Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'The dogs will die'

Food theft threatens pooches up north

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A Winnipeg volunteer group is worried stray dogs on a northern Manitoba reserve will die after a large shipment of food and supplies bound for Norway House was stolen.

Hull's Haven Border Collie Rescue volunteer Jill Britton said 44 boxes of dog food and supplies were stolen from behind her Windsor Park home Tuesday evening. The boxes included canned food, blankets and cleaning supplies that were to be delivered to the Norway House Animal Rescue Network, which cares and tries to find homes for stray dogs in the northern community.

"I guess if the thief had a dog they're going to have a great Christmas," Britton said. "Otherwise, you don't have much use for these things. Potentially you've killed a few dogs."

Britton said the Norway House rescue is run by one local woman, Charlynne Starr, who relies on donations so the animals can have blankets, food and medical supplies to keep them in good health.

Many northern Manitoba communities struggle with an overpopulation of dogs and hold a day to shoot the dogs as a method of pet control since they do not have veterinary clinics where the animals can be spayed or neutered.

Starr could not be reached for comment, but the Norway House rescue began as a way to try and find other animal rescue organizations that would fly or drive some of the dogs to southern Manitoba in order to keep them from being shot, according to its Facebook page.

The page said residents are paid $15 for every tail brought into the band office and dogs would "disappear" the day before the shoot began. The rescue group's site said they assume dogs are taken prior to the shoot day and held until they are allowed to be shot.

Hull's Haven Border Collie Rescue founder Sally Hull said she was disgusted when she heard the supplies were stolen. She said Manitobans are immensely generous and hopes They'll donate to help keep the animals alive.

"Without the stuff she can't do it. The dogs will die," Hull said. "She rescues these dogs from shoots and starvation, and you know, she busts her backside. For someone to pull something as low as this, I just don't understand it."

Britton said the boxes of supplies were stacked behind her home and were stolen Tuesday night when she briefly left to deliver a foster dog from Norway House to its new adoptive home. She said she has not made a police report yet and is hoping whomever stole the goods would be willing to return them, no questions asked.

Britton said she still plans to depart for Norway House on Dec. 7 to deliver supplies and bring home up to a dozen dogs.

"It's a pretty big impact when you think these dogs have nothing," she said. "She's in desperate need of canned food."

To donate, go to events@hullshaven.org or phone 204-792-1775.

jen.skerritt@freepress.m.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 25, 2012 A3

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