Letter to the Editor

Stop brutalizing dogs Re Ross River’s gone to the dogs (the News, August 1): Dog abuse, dog neglect and dog killings are the norm in many…

Stop brutalizing dogs

Re Ross River’s gone to the dogs (the News, August 1):

Dog abuse, dog neglect and dog killings are the norm in many northern communities.

After reading the article about Ross River’s dogs, I spoke with the RCMP in Ross River.

They claimed they do not round up dogs and kill them systematically, but they do kill dogs when people complain about them.

They say no records are kept on these dog killings, unless a file was started about a particular dog incident. This says to me that not much thought is put into the taking of a dog’s life.

It shows a lack of concern for the lives of these animals. It, frankly, surprises me that the RCMP wouldn’t keep records on all dogs they kill.

The RCMP in Ross River say they kill female dogs in heat when they present a “problem” by inciting jealous fights among horny male dogs (a natural phenomenon).

They said the dog’s owner may in fact request that the RCMP (or someone else) shoot the dog because they don’t want “it” anymore.

What seems clear to me is that they don’t want the responsibility of taking care of that dog anymore.

This is ignorant. They don’t want her anymore because she is no longer a cute puppy?

The RCMP also will shoot “vicious” dogs that might be a threat to other dogs or children.

Whose fault is this situation? Why are people not held accountable for not taking care of their dogs properly? And this does not mean keeping dogs on a chain all their lives, etc.

The RCMP is complicit in cleaning up people’s mess by “disposing” of their unwanted dogs and not addressing the systemic nature of the problem.

They are also showing the community at large that it’s OK not to address the cause of the situation. We need the RCMP to take a leadership role in the communities and bring about positive change, not to maintain the status quo.

The dogs’ owners are teaching children by example that it’s OK to have, use, abandon and kill unwanted animals after the “cute” puppy stage has passed. This will not instill respect and compassion for animals in these children, who are raised to treat animals as if they are just disposable pieces of property.

Children need to be taught that dogs need a lifelong commitment, and should not just be looked at as “cute” puppies, to be  ignored or abandoned after they grow. Adults must lead by example instead of teaching children that it is OK to treat dogs as if they are toys.

Ross River, being an unincorporated community, is not much different than the incorporated communities. Animal neglect is a problem in incorporated communities as well.

Whitehorse just handles it differently by disappearing loose dogs quietly (into the pound, where at least the dogs have a chance at being rescued, because of a mandatory “holding time”).

Irresponsible pet ownership plagues all Yukon communities.

People (and all levels of government) need to recognize that non human animals are sentient beings, and are not our property, to be mistreated or disposed of at our convenience.

Animals need serious laws that the RCMP can enforce in the communities in order to bring about real, lasting change.

If people can’t fulfill their obligations to animals in their care (which include neutering and spaying); they simply do not deserve to have animals. Period!

Mike Grieco


Whitehorse parking follies

Open letter to mayor, city council, bylaw services, and Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce:

As I left for my lunch today, I noticed something fluttering from the hood of my car. As I got closer, it became clear that I had been hit with yet another parking ticket.

In my past two summers up here in Whitehorse, I have been wowed by the scenery, the wonderful people, and the community spirit of this town.

I have also been astounded at the incompetence of the people who have been entrusted with the guidance of this fabulous city.

As I wanted further clarification as to why service workers are being penalized for going to work, I went to the bylaw offices on 4th Ave.

There, I spoke with a rather defensive and repetitive gentleman who insisted that the city has no immediate plans to do anything with or about parking issues.

They refuse to even remove the change meters to give more employee parking, instead citing that employees who work downtown are expected to walk three to four blocks to get to work.

I have no issues with walking a couple blocks to get to work; however, it is my understanding that the winters up here are nothing to sneeze at, which is what most of us will be doing once forced to march everyday through sub arctic temperatures.

I am curious to know where the city expects people to park once the free-parking zones (completely inadequate for the amount of people who need to use them) are full.

I don’t know about anyone else, but constantly asking permission to dash out every two hours to feed a meter or alternatively drive your car around until you see a spot available won’t fly with my bosses.

It seems to me that the city of Whitehorse is attempting to encourage people to come work and live here, however are completely uninterested in accommodating them once actually here.

There has been a serious push to accommodate the tourists, but the people who are actually the heartbeat of the city are disregarded and discarded.

If this city is to continue expanding and growing with its reputation of a great place to live and work intact, serious thought will need to be put into this parking issue.

If going downtown becomes any more of a hassle than it currently is, I suspect people will just stop going. For such a vibrant town, with outstanding community involvement, there seems to be a serious lack of taking the populous into account.

As if to underscore the ridiculousness of this city’s attitude to parking spaces, I had to park illegally to pay my parking fine. There were no more spots available directly beside city hall. So, what that tells me is that the city doesn’t give a toss if I need to go downtown to work; I only count if I buy things.

It doesn’t want me to pay the parking tickets, because it cannot even address their own building’s parking issue.

I find this situation greatly disheartening, as no one involved in city planning, bylaw or city hall seems to give a damn (probably because they are given personal parking space).

I would love to hear back from someone regarding plans to address this issue.

Jessica L. Pumphrey