WINNIPEG — An animal rescue group in Manitoba says it's helping a stray dog found with a jar stuck on its head that vets have told them was also bitten by other animals and shot with a pellet gun.
Manitoba Underdogs Rescue spokeswoman Lindsay Gillanders says the fluffy black-and-white female pup, who they've been calling "Greta," is now in the care of a veterinary hospital in Winnipeg.
Gillanders says bloodwork found that Greta was suffering from some sort of metal toxicity, and an X-ray revealed a mass in her stomach that turned out to be an aluminum can.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Paul Manaigre says in an email that police were contacted Boxing Day by a homeowner in a northern community who said the dog was underneath her deck, and she was concerned for its well-being.
Manaigre says officers cut the plastic jar off the dog and it was taken to a shelter.
Gillanders says vomiting was induced and the can came up, along with a turkey bone and a Christmas orange, but Greta's recovery is still uncertain.
"We see these cases where dogs are just starving and they're eating everything that they possibly can. So it's possible if it was a Coke can or a Pepsi can that there was a little bit of sweet left on it and it seemed like a good idea at the time," Gillanders said in an interview on Saturday.
"They are just so desperate sometimes to find something to eat. It's really tragic."
Manaigre said the homeowner who found Greta did not know who the dog belonged to. The rescue group declined to name the community, but Manaigre said it was Fort Alexander, about 120 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
Gillanders said Greta had cuts and scratches that are believed to be from other dogs biting her, and there was evidence she'd been shot with a pellet gun six times.
She said her group was told that not only was Greta's head stuck in the jar, which she believes was a peanut butter jar, the jar was also frozen to the ground.
"She's quite fluffy. I think the jar was on there really well ... she just couldn't get the jar off her head. And that could be because she was a little bit lethargic and out of it as well. She wasn't at her full puppy strength," Gillanders said.
Manitoba Underdogs Rescue is accepting donations in order to pay for Greta's care.
Gillanders said she's not sure about the likelihood there will ever be charges in the case, noting more information would be needed.
"It's definitely a case of neglect but she was a stray and unfortunately in Manitoba in remote, northern Manitoba communities we see a lot of stray dogs like Greta, some of which aren't as lucky," Gillanders said.
"It sounds horrible to think of Greta as lucky, but the fact that she's warm and getting care means that she truly is one of the lucky ones, especially during Manitoba winters. We see some pretty tragic cases."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 28, 2019.
—By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton.
The Canadian Press