Chukita Gruben of Tuktoyaktuk is calling for changes to a hamlet bylaw after she alleges the
bylaw officer unnecessarily destroyed her dog Friday, Jan. 26.
Gruben said she received a call from an elder on Friday afternoon warning her that the bylaw
officer was looking for a dog. At first, she didn’t think it was her dog, Steel, because she had left
him tied in her yard when she left for work.
When she got home, she realized Steel had broken loose from his tether, and immediately called
the bylaw officer to alert him that it was her dog, but there was no answer. She then went to look
for the two-year-old German shepherd with her father.
Gruben said while they were looking for Steel, she heard gunshots. Soon after, she said she ran
into the bylaw officer who confirmed the hamlet had authorized the destruction of Steel.
Gruben alleges the dog was shot five times.
“It was animal cruelty, is the way I’d put it,” Gruben said. “I’m so disgusted by what happened.”
This is the second dog Gruben has lost to the bylaw in approximately one year. Hades, her other
dog, broke loose from his tether and was also shot before Gruben could find him.
“They were so nice and friendly. A lot of the local community members knew how much I loved
my dogs,” Gruben said. “This bylaw is harming good dog owners.”
The bylaw, which dates back to 1996, states that if an officer finds a dog running loose, they
should “make every reasonable effort to inform the owner of the dog, if the owner is known to
the officer,” and if the officer does not know who the owner is, the officer is authorized to shoot
The bylaw also states that if the bylaw officer receives a complaint from the public regarding a
loose dog, the bylaw officer is to instruct the owner to tether the dog. If the officer gives more
than one warning, the officer may destroy the dog.
“I didn’t get any notification,” Gruben said. “The hamlet has to be held accountable. I deserve
In her letter to the hamlet, Gruben made suggestions to improve the bylaw. She said she
understands the bylaw is necessary to deal with dangerous dogs, but the bylaw officer should put
more effort into avoiding destroying a dog unnecessarily.
Gruben suggests that the bylaw should include a line about loose dogs that are not aggressive.
She says the hamlet should hold these loose dogs for 24 hours before they are destroyed in order
to give their owners a chance to retrieve their pets.
“There’s a pen at the garbage dump where they could hold the dogs,” Gruben said. “It’s better to
find your dog alive in that pen than dead at the dump. They just need to put a little more effort
Gruben said she submitted her letter to the hamlet, and she will be attending the council meeting
on Wednesday, Feb. 7 to discuss her concerns and possible solutions.
“This unnecessary killing led me to lose two perfectly healthy dogs,” Gruben said. “I’m going to
ensure that I walk out of that meeting satisfied.”