Stray dog population remains high in area

by Derek Cornet

Municipalities in the Northwest have taken action against dogs roaming the streets.

Green Lake and Loon Lake are among the communities where dogs have already been collected and destroyed. On Feb. 25, residents of Green Lake were given the opportunity to surrender any dogs they believed to be homeless to village officials while, in January, dog catchers in Loon Lake rounded up more than a dozen canines.

“I don’t know if they’re being dropped off or if it’s community members not taking care of their pets,” Green Lake administrator Tina Rasmussen said. “It’s a reoccurring issue.”

The village makes a call for residents to surrender dogs at least twice a year. A temporary pen is built in a heated garage to house them, but most dogs are destroyed. Acquiring the assistance of a humane society also isn’t possible because the groups lack the resources to help.

Officials from Green Lake and Loon Lake contacted the Meadow Lake and District Humane Society (MLDHS) to accept the dogs, but only a couple were taken due to a shortage of space. Rasmussen said it’s an unfortunate situation for dogs to be destroyed, but it’s the only solution available to the village.

“It’s probably better they’re not with us any longer if they’re running loose and have nobody to care for them,” Rasmussen said.

Loon Lake mayor Larry Heon said his village has to enforce its municipal bylaws and noted any dogs picked up were documented. Photos were placed on Facebook and residents could have called the village office for more information. Heon noted destroying the dogs isn’t the best way to solve the problem, but added a potential dog attack is a reality.

“Some of these dogs, when you look at them, they’re really hungry and skinny and that sends up red flags,” Heon said.

Heon also noted the stray dog problem isn’t new. He searched through the village’s records and found, since the 1960s, councillors have repeatedly raised the issue. Last year, in an effort have more people register their pets, fines were sent to dog owners to encourage them to renew their dog licences.

The topic of dangerous dogs was also breached at a recent North of Divide Community Association regular meeting. Heon requested the group lobby the government to help deal with the problem. Members also discussed the possibility of hiring a special constable to do the job.

In 2014, the MLDHS took in 190 dogs with 80 of them coming from Meadow Lake, 21 from Flying Dust First Nation and 16 from the RM of Meadow Lake. The organization also accepted 150 cats.

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