A property in Fort Resolution has close to 25 dogs living in poor conditions, according to the NWT branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
NWT SPCA president Nicole Spencer said there have not been allegations of mistreatment of the dogs, but there have been calls made to the society that the dogs are living in unsanitary conditions and the smell from the property – right in the middle of the hamlet – is affecting people in the community.
Spencer says she has heard from three residents that this has been a problem going on for years.
“They say it’s so bad that they can’t even open their windows – the stench is so bad,” says Spencer.
Spencer says she’s been told there’s standing water and feces throughout the property.
“People I’ve spoken to, of course, they say it’s horrible conditions to be living in, so they feel bad for the dogs,” says Spencer.
Hamlet senior administrative officer Tausia Kaitu’u-Lal says the hamlet has begun working on a solution to the situation with the owners.
“We have just started to work on figuring out what we’re going to do,” said Kaitu’u-Lal on Friday afternoon.
Close to press deadline on Friday, Spencer told News/North that she had just received a message from the GNWT’s Environmental Health division saying a solution was in the works to move the dogs to a property outside of Fort Resolution within the year, and that the owners are waiting now for the land to dry up after spring melt.
News/North could not confirm the owners of the property by press time.
Deninu Kue First Nation Chief Louis Balsillie wasn’t available by press time.
The NWT’s Dog Act prohibits dog owners or caretakers from allowing their animals to cause or allow their dog to be in distress, and allows bylaw officers to enter the property – but not the home – in which dogs are in distress, and to take custody of the animals.
Under the act, a dog is also considered abandoned if left without adequate food, water or shelter for 24 hours, and at this point an officer may take it into custody whether or not it appears to be in distress.