Keila DePape, CTV News Winnipeg
Published Thursday, August 15, 2019 3:20PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, August 15, 2019 3:34PM CST
Thirteen puppies who had been stuffed in bags and left to die in northern Manitoba are now recovering, thanks to Good Samaritans who saved them.
Two litters were rescued within a span of one week, said Debra Vandekerkhove, a director with Manitoba Animal Alliance, formerly known as Norway House Animal Rescue.
The first was found on Tuesday when Wayne Sumner and his brother-in-law Jonah Ross heard a noise while throwing out garbage at the dump in Pinaymootang First Nation, about 238 kilometers northeast of Winnipeg.
They unzipped a duffle bag near a pile of burning embers, revealing five female puppies that looked to be only two weeks old.
“It’s very disheartening that people go to those lengths to get rid of puppies,” she said. “They are only 20 minutes away from a veterinarian, in Ashern,” she said.
“There’s no excuse to be cruel to puppies.”
When Vandekerkhove saw the video, she contacted rescue group Manitoba Underdogs, which agreed to take in the puppies until they’re ready for adoption.
Eight puppies rescued in Norway House
As the first five puppies made the journey to Winnipeg, eight others were settling into their temporary home after being rescued from a similar situation on Saturday.
A pharmacist in Norway House Cree Nation, about a nine hours’ drive to the north of Winnipeg, was exercising with his wife at a school field, when they heard noises coming from the bush.
“As they got closer, they realized it was puppies in a bag,’ said Vandekerkhove.
She believes the puppies were about three weeks old and wouldn’t have survived more than five days on their own.
The eight puppies are of a mixed breed.
“We just like to call them the northern specials, or all-Canadian, they’re a little bit of everything.”
The pharmacist, Maynak Patel, took the puppies home, where he happened to have a dog that recently gave birth.
(Source: Maynak Patel)
“She took them in right away, even though she’s nursing her own,” said Vandekerkhove.
Once the puppies are strong enough, they will be flown to Winnipeg and put up for adoption.
A pervasive problem in the province
Disposing of animals in dumps or fields is not uncommon in the province, said Vandekerkhove.
“This has been happening for years,” she said, mentioning that it also happens on farms.
“Manitoba seems to have become a disposal site for animals.”
Vandekerkhove believes female puppies are more often disposed of, as was the case for the all-female group rescued in Norway House.
“People think they (female dogs) bring dog fights close to their house when they’re in heat,” she said.
If dog owners are concerned about overpopulation, they should keep female dogs contained when in heat, she said.
If dog owners find themselves in the care of an unwanted litter of puppies or kittens, she said there are rescue services across the province that can take them in.
“It’s just people not accepting responsibility for their own actions,” she said.