Petition calls on Arviat dog rescuer to cease and desist

In Arviat, Nunavut, 200 people have signed a petition asking one woman to stop rescuing dogs that she says are malnourished and mistreated, and that some of their owners say were illegally seized.

A woman's attempts to save malnourished and mistreated loose dogs has sparked controversy in Arviat, Nunavut, as some dog owners says those animals were actually illegally seized. 

In Nunavut communities like Arviat, dogs are tied up, or loose, all over town.

Animal lovers like Tasha Kaulback were concerned with what they considered to be animal neglect and cruelty. She said she approached the RCMP and the hamlet to do something about it.

"We're frustrated with it, but on the other hand if we make a big deal it will impact my position in the community."

Kaulback has fostered many thin and sick-looking pets. In Arviat, one dog was found frozen to the ground and couldn't stand up, another dog's owner only fed it three tablespoons of dog food a day.

But from some residents' perspective, Kaulback is stealing these dogs.

Kaulback said last week she received a letter from the hamlet, along with a petition, signed by 200 citizens. The petition complains of illegal dog seizures, stating: "In our opinion, there are only two bodies in this community that hold the power of seizure ... the RCMP and the Hamlet Bylaw officers ... Let these people do their jobs as defined by the territorial and hamlet law."

Kaulback said she's being reprimanded for trying to help. She said the alternative is Arviat's dog pound, but those animals usually end up being killed at the dump.

"My husband attempted to talk to the bylaw officers and ask them if they would please choose us over shooting or killing the dogs and they said no," she said.

Arviat Mayor Bob Leonard said he agrees with the Kaulbacks that people should be allowed to rescue mistreated dogs.

"I think it started off with the town against these people or these people against the town and I sense there's a softening of positions on both sides that there will come a time to work together," he said.

In the meantime, the Kaulbacks say they will continue to care for animals in need.