Leasing and liability concerns pertaining to Iqaluit Humane Society were discussed by the councillors during a special City Council meeting on August 18.

Mayor Kenny Bell said he recently became aware that IHS does not currently hold a lease agreement with the city. “They’re there on our city property for free,” he explained.

“They haven’t had a lease since at least 2010,” said Bell, adding the exception was in 2012 for one year.

The mayor said this “historic problem” worries him for liability issues.

IHS has been in operation since 2007 and is run by Janelle Grace Kennedy. As Nunavut’s only animal shelter, the organization has been providing services for all communities in the territory.

When asked whether IHS would have the ability to pay rent, Kennedy said, “We run on donations.” It would ultimately depend on the amount of rent required. She added the rent money would have to be collected through fundraising.

Princess has not hurt any animal or human since 2018, says Janelle Grace Kennedy, the founder of the Iqaluit Humane Society. Photo courtesy of Janelle Grace Kennedy

Dangerous dogs are liabilities
Besides the lease agreement issue, the city lawyers have informed the council it is a liability to have a “dangerous” dog on city property.

Since October 2018, the IHS has been taking care of a dog named Princess, who has been designated as a “dangerous” dog by the Nunavut Court of Justice. Prior to being placed in the shelter, Princess had killed two dogs and attacked a human.

“We definitely want the dog gone from the city building,” said the mayor.

He added, “Sadly, removing the dog from the pound is likely sending it to its death.”

Kennedy, who was unaware that Princess had attacked a human, said the IHS will “fully co-operate” by removing the dog from the property and finding her a “proper setup.”

However, Councillor Sheila Flaherty believes dangerous dogs should be euthanized. “That’s the most humane thing to do,” she said.

Iqaluit City Council has plans to tear down the Iqaluit Humane Society building “relatively soon,” says Mayor Kenny Bell. photo courtesy of Janelle Grace Kennedy

IHS building to be torn down
The mayor said the animal shelter is going to be torn down “relatively soon.”

Councillor Kyle Sheppard added, an agreement needs to be immediately put in place to satisfy liability concerns since the building is going to be coming down soon.

“I hope IHS does make plans … so they can operate in some form when that does occur,” added Sheppard.

Kennedy said, “In the short term, if we were removed from the property, we would have nowhere to go, and neither would our animals.” The closure of the shelter would also mean laying off all the staff – 80 per cent of whom are Inuit, she added.

The one-hour meeting concluded with Deputy Mayor Janet Brewster making a motion for the city staff to work with IHS in order to establish a memorandum of understanding between the two parties. As well, to establish a one-year lease between the City of Iqaluit and IHS for the property the animal shelter is currently occupying.

Join the Conversation


  1. She was unwanted, the forgotten, yet beautiful pet that all she needs is more time to find a loving home. This is senseless, unfair, and tragic. There is no excuse that they are wanting murdering healthy, previously owned, neglected dog, or highly adaptable.

  2. And, of course, the mayor doesn’t tell anyone what these “liability issues” are.
    Just seems like more personally motivated petty politics from the new Mayor.
    He could use some empathy.

  3. Is there any proof of “ Princess had killed two dogs and attacked a human“..? I think sending the dog to its death is one terrible idea… Euthanasia should not be the only option here

  4. Sheltering lowers the instance of animal attacks that would otherwise happen if all strays roamed free, while providing the animals with food and shelter. To help cut down on the number of unwanted strays, animal shelters have strict policies on spaying and neutering pets for any potential owners! Please support the only animal shelter in this city

  5. What kind of a council is this? Don’t they realize that the Humane Society is doing a service for the city by taking in strays? Liability? You can get around this….charge $1.00 rent to make it legal. They should be supporting this group not trying to destroy them!

  6. We don’t know what Princess’ story was. Was she the attacker, or was she defending herself? I’ve seen numerous instances of “dog attacks” in our community where the dog is simply defending itself from a human that is hitting/hurting it, or where the dog has given numerous warning signs but the human refuses to take the hint. The dog isn’t always at fault, and humans aren’t always innocent.

  7. The dog was deemed by the Court system to be dangerous. It killed two dogs and mauled a family member. None of the staff of the humane society have training to rehabilitate a dog like this. With the exception of a few full time staff they are ran by volunteers. If this dog was to harm someone on city property, they could be sued for it. There is no lease, no type of agreement at all between the society and the city. Do they even legally qualify as a charity? If they can’t do their taxes, and paperwork for 10 years, then why attack the staff of the city who are trying to rectify this situation? 10 years is a long time to let this go, volunteer or not get your organization organized or get someone involved who can.

    1. Hi Sany,

      Please do a bit of research before posting misleading comments.

      If you do a quick search on Canada Revenue Agency charity listing it clearly says they are a registered charity.

      Also you stated their records have not been updated for 10 years. This is completely false information as the only reference to 10 years is that they haven’t had a lease since atleast 2010. This does not mean their records haven’t been done since then. This just means the City administration hasn’t addressed the lease issue.

      I remember seeing a notice for their 2018 AGM which would mean their records are updated to at least that point.

      1. I did my research thanks. How about you do yours? The number of complaints about the shelter is equal to the positive comments. The amount of dogs sent south with owners that the shelter alleges they never had. Qallunaut priviledge all over this story. No other charity gets free everything. They rely on funding, millions from the GN. No one talks about how the society ran up all kinds of bills with our only vet, then complained and slandered the vet when payment was due.
        Princess should have been euthanized. I do not want my children mauled by a dog you bleeding hearts feel is gentle and kind.

        1. Are you an owner that did not pick up your dog but started to complain to facebook? The facts are that dog was picked up stray (wandering the community) by Iqaluit Bylaw and taken to Iqaluit Humane Society. Normal holds in SPCA’s and Humane Societies in Canada is 3-5 days and then they are put up for adoption. IHS kept him much longer than that.. No one came to pick him up.Unfortunately no shelter can keep dogs for an undetermined length of time without trying to find homes for them. End of story. Please stop complaining and start studying and get the facts right. Thanks.

          1. None of you can read clearly, or hear things. The meeting is available for anyone to hear online. The building is being torn down next summer. The issues with the society came to light because of this. There should be zero tolerance for court deemed dangerous dogs, that is an entirely different issue. So many people all worked up over a building being torn down. It is not the municipalities mandate to provide free services, and a building to them. This entire mess could have been avoided. How it continued for so long is typical of the North.
            You do realize that out of the 25 communities Iqaluit is the only one who doesn’t shoot dogs that are loose and dangerous? Of all the problems with society in Nunavut, this one is minor.
            None of the shelters for HUMANS get free buildings to operate from. If only half the people calling foul on this cared half as much about the homeless in this community as they do for the dogs….

    2. Is this really happening?omg
      If city or kenny bell knows their role in serious manner, they should consider other alternatives than making this poor opinions and decisions. And the city could look into these as well.

      I guess I should give better explainations as I know by now that sooner or later you’ll show up and disagree with me, ha ha. 🙂

  8. Bell, if you do have that much of time to make this poor decisions, please just get out there and help out to actually know where iqaluit is at and why shelter is needed and what really shelter is for. Shelter is to protect dog to stay until they get found by an owner or adopted. Together we can make a change.   Their lives matter.  Every animal deserves a chance to get their forever home.  Some may take longer than others, but there should not be a time limit on life.


    Canine overpopulation arises when uncontrolled breeding of dogs and irresponsible ownership act together. Dogs are promiscuous species by nature and since not a well defined seasonality occurs in this species, are ready to mate all through the year. Owners frequently claim their rights to own a dog but may be reluctant to take care of their responsibilities. If no laws to regulate dog ownership exist or if they exists but are not reinforced, the imminent consequence will be a surplus of the species ending on the streets or shelters.

    Strategies to control the overpopulation of free-roaming dogs include enforcement of law, education of owners and sterilization of pets.

    Recommended control measures for dog rabies control include movement restriction, reproduction control, habitat control and removal of straying dogs.

  10. I support councils decision. The board has been racist towards Inuk community members trying to adopt dogs. Not returning calls, for months. They claim 80% inuit employement, yet their staff are teenagers working when not in school. Convenient way to skew the numbers.

    1. Turning unwanted animals loose to roam the streets is not a humane option. If they don’t starve, freeze, get hit by a car, or die of disease, they may be tormented and possibly killed by cruel juveniles or picked up by dealers. Which is very inhumane and this is reason why Iqaluit Humane Society.
      Until dog and cat overpopulation is brought under control through spaying and neutering in Iqaluit or Nunavut in general, we must prevent the suffering of unwanted animals in the most responsible and humane way not euthanizing dog right away because of your perception or peoples opinions without any single evidence.
      With that said, City, please consider getting a second opinion if you are in doubt instead of making this such unacceptable solution.

  11. Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse, animal neglect or animal cruelty, is the infliction by omission (neglect) or by commission by humans of suffering or harm upon any non-human. This happens all the time in Iqaluit. Many animal is getting abused and surrenderd constantly. There was two dog death in Iqaluit just cause. and this is reason why Iqaluit Humane Society is needed. On the flip side, has by-laws came with plans as of yet? if not, they should stop harrasing Humane society but suppoting because Humane society has been also providing services to community on their behalf. And, whatever the method used it should be based on ethical standpoints and/or practical experiences not the perception. eg. “The board has been racist towards Inuk community members trying to adopt dogs. Not returning calls, for months. “

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