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‘Horrific’: Animal Services rescues 68 dogs from Winnipeg home

The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) went from having 29 dogs to nearly 100 overnight, after a major animal seizure from a Winnipeg home.

Early Wednesday morning, Winnipeg police called animal services to a home in the Richmond West neighbourhood, where 68 dogs were rescued from reportedly horrific conditions.

According to the WHS, it’s the largest seizure in the province’s history — and was happened upon by what seems like chance.

“Police were on site regarding another issue and discovered this condition,” said Leland Gordon, general manager of animal services with the City of Winnipeg. Police confirmed it was a well-being check in the 100 block of Brentlawn Boulevard.

“There was a horrific stench of urine, feces, (with) lots of puppies in there,” Gordon said, adding responding animal services officers wore hazmat-type suits to rescue the dogs, which Gordon said had gone through trauma.

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“These dogs have severe mats, they have eye issues, all different types of issues that we’ve seen. I mean this just happened, and we’re processing these dogs today,” he said. “It’s just very sad, the general conditions. Just unacceptable and horrific for animals, let alone people, to be living in conditions like this.”

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Despite this, he said many of the animals are “happy-go-lucky.”

The WHS said it is working with animal services to provide medical care for the dogs and arrange boarding.

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While this is an extreme case, officials say a lack of spaying and neutering is an issue all too common in the province. Gordon said it’s causing animal shelters to become overwhelmed.

“This is not animal services fault or the humane society’s fault,” he said. “This is the community’s fault. Almost every single dog that comes into animal services is not spayed and neutered. Almost every dog isn’t licensed, and when we talk to people about spaying and neutering, almost every person doesn’t want to spay and neuter their pets.”

These conditions have left the humane society overwhelmed, WHS said.

“Overpopulation is a hug issue, our shelter is absolutely full to the max,” said Jessica Miller, CEO of the humane society. “Where are we going to put all the animals? We don’t know.”

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“We as Manitobans need to do more to be responsible pet owners and be proactive,” Gordon said. “What that means is we need more people spaying and neutering their pets, vaccinating their pets, putting licenses on their dogs and cats.”

In response, WHS are asking the public not to call the society inquiring about the dogs and are also asking for support, as processing this many dogs is expected to cost them about $150,000.

“We have an emergency fund set up on our website,” Miller said.

In Manitoba, animal cruelty falls under the provincial animal care act, which Gordon expects the province to act on. He said on the local level, animal services will enact the responsible pet ownership bylaw “to the fullest extent possible.”

Under that bylaw, “We have the ability to restrict ownership either temporarily or permanently,” Gordon said. “The idea is to protect animals and the people in our community.”

He said, “a law in Winnipeg is you’re only allowed to have four dogs if you have two cats.”

— with files from Global’s Marney Blunt

Click to play video: 'Battlefords Humane Society looking for help after big dog seizure in rural Sask.'

Battlefords Humane Society looking for help after big dog seizure in rural Sask.

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