In just 24 hours, donors provided the Winnipeg Humane Society with $20,000 to help send seven dogs, including this one, to DogTown in the United States. ((CBC))

Manitobans opened their wallets wider than was necessary to send seven traumatized dogs to a famous animal shelter in the United States.

The Winnipeg Humane Society was looking for donations to cover the $10,000 fee to charter a plane to fly the animals to DogTown, a shelter for injured animals in Kanab, Utah.

In just 24 hours, donations totalled $20,000, said Humane Society CEO Bill McDonald.

"We were absolutely stunned, amazed, shocked, in awe and thankful," he said.

The seven dogs destined for DogTown were among more than 60 that were seized from a Gull Lake, Man., property in July by animal welfare authorities.

The animals were covered in wounds, feces and other filth and were suffering from a range of physical and psychological issues, McDonald said.

The dogs had been living in a pair of windowless buildings on the property belonging to Peter and Judy Chernecki and many had likely never seen daylight or grass before, he said.

Thirty-four of the dogs seized were in such poor health that they had to be euthanized.

The story of the dogs has touched peoples' hearts, which made the fundraising appeal such a success, said McDonald.

"People have followed this story about the Gull Lake dogs and they know what they are and what these dogs went through."


One of the dogs seized in July had its matted, feces-filled fur shaved at the Winnipeg Humane Society. ((Megan Benedictson/CBC))

The Humane Society has spent thousands of dollars trying to get the dogs not destined for DogTown healthy again, McDonald said.

A small handful has been adopted and five others were taken in by Darcy's Arc, an animal rescue centre in Winnipeg.

The rest are still being cared for at the Humane Society in hopes they will be well enough at some point to be adopted. That's where the excess donated money will be spent.

DogTown is a sanctuary for animals that need extra care after being abused. The sanctuary also cares for severely ill and elderly animals.  


Winnipeg Humane Society CEO Bill McDonald visits one of the seven dogs heading to the DogTown animal shelter in Utah. ((CBC))

The National Geographic Channel features a show about DogTown, documenting the stories of the animals being rehabilitated at the sanctuary.

A book, DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption, has also been published about the sanctuary.

The seven Gull Lake dogs being sent to DogTown are the ones who need the most help, said McDonald.

"These dogs came in totally afraid of people," he said. "We call them the lucky seven — the worst of the best, if you will.

The dogs will fly out of Winnipeg to their new home on Sept. 24.

Peter Chernecki has told CBC News that he and his wife were only trying to help out strays that were abandoned at the local landfill.

He denied the animals in his care were neglected.

Authorities have not charged the Cherneckis with any offences.