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Adult dogs, puppies arrive in Moncton from Manitoba in search of forever homes

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When it comes to finding a permanent place to call home, a handful of dogs and puppies travelled the distance, arriving in Moncton, N.B., by Cargojet Thursday morning all the way from Manitoba.

“A lot of people in New Brunswick may not realize, but Manitoba has a pet over population crisis and I say crisis because it’s overwhelming,” said People for Animal Wellbeing (PAW) executive director Heather Smith.

“It’s overwhelming communities, it’s overwhelming shelters and rescues in the area, so they have been reaching out for help across Canada to place these dogs and puppies.”

In total, the PAW shelter picked up eight crates in the early morning hours filled with 12 puppies and four adult dogs.

This is the third load from Manitoba that PAW has taken on and the biggest one yet.

“It’s a true emergency in my opinion,” said Smith.

“You have communities with large populations of free roaming dogs, which is a safety concern for the public, it’s a safety concern for the dogs themselves, but you also have pet owners who are looking for help with their pets if they were injured or sick and they’re struggling to access those resources.”

A group of three black puppies are pictured at the PAW Moncton shelter. (Alana Pickrell/CTV Atlantic)

Smith points out veterinary care isn’t easily accessible and in many cases the closet vet would be a half a day drive. Additionally, there are transportation and financial limitations.

“There’s just so many barriers in the way of getting these animals help, so I feel like we have a responsibility to do our part if we can,” she said.

“We had some space right now and I felt if we could help, that we had a responsibility to step up and do so,” she added.

PAW doesn’t receive any money for bringing the dogs to New Brunswick for adoption.

The plan is to send half of the animals to the Oromocto and Area SPCA, while the other half will be adopted out locally once they’re ready.

The relocation and flights are organized by K9 Advocacy Manitoba, a charity that looks to provide rural First Nation communities with assistance to manage the overpopulation of stray dogs, and Flights for Hope, a community group that raises flight funds to assist rescues saving dogs across Canada.

“I’m going to say they’re all mixed breed, but they’re probably lab-mix, husky-mix, there could be a little pitty in there. They’re mixed breeds. They’re all lovely dogs,” said Smith.

Only one of the 12 puppies is tan-coloured, the others are all mostly black.

The four adults bring a bit more variety, including one dog who only has three legs after having one of her back legs amputated due to an injury.

Three people hold puppies in Moncton, N.B., on June 13, 2024. (Alana Pickrell/CTV Atlantic)

By 4 a.m. Thursday, two staff members and three volunteers were ready for the newest arrivals.

The morning included an airport pick-up, kennel preparation, cleaning and disinfecting the travel crates, getting the dogs settled and carrying out regular shelter operations on top of that.

"I would consider this a Band-Aid," said Jackie Hanna, a board member with K9 Advocacy Manitoba. "We need more policies and regulations, we need more spay and neuter programs, we need more responsible owners to spay and neuter their dogs.

"We are sending dogs to other provinces probably every second day. We send a lot of dogs to Vancouver. We have about 200-plus dogs in our care right now and that's pretty standard."

For Mary Fogal, a volunteer with the shelter, it was her second time helping pick up Manitoba pups from the airport.

“It’s so fulfilling, I’m sure more for me than it is for the puppies and the dogs,” she said.

“These dogs have been running the streets and whatnot in Manitoba and they need a home and if I can help get them home to their forever family, then that’s why I do it. I really love this work.”

Fogal was able to watch the entire process from the time the plane rolled up until the dogs came into the warehouse where they were loaded into the cars to come back to the shelter.

While she says she doesn’t know the full extent of the crisis that Manitoba is facing, she does know that a lot of dogs, including the 16 that just arrived, need a home.

“We are that extra step that can be taken to get these dogs a forever home instead of them being strays,” she said.

A rescue dog looks through a fence in Moncton, N.B. (Alana Pickrell/CTV Atlantic)

Officials say the plan is to prep the dogs for adoption over the next couple of days and people interested should be able to see them later this week or by early next week.

“We’re going to make sure that they’re all vaccinated, microchipped, I believe the adults are already fixed. We’re just going to get to know their personalities a bit and then you’ll see them come up for adoption,” said Smith.

All of the puppies will need to be spayed or neutered, microchipped and finish their vaccines.

“There are some resources that go into this, but I think it’s really important that we step up and help our fellow Canadians,” she said.

As for how people can help, Smith says people can either come out and adopt a new family member or make a donation to the shelter so they can continue helping the animals who need it most.

“We’re here to help the community,” she said.

“We’re here to help the vulnerable pets in the community, so this is what we do and I feel really honoured to be a part of it.”

Click here for more photos of the rescue dogs.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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