'Get them back on track': Saskatoon shelter reports increase in abused dogs

According to We All Need A Rescue (WANAR), the rescue organization has observed an increasing number of abused dogs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WANAR, a dog rescue kennel located 25 kilometres west of Saskatoon, said it currently has 93 dogs in its care.

Harvey Domoslai, a veterinarian who works with WANAR, said that an increase of general stress and anxiety may have contributed to an increasing number of abused dogs.

“I know people are at home with their dogs and sometimes the dogs take the brunt of our frustration unfortunately,” Domoslai said. “We don’t usually deal with the socio-economic problems. We look at the pet in front of us and try and deal with them. Some of them are quite tragic and really, really shocking.”

Domoslai said these sometime tragic circumstances are dealt with at WANAR once the dogs come under the organizations care.

“We just make sure the animal is looked after,” he explained. “The pain needs are looked after and whatever health things we can do for them to get them back on track.”

WANAR operator Brent Arstall said part of the pre-pandemic work involved educating children about proper dog care. An education opportunity that’s just restarted at Saskatoon and area schools.

“It’s really nice to talk to the kids and show them how to look after dogs and things like that,” he said.

Earlier this year the Saskatoon Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) announced they would stop investigating cruelty complaints as of April of this year.

"This was a painful decision for our organization. We simply do not have the resources or funding to equip our officers properly and safely enforce the provincial law the way our community needs,” Saskatoon SPCA executive director Graham Dickson said in a media release.

The SPCA said a request for provincial funding was turned down last year.

"We will work with government to support the transition and advocate for the enforcement of the Animal Protection Act in Saskatoon," Dickson said.

"Animal abusers must be held accountable."

In 2021, the Saskatoon SPCA investigated 865 cases of alleged animal abuse or neglect, according to the organization.

As for WANAR, it will continue to operate the city's animal shelter, municipal pound and provide adoption services.

WANAR has been helping dogs since 2012. They have a no-kill policy and aim to rescue dogs from all over the province.

With files from Jeff Rogstad