One thing I love about Inuvik is that there is always at least one dog at any given party I go to, if not two or three.

I always see people walking their dogs on Boot Lake Trail and around town.

There was an impressive turnout for the dog sled race last weekend, which was the first race at the Muskrat Jamboree in two years.

And this weekend, an Aklavik resident brought an absolutely beautiful white Samoyed dog to the Mad Trapper Rendezvous on Saturday. Without a doubt, the dog stole the show from the games down at the river.

People here love dogs.

But, as Const. TJ Moore told me this week, dogs at large are a common issue in Inuvik, and in the North in general, and this is nothing new.

This is my first time in the North, and I’ve never witnessed this problem before.

In the last few weeks, as spring has (slowly) started to make its way to the Arctic, I’ve noticed more and more stray dogs wandering around town.
I’ve also heard people talking about dog bites and reports of lost dogs, and, more optimistically, dogs that have been found.
What I’ve learned from talking to people, though, is that issues around dogs are divisive.

Some believe dogs at large should be destroyed immediately because they pose a threat, others think dog officers should make every possible attempt to seize the dog peacefully.

On Facebook, I’ve seen many people angry at “irresponsible” dog owners for dogs at large, but many others will argue that some dogs are just very clever escape artists.

The fact is, according to Const. Moore, if a report is received of a dog at large, and a constable is on duty, they will attempt to locate the dog and seize it, where it will be taken to the dog pound until it is claimed.

However, if an attack is reported and is still in progress, a constable will respond to the incident at any time of day.

Current municipal policy in Inuvik is that constables will make every effort to seize dogs at large through methods of trapping, but if those attempts are unsuccessful, they have the authority to destroy the dog.

According to Const. Moore, Inuvik constables have good success with trapping dogs and getting to them to the pound, and rarely need to destroy dogs.

As a person who loves dogs, I am happy to hear that most dog-at-large cases in Inuvik can be solved peacefully.

While I believe dog owners should make every effort to make sure that their dogs are secure when outside, I know accidents happen. And for that fact alone, I am happy to live in a place where dogs are not destroyed unnecessarily.

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