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Local animal control service facing tough choices after 12 dogs found on roads

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Hillside Kennels Animal Control near Woodstock, Ont. is full again, after twelve shepherd crosses were found on roads just outside of Port Dover on Saturday.

“This is extremely stressful for us, because what happens is now we are full again. We have maybe a few cages left. And we have them all doubled up, because we have to, because if we get a stray dog from somewhere else we need to have a spot to put it,” said Tracey Gibson, co-owner of Hillside Kennels Animal Control in Innerkip.

“So this puts us on a strain because now we have to find a way to get dogs out the door. If nobody is adopting, which is how it’s going, what else are we going to do?”

Gibson said five were found on Marburg Road, and seven on East Quarterline Road. Two adult males and ten puppies around seven to eight months old are now in their care. All have now been de-wormed and vaccinated since arriving.

Gibson believes all the dogs came from the same place and is desperately trying to find them new homes.

“We thought: ‘Okay, we have maybe six or seven open cages, so that’s good.’ Because it’s been so stressful with doing the City of Brantford. There are so many dogs that are dumped in that city… and then 12 dogs, we didn’t even know what to do,” Gibson said.

Of the 12 dogs found on roads near Port Dover, two are adult males and ten are puppies. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

The kennel does reach out to humane societies and other places to try and find spaces for dogs when they reach capacity, but with so many others at capacity, they often have to make a tough decision.

“We have to euthanize, we have no choice. We have to make those decisions. We have to pick and choose what we have to do, and we have to sit with them on the floor while they die,” Gibson said.

According to Gibson, issues with backyard breeding have increased since the pandemic. She is now appealing to the public to come forward if they know any information about where these dogs came from.

“I know somebody dumped them, but there’s got to be other people out there who know who dumped them,” Gibson said.

Hillside Kennels Animal Control believes all 12 dogs came from the same place. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

NEW LAW PROPOSED TO TARGET PUPPY MILLS

The province is proposing changes to the Preventing Unethical Puppy Sales Act.

If passed, it would be illegal to:

• Breed a female dog more than three times in a two-year period, or breeding more than two litters from a female dog’s consecutive heat cycles

• Breed a female dog that is less than a year old

• Fail to keep a dog with a contagious disease away from other dogs or animals

• Fail to ensure a dog’s environment is sanitary and free from accumulation of waste

• Separate a puppy from its mother before the age of eight weeks

The new legislation would also “introduce minimum penalties of $10,000 for bad actors operating a puppy mill and $25,000 if these violations result in the death of a dog,” the province said. It would also bring in conditions that must be met when selling or transferring a dog, along with regulations for record-keeping.

Gibson said owners need to take responsibility for their pets to keep strays from pouring into their facility.

“Please spay and neuter your dogs,” Gibson said.

OTHER SHELTERS AT CAPACITY

Space for strays is very limited across the province. The Humane Society of Kitchener-Waterloo and Stratford-Perth is also at capacity.

“We don’t use that term crisis lightly, and we have used it a number of times this year," said Calla James, director of community engagement and outreach at the Humane Society of Kitchener-Waterloo and Stratford-Perth. "Right now, we have over 200 animals in our care and 100 on our waiting list. And that has not slowed down.”

Olivia is one of the dogs available for adoption at the Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

The humane society no longer allows people to obtain pets as gifts for someone else. Instead, it offers gift cards to help someone who seriously wants a pet get one.

“When we’re thinking about pets as gifts we always warn about that, because you might be obtaining a pet for somebody else who actually doesn’t want that pet. And these are really lifelong commitments,” James said.

The humane society encourages anyone seriously considering getting an animal to adopt from a shelter instead of purchasing one.

“So we really are encouraging people that if you’re looking to add a pet to your home, please consider adopting and not purchasing a pet, because we really have so many wonderful animals that need a home this holiday season,” James said.

Click below for more information on animals available for adoption:

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