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  • John G

Of Pets and People

by Laurie Nealin


 A news conference is called after 68 dogs are found at a Winnipeg home. All mainstream media in Winnipeg cover the story.


  • The City reports the dogs were living in “inhumane conditions” amidst layers of urine and feces

  • Garbage and debris littered the home’s front lawn

  • The City’s Animal Services manager says it’s “horrific, sad, mindboggling” and “unacceptable for people to keep animals in conditions like this”

  • The Humane Society leaps into action to house the dogs; none die  

  • An online emergency fundraiser is set up and donations are solicited from the public to cover costs of grooming, health and dental care for the dogs

  • The situation is described as "incredibly stressful and heartbreaking" for staff and volunteers at animal services and shelters

  • Animal services officers say charges could be laid under the Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw



 No one calls a news conference to report upwards of 150 people are in distress, uncared for and living in unsafe, sometimes violent, Third World conditions in the riverbank forests in Winnipeg’s Fort Douglas Park, along the North Winnipeg Parkway and the Assiniboine River (within 50 - 100 metres of neighbourhood residences, schools and businesses, and sometimes immediately adjacent to them.)


  • No City manager says it’s “horrific, sad, and unacceptable for people to live in conditions like this”

  • No one at the City, the Province or service providers calls it “mindboggling” that the people live under tarps in a minefield of discarded needles, toxic debris and their own feces

  • The City doesn’t spring into action to address this human and ecological tragedy – in fact, no one does – despite knowing people die in these encampments

  • The media doesn’t give front-page coverage to the plight of their fellow human beings, to the unconscionable situation

  • No non-profits step up to offer immediate assistance to house the people, attend to their health and provide needed supports

  • There is no emergency online fundraiser set up and no call-out for donations from the public to help their fellow citizens

No one suggests the City, other levels of government and service agencies be held to account for leaving people on the riverbanks, contravening their human right to housing, except … the citizen advocates in the East Exchange, Assiniboine/Broadway, and South Point Douglas who witness these people’s struggle to survive each and every day.


Like the people living in squalor, the residents of these areas have pretty much been ignored.


People in Power are Looking the Other Way, Hoping We Don't See

Below is an aerial video taken earlier this month, of the horrid conditions these unsheltered people are living in, and the near total destruction and environmental disaster unfolding in this City park and riverbank. Why is nothing being done?

How can we let people live like this?


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