Kyle McKinnon picked up his Boston terrier, Chet, from a kennel outside of Whitehorse and was immediately concerned.
"Her bed was covered in feces, blood and urine, and she cowered in the corner," McKinnon said.
McKinnon tried to find out what happened. He talked to a kennel employee, and the owner, but they said they didn't know what was wrong.
"They even tried to turn my words around to make it seem like I did something wrong," McKinnon said.
It took Chet a few days to return to her normal, playful self. In that time, McKinnon called the RCMP, Whitehorse city bylaw, and the Yukon government.
McKinnon doesn't want to point any fingers or get anyone in trouble; he just wants to know what happened to Chet, and why. He said this is the second time he's dropped off his dog at this kennel; the first time his experience was good.
Now, he's discovering that there's no one to hold the kennel to account.
RCMP, city won't investigate
McKinnon said he learned the RCMP doesn't investigate such cases, and the kennel was outside of the city, so bylaw couldn't help either. The person he spoke with at the government didn't help.
Finally, he called the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.
The shelter gets calls like McKinnon's all the time, but there's nothing it can do since there's no law that regulates boarding kennels in the territory, explained Dan Moore, the shelter's executive director.
Yukon's laws around kennels are antiquated, Moore told CBC. Other places in Canada have an SPCA and an inspection officer.
"They can go out and talk to the owners, do a visual inspection and see what's going on."
'We don't need to regulate everything'
The Yukon's boarding kennels are just like any other business, said Mary Vanderkop, the territory's chief veterinary officer. Some of them are operated out of homes, she said.
Vanderkop said that if someone is worried their pet was mistreated, they can call the Yukon's animal safety officer. He can investigate complaints, but Vanderkop said it's really hard to investigate something after it's happened.
There's no way a boarding kennel can be checked up on, said Vanderkop. "There are no regulations that stipulate standards which need to be met."
Vanderkop said the Yukon government keeps red tape to a minimum.
"There is a degree of expectation that people will work with each other civilly so that we don't need to regulate things," she said. "We don't need to regulate everything."
Vanderkop said that if people can't work out things with a frank discussion, they can always take the matter to court.
Kyle McKinnon was dissatisfied with the discussion he had with the kennel owner, but he said he doesn't want to pursue litigation.
"All I want is to know what happened to my dog," he said.
McKinnon said that the next time he goes away, Chet will stay with a friend.