Moncton man teams up with canine pals to keep drug needles from falling into wrong hands
Published Friday, November 9, 2018 3:42PM AST
A Moncton man feels the support of his community, and canines, in an effort to keep residents out of harm’s way.
He created Needle Dogs Moncton to keep dirty needles off the streets and out of the wrong hands. It’s something Richard Hyslop has doing with his dogs for 11 years.
As a former firefighter and paramedic, he's seen first-hand the damage that drugs can do.
“I got the idea. ‘Hey, why not make it a better community, a kid-safe community,’” Hyslop said.
That's when Needle Dogs began. At the crack of dawn, Hyslop is up and on the look-out.
"There’s glass there,” he says, looking at the ground. “Could be a meth pipe, could be a crack pipe.”
He collects what he finds and places it in a safe drop-box. He does it with the help of his dogs -- both rescued from drug houses -- Tiny and Bandit.
“So if she lines her nose up with something, take a look. Most times there's something there,” Hyslop said.
He's also supported by a group of more than 70 community volunteers.
“As you can see, there's proof,” Hyslop says, pointing to large plastic container, and several smaller ones full of needles. “That's only three-and-a-half weeks of proof.”
His biggest fear is the thought of a needle ending up in the hands of a child -- exposing them to hepatitis or HIV.
He's called on the city to provide more housing for the homeless, with drop-boxes inside, or safe injection sites.
A spokesperson from City Hall says Needle Dogs will be receiving a $1,500 grant from the town.
But Hyslop says money aside, we need to look at the bigger picture.
“Man, I have seen so many people die from that stuff,” Hyslop said. “We need to do better, rehabs (and) more counselling.”
Hyslop has been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder for a number of years. He says going around with his dogs, picking up needles, knowing he's making a difference in the community is the best therapy he could ask for.
“This is my life,” says Hyslop. “This is what I live for is to make a better community.”
By giving back day-to-day and knowing that even a little bit of change can go a long way.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.