Police are investigating after two children saw a man tie a dog to a pick-up truck and drag it down a road in Tulita, N.W.T., after it tried to mate with another dog.

Erik Wolters, 12, and his younger sister witnessed the incident.

"There was a dog who was in heat." said Wolters. 

"One dog was with her. Then the man came and grabbed the dog, tied a rope around its leash, tied it to the back of the truck, and drove away."

Wolters said the man drove down a hill near the centre of Tulita and he hasn't seen the dog since. The dragging occurred on Jan. 9 and he is worried the dog may not have survived.

Wolters and his family moved to Tulita from northern Quebec about six months ago. He said he can identify the truck that dragged the dog, but not the driver.

His father, Dan StJean, reported the incident to RCMP. Police say they are currently attempting to locate the vehicle and driver.

"When the kids told me what they saw, I was floored," said StJean.

Dan StJean and Tulita NWT stray dogs

Dan StJean cares for five stray dogs in Tulita, in addition to his family's three Rottweilers. (CBC)

He said loose dogs have been a problem in each of the three northern communities he's lived in. StJean said this incident could have been prevented if more owners tied up their dogs.

"Dogs have a natural instinct of mating, unless they're fixed," he said. "Then you get more dogs, and they are cute as puppies, but they don't stay puppies, and they end being shot because there are too many in the community."

StJean cares for five stray dogs in Tulita, on top of his family's three Rottweilers. Caring for strays is nothing new for StJean. He did the same thing in Kuujjuarapik and Inukjuak, Que.

StJean has been in touch with the NWT SPCA and is looking for help to fly stray dogs to Yellowknife for adoption, but he has not been able to strike a deal with any of the airlines that service the community.

Meanwhile, Wolters said he feels sad for the dog that was dragged, but said it wasn't the first time he has witnessed dog abuse in the North.

Police say the vehicle was described as a black pick-up with a logo on the side. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Tulita RCMP detachment at 867-588-1111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.