Natuashish chief stops stray dog cull

The chief of Natuashish says he is halting plans to capture and destroy stray dogs in the northern Labrador community.

The chief of Natuashish says he is halting plans to capture and destroy stray dogs in the northern Labrador community.

Officials had decided that, as of Monday, any dogs found roaming in the coastal community would be shot.

The rules were coming into play following a stray dog attack that left a boy, 9, severely injured. The fire chief released a letter that said any dogs off leash would be shot on sight.

Simeon Tshakapesh, the chief of the Innu band council in Natuashish, said something still needs to be done, although the community is now changing its plans.

"There's also a very concern of public safety, for young children, but now the dogs are not going to be destroyed," he said.

Recent estimates list about 300 roaming dogs in Natuashish.

Tshakapesh said about 50 of those stray dogs have become a danger in the community.

Bonnie Learning, the vice-president of the SPCA in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, said the organization is working with the band council on a plan to find foster homes for the dogs until they can be shipped out of Labrador.

"We're going to work on our end to get as many fosters as we can in Goose Bay and [elsewhere], and then after that part, we've got other people in the Halifax end and other places working on their end to try and find fosters in the area, so we can try and get the animals out as quickly as possible," she said.

Learning said the next step will be to find a long-term solution.

She said the SPCA will continue to work with the band council to get the dogs spayed or neutered, and to keep them tied up or inside, so the dogs will no longer roam the streets of Natuashish.