Charlie Angus, MP (NDP) for Timmins – James Bay says he is growing increasingly concerned about the plight of numerous dogs left in the bush north of Cochrane. It’s been nearly a month since the dogs were orphaned when their owner, Jean Levesque, was killed in a house fire. The dogs are living at Mile 26 north of Cochrane on the rail line. Volunteers have gone in to rescue the dogs.
Angus says the scope of the rescue effort is simply too great for the volunteer members of Northern Ontario Animal Welfare (NOAW) who have been trying to rescue the remaining dogs.
“It is simply too much to expect that one group of volunteers could handle a situation this complex. I encourage all the key players to work together to put a plan in place. This plan will need input from the SPCA, the MNR, the ONR and NOAW. We need to get a full assessment of the remaining dogs and a plan to help rescue the ones that can be saved.”
Angus says the Ontario Northland Railway has done a great deal to assist in the efforts already. However, the logistics of getting so many dogs out of a roadless region requires a larger plan.
“We need live traps, vet teams and support for the dogs that are being brought out. I know that all the animal welfare groups in the north are already tapped out. However, the clock is ticking on this crisis and help is needed.”
The greatest challenge now appears to be finding foster homes for the dogs that have been pulled from the bush.
According to one poster on the Facebook group, “Save the Dogs at Mile 26”: “Jean was tragically killed in a fire trying to save some of the puppies. OSPCA was contacted immediately. When by Monday, the dogs had still not received any help, Denice in Moosonee organized a huge food shipment which ONR delivered and fed the dogs. There is no road access to the site so ONR has been instumental in the rescue of these dogs. Many owe their lives to the caring employees of ONR. Pam was contacted when after a week, the dogs had still not recieved any care/rescue efforts from OSPCA. Pam and I were upset to say the least and with a help of many organizations, NOAWS, Moosonee Puppy Rescue and many individuals a rescue was planned for Monday the 31st. We brought out 30 dogs that day. These were not feral dogs but had been Jean’s pets. They were sent to various rescues including Pet Save in Sudbury, All Heart Pet Rescue near North Bay, Moosonee Puppy Rescue in Bracebridge and Clarington Shelter.”
Another poster pointed out the current problem: lack of foster homes: “All of the puppies brought out were adopted. There will be more puppies as some of the females we’re very heavily pregnant and gave birth soon after coming out. Only a few of the adults have been adopted and some are now in foster homes but many more are still waiting in rescues to move into homes.”
And this urgent call for fostering help on the Facebook group, “Stop the Slaughter of Over 350 Animals at the Newmarket OSPCA” (go to the Mile 26 Dogs discussion thread): “I am writing to ask for your assistance. The rescue workers up north have been back into mile 26/27 again and have five dogs that they don’t have any room for. We have filled the rescue organizations we are working with and the one shelter in Bowmanville. I was wondering if any of your group used to foster for the Newmarket SPCA and might consider helping us out with this. I can arrange transportation down here.”