A Winnipeg pet store is being forced to close down after going more than a month without water due to frozen pipes.
Pet Peripherals in Transcona is now selling off its merchandise and anticipating being closed within weeks.
The store’s pipes froze in late February, and the store’s owner, Tanya Morgan, said the last communication from the city indicated it would be at least mid-April before her pipes were thawed.
Without water, Morgan said her pet store and grooming business can’t function.
“You can't use the washrooms. You can't wash your hands. Anyone who knows anything about pets, you can't handle a guinea pig and then go handle a reptile,” said Morgan. “You're cross contaminating them. You're going to have sick animals."
Morgan said about 100 fish and a handful of mice and lizards have died because she didn't have access to clean water.
The bottled water and jugs brought in by firefighters weren’t enough to keep cages and tanks clean, she said.
"Especially [with] your rodents and your birds — they're very dirty animals, and reptiles need high humidity,” she said. “When you don't have water going, constant misting and that going on, things dehydrate. They die.”
For a short time, she was able to use water from nearby by running a hose across her back lane but that eventually froze.
Morgan said a groomer she employed has found other work, and she is in the process of terminating their lease. Now, she's trying to clear out her merchandise, including a large number of animals.
Birds, rodents, lizards and other animals are her first priority to sell. She’s hoping to have her business closed by the end of next week.
Frozen pipes have caused major problems in Winnipeg this winter, with the list of properties waiting for city crews to thaw their pipes growing daily.
On Sunday, 16 more properties were added to the list, bringing the total to 1,350.
Crews thaw pipes after woman goes public
After CBC ran the story on Morgan's wait for thawing pipes Sunday morning, a city crew showed up at her property Sunday afternoon to try and thaw the pipes.
After 32 days of not having water, the crews were able to thaw her pipes within an hour.
Morgan said she wasn't sure if she would be able to stay open even if the pipes were thawed by Sunday evening.
She said in the past month she has lost about $15,000 in business from being unable to groom animals at her shop due to the water problem.