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Stray dog crack

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Mar 11/05) - The Village of Fort Simpson is warning residents that there will be a crackdown on unlicensed and unleashed dogs in the coming weeks.

The issue was raised Monday night during a village council meeting.

Stray dogs, and their owners, will have to be wary of the dog catcher as the village prepares to crackdown on unlicenced and unleashed pets.

Several councillors said they were dismayed by the number of loose dogs running around Fort Simpson.

"People should not feel held hostage because of the number of loose dogs on the streets," said deputy mayor Dennis Nelner.

Councillor and contract dog catcher Norm Prevost said he will begin rigidly enforcing a bylaw that prohibits unlicensed or unleashed dogs within village limits.

"More has to be done about the situation," Prevost said. "I could go out tomorrow and catch 30 dogs. People don't seem to care about letting them loose."

Prevost said until now he has been exercising discretion when it comes to picking up stray dogs. In the four months he has been a contract-dog catcher, Prevost has collared about 25 animals, 12 of which he has killed.

Under the bylaw, Prevost is allowed to destroy any unlicensed dogs on sight. Registered dogs caught off their leashes are impounded for three days before they can be destroyed, Prevost said.

"I try to re-unite dogs with their owners," said Prevost. "But sometimes I see them loose on the street a few days later."

The former Fort Simpson mayor said stray dogs have been a problem in the village for more than a decade. One village councillor called it "Opie and Mayberry syndrome" referring to the classic Andy Griffith Show.

Prevost estimated only about 10 per cent of the dogs in Fort Simpson were actually registered. He said the crackdown was necessary to protect village residents and ensure diseases aren't spread in the canine population.

There are three contracted dog catchers in the village and one bylaw officer who can collar stray animals. Residents can get information about registering their dogs from the village office.