Seized dog gets second chance

One of 61 dogs rescued from squalor at rural Manitoba property last month has found a new home.

One of 61 dogs rescued from squalor at a rural Manitoba property last month has found a new home.

Copper is one of the lucky ones, having been adopted by a family in West St. Paul, a rural municipality just north of Winnipeg.

Another 34 dogs seized from the Gull Lake property belonging to Peter and Judy Chernecki were in such poor health they had to be euthanized, said Bill McDonald, head of the Winnipeg Humane Society.

Many of the animals were covered in feces and urine and some were injured.

They had been living in a pair of windowless buildings separate from the Cherneckis' residence and many had likely never seen grass before, said McDonald.

When officials went to pick up the animals, they treated it like a hazardous materials site, he said.

Adoption might not be option for many dogs

An estimated 24 dogs at the Humane Society may never be in a condition to go to new homes, McDonald added, noting they are suffering a range of physical and psychological issues.

The Humane Society has already spent thousands of dollars trying to get them healthy again, he said.

Copper, however, seems to be doing well in his new home.

Owner Georgette Lang said her new family member is a bit skittish but "he's very responsive to attention from us.

"It'll take some time [for him to be completely comfortable], but we're very attached already. And he's definitely improving from moment to moment."

While Copper's demeanour is gentle, his appearance suggests a much more tempestuous background story.

"He's got hundreds of scars on his face and he's got pieces of his ears missing, like, cuts through his ears," said Lang.

"And some teeth are broken or shattered. So he looks rough but he's a beautiful — he's a gorgeous rough."

The Humane Society has received a lot of calls from people interested in adopting the dogs, so much so, in fact, that a name draw was held.

Lang's name was picked first.

"We didn't want any of them to have to be left behind. We wanted to make sure that we were going to be able to save at least one life and give them a better life than they had," she said.

Peter Chernecki told CBC News shortly after the animals were seized 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.