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Iqaluit Humane Society begins fundraising for new shelter

The Iqaluit Human Society is under the gun to find a new home before their lease with the city is up next September.

photo courtesy of Iqaluit Humane Society
The Iqaluit Humane Society has began a massive fundraising campaign as it looks for a new home before its lease with the city is up next September. In addition to a GoFundMe campaign, the society has also applied for the prestigious Arctic Inspiration Prize.

The society has been in the same city-owned building since it started in 2007. Earlier this year it was discovered there hadn’t been a formal lease issued for the space since 2010, leading the society and the city to strike a temporary deal.

However, around the same time the city also informed the humane society that the building was going to have to be torn down because it has been condemned. Janelle Kennedy, president of the Iqaluit Humane Society, said they have been given until September to find a new location.

“I don’t think they have plan yet,” said Kennedy “What we know right now is the building needs to be torn down which means we need to find somewhere.”

Kennedy added their agreement with the city also “has clauses that would ask us to leave the premises earlier given x, y, and z.” However she said the city is committed to helping the society come up with a solution for a new location.

“That is something the city has assured they would look into,” she said. “We don’t want to wait and see because that could be detrimental. We don’t want to find out in September that we have nowhere to go.”

One restriction causing a hiccup in finding property is the M1 zoning requirement, which allows for the boarding of animals.

“It’s possible there are businesses in town that occupy M1 land and have a slice they don’t need, but no real leads just yet,” Kennedy said.

In 2019, the society rescued and rehabilitated about 600 dogs from the territory. One channel Nunavut’s only animal shelter is hoping to pursue for funding is the Arctic Inspiration Prize. The society recently received a letter of support from city council for the annual competition.

“Nobody buys a lottery ticket assuming they’re going to win, so we’re not just waiting for the decision,” Kennedy said.

“If we get the prize money then we’re closer to our goal. If we don’t get it we’re further from our goal.”

Their pitch for the prize is not just a band-aid solution to keep the society afloat. Rather, it is an expansive business plan to transform it from a simple animal shelter into a holistic business offering services such as grooming, training, boarding, and educational opportunities for school groups.

Kennedy said the society, which they are hoping to rename the Nunavut Animal Rescue and Wellness Centre, would also like to ramp up its collaborations with corrections and victim services to use dogs for rehabilitation and overcoming trauma.

“We have a much bigger vision for the shelter than taking city dogs in and rehoming them.”

The application also requests funding to hire three full time Inuit staff, including an Inuit knowledge and education specialist, a full-time shelter manager, and another shelter worker.

Kennedy knows the AIP isn’t a sure thing, which is why the society has also launched a ‘Million Dollar Mission’ GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the shelter.

As of press time 107 people had raised $10,400 of the $1-million goal.

“We survive month to month,” she said. “I never know from one month to the next if we’ll make it work.”