A Great Slave candidate says she was bitten by a dog while out on the campaign trail earlier this month.
Katrina Nokleby said she was going door-to-door on Sept. 9 when she visited a young couple’s home and was attacked by a medium-sized dog after they opened the door.
“I thought I was fine, the dog was fenced off,” she said. “It was just that it came up on the gate and bit me in the back. I backed up toward the gate and didn’t realize I got too close to it.”
Nokleby said the bite broke her skin and caused some minor pain.
“It broke the skin, but it wasn’t like a puncture,” she said. “It went through my sweater.
“It bruised and it didn’t feel great but it wasn’t anything to be too concerned about.”
Nokleby said the incident was enough for city bylaw to come investigate after she sought medical treatment for her bite.
“One thing I did learn was that if you are bit by a dog, it triggers bylaw,” she said, explaining it was the hospital, not her, that called the city.
“We had to do some damage control there that we weren’t siccing bylaw (on the couple). It was just that I thought I better get it looked at and so that sent bylaw to their house.”
Nokleby said she understood the couple had a recent newborn and the dog was being protective following the baby’s birth.
She added that the parents felt terrible about the incident.
Dana Martin, a director with the NWT SPCA, said it shouldn’t be a surprise that anyone canvassing door-to-door, like a candidate for elected office or a postal worker, should take precautions when approaching homes.
“I think people in general when knocking on a door or a place of business or property, they don’t think there might be an animal on the property or they don’t think an animal is a danger because it is living with someone,” said Martin.
“In that environment, however, it is a bad assumption because not every dog is friendly with strangers and not every person is friendly with strangers. A candidate running for office is at risk when canvassing, I think especially, because they are not thinking about the animal. They’re thinking of their platform or what they are going to say or how the two will interact and not ‘oh there is a dog.'”
Martin said campaigners or canvassers should be wary of whether there is a dog in the yard standing between the visitor and the door and should never enter a home without being invited in.
She said a visitor should also ask the homeowner to hold the dog if the host hasn’t taken control of the situation.