Faced with an influx of dogs, Animal Services in Winnipeg turned to an innovative idea to find homes for their puppies.
They take an honesty-based approach, which is the best policy, to help connect their hard-to-adopt dogs with the perfect owner, says Leland Gordon, general manager of Animal Services.
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“We had a dog here who had been (here) for over a year, we had a few dogs who had been here for over six months. Now these dogs are usually not the perfect dog – they need an experienced owner,” Gordon told PKBNEWS this week.
This is what led Animal Services to launch the “Winnipeg’s Most Unwanted Dog” program.
The program started late last year to help find a home for a particularly hard-to-love pup named Hank.
“Hank had been here for over six months. He growled a little in his cage. He only liked specific people,” Gordon explained.
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“He needed a very experienced dog owner who would work with him and train him.”
After posting a photo of Hank with his title as the most unwanted dog in town on Animal Service’s social media accounts, he was adopted within three days.
With this success, a new puppy, Ralph, was crowned Winnipeg’s most unwanted dog.
Animal Services posted a picture of Ralph over the weekend and hopes he finds a home soon too.
Gordon says Winnipeg Animal Services has seen an increasing number of dogs since the COVID-19 pandemic, which he says is happening in shelters across the country.
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While Animal Service’s “comfort level” for caring for dogs is around 20, Gordon said the Logan Avenue facility currently houses between 26 and 32 dogs a day.
That’s partly because of a change in how the city’s animal services treat the dogs they bring in, according to Gordon.
“Previously, you know, we euthanized 300 to 400 dogs a year, which was very sad,” he said.
“Today, with our team of staff and volunteers, if we have a frightened dog, we will work with him. If we have a dog that has kennel cough – a common disease in dogs – we will get treatment for that dog,
“We are doing everything we can to save as many dogs as possible.”
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Gordon said the focus on care and adoption means Animal Services now euthanizes between 10 and 20 dogs a year.
“I think our Winnipeg residents and supporters can be very proud of that, that we’re not your grandfather’s pound,” he said.
“We’re not that dog pound you’d see in a bad movie.”
More information about the dogs available for adoption from Winnipeg Animal Services – including some lovely photos – can be found on their website.
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“At the end of the day, you know, we don’t want to be sitting on a collection of dogs that nobody in our community wants,” Gordon said.
“If people feel sorry for dogs that are in animal services, when you’re ready to have your next dog, adopt one from animal services.”
— with files by Richard Cloutier and Clay Young
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