In September, Andrew Daniels said two dogs were stolen from his yard on Long Plain First Nation, about 100 km west of Winnipeg.
The grandfather said he felt “heartbroken” after pulling into the driveway and the pair didn’t rush up to greet them like they always do.
He said the dogs wore collars and were tied up when he left them.
“Groot, a brown and white bullmastiff cross, and Wrinkles, also a bull mastiff cross. They were not there,” he said in an interview.
“I drove around for a couple of hours till dark, and I could not locate them. So on this went – day after day – looking and asking around to no avail.”
Daniels turned to Facebook for help. And with tips from other dog lovers, found both pets a few weeks later advertised for adoption on the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) website.
“The kids were screaming and crying in happiness – as was I. But it was a celebration of happiness too soon,” he said.
Officials at WHS told him the dogs had been split up and adopted by two new families.
“The kids ask every day when Groot and Wrinkles will be home,” Daniels added. “It breaks my heart to have to tell them that we could not contact WHS in time.”
WHS confirmed the dogs were brought in with porcupine quill injuries. They said they were told the animals were found running loose in the Rural Municipality of Grey, about 30 minutes southwest of Long Plain.
READ THE LETTER HERE:
“They were admitted as stray dogs with medical concerns,” confirmed Dr. Jonas Watson, a Winnipeg veterinarian and chair of the WHS board of directors.
He said “an individual found two dogs at large and they both had injuries to their faces from porcupine quills.” He said the animals were sedated and the quills removed.
Watson said healthy dogs are usually held for three days before being put up for adoption but these two were put on hold for a week.
“At that point, not having heard from anyone claiming them, they were then deemed to be suitable to be put up for adoption,” he said in an interview.
Daniels said he repeatedly called the WHS while searching for his dogs but no one answered the phone.
When one of his calls was eventually returned, he said WHS told him the dogs were “in good condition and looked well cared for” but the new owners wouldn’t give them back.
“The Humane Society reached out to the two adopters and went, ‘Hey, an unfortunate circumstance has happened here. These dogs actually have an owner. And you’ve only had this dog for a very short period of time. Would you be willing to return this dog so it could be reunited with its previous owner?’ explained Watson.
“And, regrettably, in both cases, the newly adoptive owners declined to return the dog.”
Daniels said the loss devastated his family.
“I will try (and) heal the children’s hearts. Children heal quickly,” he said. “I can’t say that for myself. I will carry this within my heart until I leave on my journey to our Ancestors.”
Daniels said he reported the theft to the RCMP, which referred him to Manitoba First Nation Police in nearby Portage la Prairie, Man. An officer there, he said, has taken on the case after his own dog went missing.
Unsure what to do next, Daniels asked APTN News to publish a letter to the new owners, in the hope they would return his “fur babies.”
He said he will also ask WHS to forward his letter to the new owners.