The death of a four-year-old child following an attack by a dog in Chesterfield Inlet this week has been deemed accidental, Nunavut’s Chief Coroner Padma Surumala said June 9.
A four-year-old girl was mauled to death by a dog in the Kivalliq community midday June 6.
Hamlet staff say the animal was tied up at the time of the attack. The dog has since been destroyed.
Police say they have not pursued a criminal investigation following the incident.
Authorities haven’t shared the circumstances around the June 6 death, except that the young girl died of “sharp and blunt injuries.” A funeral service was planned for the girl June 9. But following her death, and the deaths of other children who have suffered dog attacks, Nunavut’s coroner has made a number of recommendations on how communities can prevent similar attacks.
In a June 9 release, the Office of Nunavut’s Chief Coroner recommended that all dog teams should be kept outside of communities.
Both sled dogs and dogs that are kept as pets in people’s homes should wear muzzles and leashes that are approved by the municipality, the coroner said.
For the safety of the public, the coroner’s office also recommended that dog owners keep their animals in a secure pen, with sides embedded into the ground, to prevent the entry of children.
Other recommendations made by the coroner’s office:
• designated dog teams should be restricted to the public other than the dog team owner and municipal animal control or bylaw officers;
• owners should not allow their animals to “remain unfed or unwanted long enough to amount to cruelty or cause the animal to become a nuisance;”
• children under 10 years of age should not be left unattended during play time;
• community members should instruct children not to tease dog teams;
• municipalities should develop a designated dog team area selection committee to determine where animals should be secured and post signage around that area; and,
• hamlet councils should periodically review their roles and responsibilities when it comes to controlling pets and dog teams.
Animal control bylaws now vary across the territory.
Iqaluit’s city council approved a new by-law last fall to give municipal officers more authority over non-compliant pets and their owners.
The Responsible Pet Bylaw includes new $100 fines for owners who fail to license their pets, and fines between $200 and $1,500 for animals found running loose or attacking or biting residents.