Iqaluit Humane Society on Million Dollar Mission to Build Permanent Home

By Steve McLean 11/26/20 |

Iqaluit — photo credit: Karen Bliss

A fully volunteer-run organization has launched a “Million Dollar Mission” via GoFundMe to build a new permanent home for the Iqaluit Humane Society (IHS), Nunavut's only animal shelter.

Nunavut puppy — photo credit: Karen Bliss
"We currently are in a small bachelor size apartment," it reads on the fundraising page. "Our new facility would be a self sustaining multi service Nunavut animal rescue and wellness centre."

The city-owned building currently housing the IHS will be demolished in the spring or summer of 2021. If the IHS can’t raise enough funds to secure a new location, there will be no animal services in the nearly two-million-square-kilometre territory in Canada’s Arctic.

More than 2,000 people have donated approximately 20 percent of the IHS’ $1 million goal since Oct. 25. This includes a $60,000 grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless pets.

The IHS is a registered non-profit organization that was officially incorporated in 2007 and issues tax receipts for donations. "Since our creation almost 20 years ago, we have rescued and re-homed over 10,000 animals," it states. Anywhere from 350 to 500 dogs and cats from across Nunavut are rescued and re-homed through the no-kill, non-profit society annually.

The IHS is working with city officials to acquire land on which to construct a new building.

The new self-sustaining facility being proposed for Nunavut’s capital (and only) city would include outdoor pens, indoor housing, a clinic and grooming space. This additional square footage for animal residents would help reduce their stress and assist in infectious disease control.

Nunavut’s communities are fly-in only, which presents such unique challenges as caring for animals in weather that reaches -40 degrees Celsius, coordinating flights south to Ontario to new homes for animals, and bringing in animals from smaller communities.

There’s no full-time or emergency veterinarian in Nunavut, so the IHS’ free vaccine and spay and neuter clinics are vital to animal health and population control efforts. The society also provides educational programs and advocates for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

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