People in Fort Providence used to walk around the hamlet holding sticks in case loose dogs chased them.
Now, one week since the appointment of an official dog catcher, some are instead walking with dogs on leashes – which Mayor Danny Beaulieu says he has never previously seen in the community.
Fort Providence councillors plan to have a dog pound built once the snow melts. For now, ‘impounded’ dogs are rooming at Beaulieu’s sled dog kennel.
“They have a lot of company,” said the mayor, who is a well-known dog musher.
A volunteer posts photos of captured dogs on the community’s Facebook bulletin board so people know to come collect them.
If loose dogs are not claimed – it costs $50 to bail out a dog – then, after a week, they are sent to the NWT SPCA in Yellowknife for re-homing.
The new dog catcher started on Monday.
He spent his first day driving around the hamlet, warning people he was about to start collecting stray dogs.
He then set live traps outside Deh Gáh School and the Northern Store – understood to be the main hangout spots for loose dogs in town.
By Tuesday morning, most dogs were tied up. However, the dog catcher had still caught five dogs by Friday evening.
“The dog catcher is out all weekend too,” cautioned Beaulieu.
As of Friday, two dogs had been bailed out. Two were still at the makeshift pound. One had escaped.
“They call him ‘The Legend,’” said Beaulieu.
“He got away from us. He tore through the fence and released himself.”
The Legend is 10 years old and walks with a limp. He slipped his collar to get away.
Above left: Believed last known image of dog known only as The Legend.
Above right: Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance, for reference.
“He went home … he didn’t have to pay,” Beaulieu laughed.
Less than a week after the dog catcher started, the mayor has already noted a difference in the town.
“It’s really nice in town now. You hardly see any dogs around,” he said.
“People value keeping their dogs.”