After taking in 35 dogs in under 24 hours, Labrador's SPCA needs 'a miracle'

Eighteen puppies and two adult dogs were rescued from under a house on Saturday. Ten dogs were flown in that night, and five more were picked up the next morning. (Submitted by Bonnie Learning  - image credit)
Eighteen puppies and two adult dogs were rescued from under a house on Saturday. Ten dogs were flown in that night, and five more were picked up the next morning. (Submitted by Bonnie Learning - image credit)

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA is stretched beyond its limits after the number of dogs in its care more than doubled over the weekend.

Vice-president Bonnie Learning said the number of dogs housed by the SPCA jumped from 25 to 60 within a 24-hour period.

"We need a miracle," Learning said. "Our goal right now is to find as many flights as we can going to Gander and St. John's and getting a lot of these animals moved."

Last February, the SPCA raised the money for a charter flight to take dogs to the Gander and St. John's SPCAs. Learning said that's not an option right now for the organization.

The SPCA stopped taking in animals Monday afternoon. Learning said they had to turn away a dog not long after, which was disheartening, and there are more than two dozen on the intake wait-list that need care, she said.

"It's physically impossible. We just do not have the space. We do not have enough foster homes," Learning said.

Submitted by Bonnie Learning
Submitted by Bonnie Learning

Learning said people can help by volunteering with the organization, fostering a dog or taking one when they're flying out of the town. Volunteers can meet a traveller at the airport and take care of all the logistics of attaching a dog to their ticket, she said.

The doubling of dogs in care started Saturday, when someone reported puppies crying underneath their house, Learning said.

"When all was said and done, we had a total of two mom dogs with 18 puppies between them," said Learning, adding they're unsure which puppies belong to which mom.

Submitted by Bonnie Learning
Submitted by Bonnie Learning

While heading out to help the puppies under the house, Learning said the SPCA received a call from a contact in Postville, on Labrador's north coast, who said a mom and nine puppies that the shelter had been expecting for weeks would be arriving Saturday night.

Submitted by Bonnie Learning
Submitted by Bonnie Learning

On Sunday around 8:30 a.m. a person called about a stray dog and four puppies on their property, Learning said. A volunteer gathered the dogs and brought them back to the shelter.

The SPCA's previous 24-hour intake record was 21, set in 2021, Learning said. Taking in so many animals in a single day is challenging, she said.

Submitted by Bonnie Learning
Submitted by Bonnie Learning

"Thankfully it doesn't happen real often, but when it does, I tell you, it's overwhelming. It's busy," she said. "It's frustrating when you know you have all these extra animals coming. But, I mean, we do the best we can."

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