North

Town of Inuvik warns residents to be careful after lynx attacks dog

Town officials in Inuvik, N.W.T., are warning people to be careful when using the trails around Boot Lake, after a lynx attacked a dog there on Thursday afternoon.

Dog treated for injuries following attack near Boot Lake trail

A Canada lynx heads into the Rio Grande National Forest after being released near Creede, Colo., in this 2005 file photo. Officials in Inuvik, N.W.T., are asking residents to be careful around the Boot Lake trail, following a lynx attack on a dog. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

Town officials in Inuvik, N.W.T., are warning people to be careful when using the trails around Boot Lake, after a lynx attacked a dog there on Thursday.

The small dog was on an off-leash walk with its owner in the woods, off to the right of the trail, shortly after noon Thursday when the lynx attacked it, explained Cynthia Hammond, the Town of Inuvik's director of protective services.

"At first, the woman thought her dog was in an altercation with another dog, until she got closer and observed it was an adolescent-sized lynx," Hammond said.

After the attack, the owner brought the dog back to town for emergency care. Although the only resident veterinarian in Inuvik had moved away earlier this month, the pet owner was able to treat the dog with the help of other community members, Hammond said.

This lynx was spotted in the area after the attack. The City of Inuvik has confirmed it's the same animal.

This lynx, spotted in Inuvik, is believed to be the same animal that attacked a dog in the vicinity just hours earlier. 0:15

Since the attack, officers with the Northwest Territories' Department of Environment and Natural Resources spotted the lynx twice near the Boot Lake area but have not yet captured it, Joslyn Oosenbrug, a spokesperson for the department, wrote in an email to CBC News.

Oosenbrug asked residents not to set traps or snares due to the risk to off-leash dogs.

It does not appear there is a danger to people, as the lynx appears to be avoiding human interaction — despite its aggressive behaviour toward animals, Oosenbrug said.

As for the lynx population, sightings are not uncommon throughout the Northwest Territories and it's expected their population will peak in 2020, she said.

Both the Town of Inuvik and the Environment Department are reminding residents to report emergency or wildlife encounters to their local ENR office at 867-678-0289.

With files from Mackenzie Scott