May 28, 2020

Winnipeg
9° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Lack of cash, staff leashes vet office

'Heartbreaking' canine abuse discovered in Valley Gardens 'rescue'

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/8/2016 (1387 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Regulations for animal-rescue facililties aren't being enforced in Manitoba because the province's chief veterinary office lacks money and staff.

SUPPLIED PHOTO</p><p>One of more than a dozen dogs who was rescued from the Valley Gardens home.</p></p>

SUPPLIED PHOTO

One of more than a dozen dogs who was rescued from the Valley Gardens home.

The question of monitoring such premises arose Wednesday after the bodies of rotting puppies stuffed in garbage bags were removed, and more than a dozen dogs were rescued, from a Valley Gardens townhouse Tuesday night by staff from the province's chief veterinary office and the Winnipeg Humane Society. 

Volunteers who went to the home found the occupant — a woman who was operating a domestic-animal rescue called Liferaft in the home —unresponsive on the floor. The resident was rushed to hospital in unknown condition. Liferaft stands for Love Is Fur Ever Rescue And Foster Team, which is not a registered charity.

Conditions in the residence included several centimetres of feces caked on the floor, chewed walls and a stench of rotting animals.

"A volunteer found dead puppies in the house liquefying and there was two dead puppies laying on the floor. One dog had infected eye ulcers, all around her eyes (and) her mouth and beetles were eating away at her face," a member of the local dog rescue community said.

Dr. Colleen Marion, the companion animal welfare veterinarian with the CVO, said regulations for animal shelters and rescues exist, but aren't enforced because of a lack of financial resources and manpower.

A licensing program under the Animal Care Act tallies the number of shelters and rescues in the province. It's also supposed to ensure the shelters are inspected by animal protection officers to ensure animals get proper care. 

But Marion said the licensing program hasn't been enforced since 2010, when the most recent amendment was made to the Animal Care Act. 

She added that the CVO still sends out animal protection officers when reports are made over concern for an animal's welfare.  

'Basic care... not even being met'

The provincial vet's office and the WHS were called by volunteers on Tuesday evening.  A statement by the CVO says officials apprehended four dogs, which were taken into care for veterinary evaluation.  

It also says one deceased puppy was found at the residence, which conflicts with eyewitness reports to the Free Press from members of the local rescue community about other dead dogs.

SUPPLIED PHOTO</p><p>Some of the rescued animals were very sick.</p>

SUPPLIED PHOTO

Some of the rescued animals were very sick.

"The animals are currently in good spirits but due to the ongoing investigation we are unable to provide further details about their physical condition," the statement said. 

A director of another local dog rescue, who did not want to be named, said several dogs which had ties to other local rescues were returned to those rescues.

A dog with the ulcers on her face, Gypsy, is seriously ill and was taken directly to a local veterinarian for treatment. A veterinarian from the Plessis Veterinary Hospital said her prognosis is "guarded" and said it was too early to say if Gypsy will survive. She is an approximately three-year-old husky mix.

The veterinarian said Gypsy is underweight and there are lesions on her eyes. "The dog was quite dehydrated, a lot of infection in the blood, has a very bad cough and was hungry too. She went for food like crazy," the veterinarian said, asking that his name not be used.

He said Gypsy has a serious skin infection around her eyes, lips and her paws that has been there for several weeks.

"This dog has some congenital issues too so we are doing confirmation tests. The cough is probably secondary to that problem and it’s a chronic issue. This is a very sick dog," he said. "This dog also has a pneumonia that is also secondary to this (congenital) problem."

He said the course of action for Gypsy is stabilize, rehydrate, give food and take care of all the infections.

'Horrific, heartbreaking'

The local rescue director said that "basic care of a dog was not even being met" in the Valley Gardens home. The dogs had long, untrimmed nails, were dirty, smelled foul and early indications were that they had not been vaccinated recently.

She said it would take many weeks for dogs’ conditions to deteriorate to such states. 

"It’s horrific. It’s heartbreaking," the local rescue director said. "The entire rescue community is shaken up right now. We’re here to make changes and want to see this person get the help that she needs.

"We’re sad for this person but she should never have a dog again. There needs to be an outcry so this can be prevented."

Colleen Holloway, a spokesperson for Manitoba Mutts, a registered charity, said the environment is ripe for situations like neglect of too many dogs in private homes. 

"It’s not surprising but it’s disheartening and frustrating. Our approach is that we need to look at the systemic issues rather than the person themselves," Holloway said.

"People do lead with their hearts and get in over their heads," she said. "This is an extreme case but it’s not an uncommon thing."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

alexandra.depape@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 2:43 PM CDT: Update

6:07 PM: Updated

August 11, 2016 at 10:08 AM: Headline updated

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us