug under. A collar with the pooch’s home address and a phone number is always helpful.
Municipal enforcement does not monitor social media posts. Hammond added residents should contact the bylaw office at 777-8616 if their pet has gone missing and leave a detailed message with a contact number if no one is there at the time.
She noted out of all the animals found roaming the streets and turned over to the Inuvik shelter, about 80 per cent of them are never claimed. This year, about 24 dogs have been sent south for adoption.
If in doubt, Day said the best thing to do is just pick up the phone.
“Don’t be afraid to call the bylaw,” she said. “I thought they would be like upset that my dog got loose so much but it wasn’t that.”