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Province to expand spay and neuter clinics with funds for WHS, Feed the Furbabies Canada

The province is committing $200,000 to expand spay and neuter clinics through the Winnipeg Humane Society and Feed the Furbabies Canada.

In a press release dated March 28, the province announced the Northern and Remote Veterinary Care Initiative. It includes a new position, the provincial veterinarian for animal welfare, who will lead the program.

“Manitoba’s rural, northern and Indigenous communities want to access veterinary services,” said Indigenous Economic Development Minister Ian Bushie in the release. “This additional funding will help increase mobile spay and neutering services to communities that currently do not have access to these important services.”

Earlier this month, 45 animal welfare organizations declared a state of emergency, saying animal population levels were at a crisis point. Feed the Furbabies Canada was one of them. Co-director Melissa Robinson says without spay and neuter services, communities can find themselves with packs of dangerous dogs.

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“They are physically killing each other,” she said. “Tearing each other apart to the point of, if a human tries to step in, they’re also getting hurt.”

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Robinson says Feed the Furbabies met with Premier Wab Kinew and some ministers shortly after declaring the state of emergency.

“Us putting the pressure on them, in advocating and stating where it could go from here has brought us some funds to be able to get the ball rolling,” she said.

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In February, a woman was attacked by a group of dogs in Waywayseecappo First Nation. She sustained several bites and was rescued when other community members heard her screaming.

“This is what happens when dogs become overpopulated and they’re packing and they’re hungry, and it’s just not something that we’re willing to accept,” said Jessica Miller, CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS).

Miller says their current rural & remote spay and neuter program has a $600,000 per year budget, making roughly 13 trips each year to communities including Thompson and God’s Lake First Nation. The extra funding will allow them to take a few more trips, expanding the number of animals they can see.

“Sometimes we do 30 animals in a day, and if we have lots of animals, we’ll stay for three days,” Miller said.

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Miller says the WHS and Feed the Furbabies are grateful for the funding, but have expressed to the province that it’s “just the tip of the iceberg.”

“We have submitted a proposal, multiyear, multimillion dollar. And so we’re really excited that they’re listening to us and see that we are in a state of emergency and it’s time to do something,” she said.

“We don’t want to see any more mauling, we don’t want to see any more culls. We want to play the best part we can play at the Winnipeg Humane Society to try and end that in Manitoba.”

“We need to have a set budget every year for animal welfare,” said Robinson. “Otherwise, if we don’t have the funds, then all we’re doing we’re putting a Band-Aid on a huge problem.”

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