Behchoko lagoon a dumping ground for dead dogs

An area outside Behchoko, N.W.T. has become a dumping ground for dead dogs, but the SPCA says there’s no reason the animals couldn’t have gone to a shelter.
On Monday, the CBC located the remains of about 10 dogs just outside of Behchoko, N.W.T. along with pieces of fur and bullet casings. The SPCA in Yellowknife says they could have found homes for the animals. (Curtis Mandeville/CBC)

An area outside Behchoko, N.W.T. has become a dumping ground for dead dogs, which the N.W.T. SPCA says could have gone to a shelter.  

Residents complained to the organization about dead dogs left in a lagoon in Behchoko.

On Monday, CBC located the remains of about 10 animals just outside the community, along with pieces of fur and bullet casings.

It's a sight Dana Martin finds hard to stomach. She runs the SPCA program that connects unwanted dogs with foster homes.

"There are options,” she says. “With Behchoko especially. We're an hour down the road. If there's a dog problem or there's dogs that need to be relocated, the SPCA is here, Great Slave animal hospital is here."

“We could have taken each of those dogs,” Martin says, and “either housed them at our shelter here or put the word out for foster homes in Yellowknife or checked into our network of southern rescues."

Under the territory's Dog Act, bylaw or police officers may authorize killing dogs that are a danger to the public. They’re also allowed to destroy a dog if they’re unable to sell or give it away.

RCMP say they’ve investigated and found the dogs in Behchoko were killed in the most humane way possible.

But one woman says their family dog went missing, and they found it tethered at the lagoon — alive.

Martin says the animals shouldn't be left to suffer.

"How long are they out there before someone gets around to shooting them?” she asks.

“That bothers me. Because now they're at risk: that's a live animal as bait, really. That's disturbing to me."

Martin hopes communities, including Behchoko, continue to take unwanted dogs to the SPCA.

Behchoko's chief was unavailable to comment.