North·Photos

3 dogs in N.W.T. treated for too tight collars

Two dogs are recovering at the Great Slave Animal Hospital in Yellowknife after getting surgery to treat wounds from collars that had become embedded in their necks.

Two dogs are recovering at the Great Slave Animal Hospital in Yellowknife after getting surgery to treat wounds from collars that had become embedded in their necks.

The hospital's veterinarian says it's a problem he sees all too often, and it's a sign the territory's Dog Act isn't being enforced.

“We're living in a very special environment,” says Dr. Tom Pisz. “But it’s still Canada. We should consider it our moral obligation to pass the message of how to treat our animals.”

Robi, a Rottweiler mix, was found running loose in Behchoko. He recently had surgery to clean out a wound that was caused by a collar pressed into his skin.

It's a simple adjustment to loosen the strap, but not all dogs have an owner.

“We suspect that he had been an owned dog at one point, and then got loose, and has been roaming since,” says Dana Martin, the vice president of the N.W.T. SPCA. “And of course the collar wasn't adjusted.”

Someone removed Robi's collar before bringing him to the SPCA, but the damage had been done.

“The air doesn't get underneath so the bacteria and stuff kinda builds up and the hair falls out and then if he grows, it becomes really tight,” Martin says. “Then the skin doesn't have a chance to breathe and it becomes a wound.”

A brown and white puppy named Courage had similar wounds when he came to the animal hospital two weeks ago from Ulukhaktok.

A man had called the RCMP to his house to have the dog put down.

The officers found two yellow ropes around the dog's neck were so tight, the skin had grown over. They flew the dog to Yellowknife instead for treatment.

“We've seen it too often,” Dr. Pisz says. “Even one a year is too often, but recently we've had three of them in the last three months.”

Pisz says more needs to be done to enforce territorial laws.

"The bigger problem is the lack of education around taking care of animals."

Pisz says he’s grateful to people who have brought the animals in for treatment instead of shooting them.

One of the RCMP officers in Ulukhaktok has adopted Courage.

But Robi still needs a home.

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