NWT SPCA Northern Community Animal Shelter

  • Submitted by:

    Nicole Spencer




    Yellowknife, NT

  • Idea Created:

    October 1, 2010

    Community Size:



“It’s a frigid November 16th in 2010 when I get a call from a teacher in a small community outside of Yellowknife. She says there are about 10 pups that will be shot by the town office in the next 24 hours. She desperately asks us if there is any place for them at the local vet. There isn’t and without our own shelter, there is little we can do. After a few calls and emails between our Board Members, we decide to tell her to bring them in. She arrives the next night. It’s an hour drive on a snow covered, Bison ridden highway. We are waiting with crates and blankets and have a few people ready to take them into their homes temporarily. The teacher is upset. She could only find 8. The others were nowhere to be found -probably hiding underneath a building trying to get warm. They likely won’t survive the night and if they do they will be shot by the town office in the near future. The puppies arrive. They are covered in feces, urine and vomit, stressed from their ride and in shock. They range from 6 to 10 weeks old, husky, black lab, shepherd looking pups that are adorable and innocent. I call them "northern specials". Just thinking that the next day they would have a bullet in their head makes me sick. This is our reality.”

Who we are: The NWT SPCA is a Board of volunteers that raises money and creates awareness in the city of Yellowknife and in the communities of the Northwest Territories. It is our mandate to assist the entire Territory with pet related issues. We strive to promote proper pet care through education programs and regular interaction with the community. Currently, the majority of the money we raise is funneled into spay/neuter programs, medical fund, pet food and the pet adoption programs. Often times, we are the only resource that stands between community pets and death.

The Problem: The NWT SPCA does not have a shelter. Animal neglect and abuse is unfortunately a very real and pressing issue in the North. All too often, unwanted pets are abandoned in the extreme climates of our northern communities to suffer and die horrific deaths. The shooting of stray dogs to curb the overpopulation is an reality in these communities. Due to a lack of adequate facilities to help counter these great injustices, disease and free roaming dogs are a huge health and safety issue. We get several calls every month from concerned citizens all over the NWT, looking for help. They see starving, abandoned and freezing dogs in their communities and have little to no means with which to help. Without a Shelter, we cannot provide an effective solution.

Our Solution: The Northwest Territories urgently needs an animal shelter that can adequately house and care for neglected and abandoned pets from across the North. It is our intention to build an environmentally friendly facility that can comfortably house up to 35 to 40 dogs and 10 cats. Education and community awareness will be an integral component of our Shelter programs. A facility like this will be incredibly instrumental in saving lives of innocent, domestic animals all across the North.

Community Impact:

Youth programs

The NWT SPCA has a number of youth related programs that teach responsibility and dedication through proper pet care and general pet education. Having a shelter would allow us to more effectively reach our youth by incorporating education through school dog walking activities, student scholarship programs, and basic pet care classes. These programs will promote benefits such as; healthy lifestyles, strong leadership skills, compassion, greater self esteem and self confidence.

General community wellbeing

With 40,000 people in the Northwest Territories this Shelter will provide a significant positive impact. Taking strays out of the communities creates a safer living environment for both residents and the animals. More effective spay/neuter program will help prevent pet overpopulation. This will decrease the spread of diseases and the threat of dogs attacking residents. Increased positive community involvement, fewer cases of abuse and neglect and healthy owner/pet relationships are just a few of the benefits of more effectively spreading awareness and promoting proper pet care.

Environmental Impact: The NWT SPCA intends to build an eco-friendly faciltiy. Our goal is to build an affordable, energy efficient shelter that produces the least possible carbon footprint. This will be beneficial to local residents, animals and our environment. To run the shelter we plan on having an energy effecient washer/dryer, solar panels for energy storage and usage (taking advantage of the abundant of sunlight here in the north), a energy effecient air circulation system, recycle towels, blankets and toys, and take advantage of all donations which may include computer, food, cleaning supplies etc.