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Dogs 'dumped' in Huron-Perth


More than a dozen dogs were abandoned across Huron and Perth Counties on March 23 and 24, and local dog lovers are furious about it.

“This is one of the dogs that was dumped in Vanastra. She’s a pretty good puppy, so far. Very sweet, very timid, nervous of everything,” said Kelsey Leonard, who is now fostering one of the “dumped” dogs.

“It’s really sad seeing dogs dumped. They’re lovely dogs. Clearly poorly kept, though. They were in terrible condition. It’s so sad to see,” said Gina McDonnell, who saw some of the dogs being dumped.

McDonnell snapped a picture of the suspected “dog dumper” on her secluded dead end road near Benmiller, Ont. last Friday.

“My husband went out onto the road, and the car almost ran him off the road. I just happened to have my phone ready to take a picture,” said McDonnell.

In all, more than 12 different dogs were released in Mitchell, Ont., Vanastra, Ont., and Benmiller, according to local dog lovers. The same black vehicle was seen at all three drop off sites.

“I would tend to believe it’s a backyard breeder that was trying to capitalize on puppies that were popular during COVID, and now there’s no market for them. So, they got overwhelmed,” said Kathi Newell-Nicholson, who runs Adopt a Pet-Pet Rescue in Lucknow, Ont.

“I would rather someone contact us looking for help, even if it’s for food, than for anything terrible like this to happen,” she said.

One of the dogs recovered near Vanastra, Ont. on March 24, 2023. (Source: Lori Gautcher)

Locals have caught seven of the 13 or 14 dogs that were dumped last week, said Newell-Nicholson. She’s imploring those licensing puppy mills and breeders to stop licensing, because there’s already so many unwanted dogs, and for families to stop buying dogs from puppy mills to stop the demand.

“It’s honestly an epidemic. The amount of animals we’re being asked to take from puppy mills and breeders that are overwhelmed, and don’t want to keep them, is in the double digits over the past couple months. An absolutely crazy amount of puppies are coming in,” she said.

While the OPP and local animal control officers have been contacted, dog lovers are frustrated that this could happen again without finding the owner of the mysterious black vehicle, and that it’s no one’s responsibility to help find these dogs that are still on the loose.

“I find it very frustrating that we’re getting the run around, it feels like, from different areas. It speaks to the problem, that we have to start at the source, to get this problem stopped,” said Newell-Nicholson.

Newell-Nicholson said if you do encounter one of dogs still on the loose, it’s best not to chase them, because they’ll be scared and will want to run.

You can reach out to her at for who best to contact. Top Stories

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