The North has a dog problem. The dog problem stems from an attitude problem towards dogs.

The saddest part about the problem is that the suffering dogs experience as a result of the problem is completely avoidable.

Dogs are very lovely companion animals but also useful hunting animals. Above all, they are beings deserving of a level of respect.

When municipal constable Matt Hogan told me that on average, 175 dogs go through Inuvik’s dog pound every year – and that 80 per cent are never claimed by their owners – I could see we don’t have the right attitude towards or respect for dogs.

Nearly every day, I see stray dogs around town, or pictures of stray dogs posted on Facebook groups.

Strays are a huge burden on the Town of Inuvik and it puts the dogs in extremely sad and stressful situations.

There are some situations where it is understandable that one might have to give up their dog. Maybe they became too ill to care for it, or maybe they had a child born with an allergy to dogs. But when 80 per cent of dogs that go through Inuvik’s pound are never reclaimed by their owners, it’s hard to believe that everyone is in such a dire situation when they lose or decide to give up their dog.

In a perfect world, dog pounds and shelters would only have to re-home the dogs whose owners were in such dire situations. Accidents happen, poor choices are made, and that’s how the Inuvik dog pound ended up being full for much of October.

Time for an attitude adjustment. Dogs are not disposable objects – they are a real responsibility that requires money, time, care and attention.

Vaccinations, spays and neuters need to been seen as necessities – not options – for the long-term investment in the health of one’s pet.

I commend Hogan’s work in his tireless care for the dogs of the Inuvik dog pound.

I hope that as these issues continue to be brought to the forefront of our minds, the attitude towards dogs, and subsequently their treatment, improves.

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