Facing an influx of dogs, Winnipeg’s Animal Services has turned to a novel idea to find homes for their pups.
They’re going with an honesty-is the-best-policy approach to help connect their harder-to-adopt dogs with the perfect owner, explains Animal Services general manager, Leland Gordon.
“We had a dog here that was (here) for over a year, we’ve had a few dogs that have been here for over six months. Now, those dogs aren’t usually the perfect dog — they need an experienced pet owner,” Gordon told Global News this week.
It’s what led Animal Services to start the “Winnipeg’s Most Unwanted Dog” program.
The program kicked off late last year to help find a home for particularly hard-to-love pup named Hank.
“Hank had been here for over six months. He was a little growly in his cage. He only liked specific people,” Gordon explained.
“He needed a very experienced dog owner that would work with him and train him.”
After posting a photo of Hank with his title as the city’s most unwanted dog on Animal Service’s social media accounts, he was adopted out within three days.
With the success, a new pup — Ralph — has been crowned Winnipeg’s most unwanted dog.
Animal Services posted a photo of Ralph over the weekend and are hoping he finds a home soon, too.
Gordon says Winnipeg Animal Services has seen increasing numbers of dogs since the COVID-19 pandemic, something he says is happening at shelters across the country.
While Animal Service’s “comfort level” for caring for dogs is about 20, Gordon said the Logan Avenue facility is currently housing between 26 to 32 dogs a day.
That’s partly because of a shift in how the city’s animal services handles the dogs it brings in, according to Gordon.
“In the olden days, you know, we would euthanize 300 to 400 dogs a year, which was very sad,” he said.
“Nowadays, with our team of staff and volunteers, if we’ve got a scared dog, we’re going to work with that. If we’ve got a dog that has kennel cough — common ailment with dogs — we’re going to get treatment for that dog,
“We do everything we can to save as many dogs as possible.”
Gordon said the focus on care and adoption means Animal Services is now euthanizing between 10 and 20 dogs a year.
“I think our residents and supporters in Winnipeg can be really proud of that, that we’re not your grandfather’s dog pound,” he said.
“We’re not that dog pound you would see in a bad movie.”
More information on dogs available for adoption from Winnipeg Animal Services — including some pretty cute photos — can be found on their website.
“At the end of the day, you know, we don’t want to be sitting on a collection of dogs which nobody in our community wants,” Gordon said.
“If people feel sorry for dogs that are in animal services, when you’re ready to get your next dog, then adopt one from animal services.”
— with files from Richard Cloutier and Clay Young