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Akunnirmiut Nunavut Quest, Pt. 2
Sleds, Dogs and Nitrate Film
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CAAT 2012 Baker Lake Animal Wellness Clinic
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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.
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In Iqaluit, Aru tells Eric Mc-Nair Landry, “I ain’t no lap dog!”
In an October 10, 2012 Nunatsiaq News story, an Iqaluit, Nunavut resident and owner of an Inuit Dog team asked the city council to work with the dozen or so dog team owners in the town. Citing the cultural and economic significance of Inuit Dogs to this northern community, where most of the teams owned are traditional Inuit Dogs, team owner Andrew Maher is seeking council support to develop a plan to “protect this very important breed”, including addressing the issue of genetic contamination by stray dogs.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s CBC News/North reported on this issue in a November 28th online story. During her interview, renown polar traveler Matty McNair explained that Iqaluit’s dog team owners are asking the city to construct a fenced off area big enough to contain ten to fifteen picketed teams. The entire article can be read here. A fenced-in compound would offer safety in many ways. Teams would be protected from predation by wolves and intrusion by non-indigenous and intact (not spayed or castrated) dogs driven to mate with the pure Inuit Dogs. There would be a reduction of exposure to diseases from both wolves and dogs. A secured area would discourage and hopefully eliminate vandalism and the malicious release of dogs from their picket lines. And a fence should prevent unsupervised children from wandering within reach of picketed dogs.
Also on November 29th the CBC story was picked up by a Native American internet news resource, the Anchorage Daily News as well as the Los Angeles (California, USA) Times where a video (a CBC story featuring Matty McNair and including a translated statement by Inuk Joshua Kango) was posted on the Times website.
Also on November 29th, The Fan Hitch received an email from Iqaluit’s Director of Planning and Development who said, “At this time, I can say that the City and the sled dog owners will continue our meetings to explore what partnerships can be formed.”
On October 11, another dog-related article was published in Nunatsiaq News. Although Cambridge Bay’s city council was said to be motivated by the October 9th Iqaluit City Council discussion on preserving the Inuit Sled Dog, this western Nunavut community’s concern about contamination of Inuit Dogs related more to the resulting mixed breeds’ inability to endure in the out of doors in savage winter conditions. In the past the Chinook Project brought their wellness clinic to Cam Bay. “Diamonds in the Ruff”, a group of folks in Cam Bay dedicated to improving the lives of their community’s dogs in the absence of permanent, local veterinary coverage, continues to seek visiting programs to offer spay, castration and vaccination services.