‘It’s terrible’: High numbers of canine abuse reports nothing new, says Manitoba dog rescue

Dogs continue to be the most reported animals abused or neglected in Manitoba, according to the latest data from the province’s animal welfare program.Since numbers began to be tracked in 2013, there has been a steady increase in reports of animal abuse in Manitoba. Last year, 1,054 cases were filed, and more than half of those cases involved dogs.However, dog rescue organizations said the number of dogs in need hasn’t changed, saying it’s always been high.Story continues below

READ MORE: Winnipeg Animal Services looking for ‘furever’ home for 2 dogs in love“I feel like we’re still dealing with the same high numbers we always have, so it just seems like a never-ending issue,” said Jessica Hansen, executive director of Manitoba Underdogs Rescue.Underdogs Rescue has been on an in-take freeze for more than a month due to the numbers of dogs in care who require complex medical care, she said.“We have to turn them [dogs] away now because we don’t have the resources. It points out that there are some issues in the province and animals need help.”The rescue has 100 active foster families with 80 dogs currently in their care, she added.“Every year we’ve been having to take in more and more dogs. There’s just so many dogs in need,” she said.Jenn Taplin, director of Manitoba Mutts Dog Rescue, agrees that numbers have always been high, but said there’s more awareness about animal abuse today.READ MORE: Winnipeg animal rescue ends up with ‘two-four’ of feral dogs“We see the same amount of requests for dogs in need pretty much all year long. We can get as many as multiple requests a day to take in dogs,” she said.Manitoba Mutts currently has 35 animals in care and 60 active foster homes.“Our main goal is to educate people about being responsible pet owners. We have an overabundance of animals that are freezing to death in the winter, or dying of other diseases.”Winnipeg Humane Society’s (WHS) investigations and emergency response team works at arms-length from the province’s animal welfare program, responding to calls and checking on animal safety.The number of calls have been consistently rising each year, said director Heather Neil. She attributes the rise to an ease in reporting.“It’s [animal abuse] become more prevalent in the media, and with the increase social media use, it’s become fairly easy to take a picture or video and share those with authorities,” she said.The majority of calls are about cats and dogs, but the reason for calls vary. Concerns about medical distress is common, Neil said.“Medicine can be expensive, but a lot of it is a lack of education as well. When you get a pet, it’s good to start off on the right foot doing some preventative measures like vaccinations, and having a relationship with vet. It can be difficult if you don’t do those things early on,” she said.Animals in immediate need are removed by the WHS’s animal protection officers and provided with appropriate care. For animals not in immediate distress, officers will educate owners and issue timelines to ensure changes are made. They will follow up as a safeguard, she said.Get daily local headlines and alerts