July 15, 2024


The Sochi Games are rife with controversy, but perhaps, among the many, none have gone so viral and pulled on as many western heartstrings as the mass extermination of hundreds, some say thousands, of stray dogs.

The Sochi stray news is all the more biting following the widespread rumour that Chinese and eastern European clothing manufacturers have, for years, been using dog fur as hood liners for jackets, calling it faux fur, and selling it to the fashion-forward West.

Controversy surrounding faux fur clothing and the concept of mass dog culls is nothing new, and is by no means limited to the “gay-bashing, dog-slaughtering Sochi Olympics.” We have our own problems right here in Canada.

TBblueIn the early spring of 2013 I found a feral Rottweiler puppy in a parking lot of a rural Manitoba strip mall. At the time, she weighed about 30 pounds and was extremely emaciated. She wasn’t the only puppy in that parking lot.

In the small town of The Pas there are dozens, if not hundreds, of dogs roaming around, looking for food. Unlike here in Kitchener, stray dogs aren’t picked up by local humane societies and sheltered until they’re adopted out, or killed if they’re unpopular amongst adoptees. They are hunted, shot, poisoned or otherwise neglected from the time they’re born.

The well-known practice of leaving a litter of puppies alone and waiting to see which ones survive before picking a keeper is rumoured to still be in widespread use across the North. The population problem arises when dogs survive their harsh upbringing, but don’t return to their owners because they’ve learned to live without.

According to North American statistics, only one out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.

A petition to “ban dog shoots in Manitoba,” was launched in early April 2013 by Paw Tipsters owner Yvonne Russel. The intent of the petition was to have provincial legislation passed which would see the province responsible for the sterilization of free-ranging dogs.

Shortly after launching the provincial petition, Russel realized the scope of the problem and took the campaign national, calling on the federal government and First Nations’ communities to address the issue of dog shootings.

The petition garnered over 17,000 signatures nationwide but has yet to be addressed by the federal government in any formal way.

Failure to address the issue has led good Samaritan Emma Lees to take up the fight against animal cruelty and abandonment.

Lees founded a private animal shelter in her garage in The Pas during the autumn of 2013. She currently has 12 dogs in her care, but at one time had 17.

“God, there are so many pups running around. One of the reasons why is because the sterilization process is rather expensive and a lot of people can’t afford that money straight up,” Lees said. “We don’t have a humane society here, so if a dog goes to the pound it has 48 hours until it’s put down.”

“… ‘It takes a village,’ is one of our major mantras when it comes to this work – we can’t do it alone. Everybody needs to take heart in the animal control issue,” Lees said.

A different petition calling for the end of “the mass killing of stray dogs” in Sochi was launched by a New York woman following American press coverage of the cull. The petition has already amassed 13,000 signatures; its rally cry reads, “this is only a ‘problem’ because of the lack of laws and regulations in animal protection and cruelty the country has never instilled.”

Just days after the petition was launched, Russian billionaire and Olympics contractor, Oleg Deripaska, founded a shelter on the edge of town, where volunteers are invited to bring strays. The shelter is now home to over 100 Sochi dogs.

Meanwhile, the struggle to sterilize and house stray dogs across Canada drags on.

12 responses to “Stray dogs killed in Canada too

  1. I hate these facts,I hate that I live in a country that the man’s BEST friends are disrespected,dismissed and disregarded as unwanted furniture in this time and era! When we pretend to know better than, we must do better!!! I had no idea un till few seconds ago when I noticed at Care2 petition … the canadian dogs being murdered??? I am not shore what could be done and who is responsible??? Please help??? I will spread this info to as many people as I can!. We must stop this terrible shame to many canadians who have no idea this is happening at all and will never agreed in a first place!!! The problem is most likely from the so called “puppy mills” . I call them LEGAL prisons of GREED!

  2. Wow I thought we as Canadians respected at least dogs if not the meat industry. We are no better…but god bless Oleg and Lees for driving it.

    Shame on our government for turning a blind eye, complacency is truly just not caring…

  3. You are right. Here in Quebec there are no stray dogs around. We pick them up and kill them. Sometimes before the owner has a chance to find out where the dog is held. We are no better than Russians.

  4. I live in the Northwest Territories. I recently moved from a remote community where I lost 2 dogs. They were shot without my consent, knowledge or even letting me know my dog had broken its tie out. I know some people are against tie outs but it’s better than being shot when you can’t afford a fence. The people who turn dogs in are paid anywhere from 50 to 200 dollars per dog. It’s a money making business for those who have addictions. It broke my heart to see the dogs gone; usually the friendly ones because they’re the ones who will walk up to people.

  5. There has to be something we can do. I am on pension, and don’t use a credit card but if you can find a way, I’d be glad to pledge a small amount each month. I’m sure many others would too.

  6. Shame on Canadians for the murder of helpless dogs and for those who allow this to occur. I try to bring awareness of the plight of Asian dogs. Never did I consider that Canadians would disrespect man’s best friend. What can I do?

    Sally Buffam

  7. Add to our unwanted dog numbers the 1000s of dogs that retail rescues bring to Canada from the USA and other countries. Our dogs have less of a chance of adoption with the numbers that are being brought into Canada. These dogs are homeless, yes, but their own countries need to step up to help them as we are trying to do with our own.

  8. I live in B.C. now and we are trying hard to rescue and foster as many animals as possible. Our problem is that we have groups bringing in dogs from out of the country for rescue. We need to clean up our own backyards first. I saw that some Home Hardware stores in Alberta are selling animals in their “pet” departments. A daschund puppy is advertised at $650…too expensive to be adopted, but too cheap to have come from a responsible breeder. I’m left to guess that these are from backyard breeders. This has to be stopped. Why can’t we show adoptable animals at pet stores? We do here. PetSmart does this all the time.

  9. we are truly better than this, and as a Country we should be setting the standard don’t turn a blind eye and do what is right!!

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