Car crashes into pet shelter

A vehicle slammed into the front of the Winnipeg Pet Rescue Shelter early Friday, damaging the building but none of its residents.

“I understand the gentleman just lost control and went through the window of our retail area,” said Carla Martinelli-Irvine, founder and director of the organization at 3062 Portage Avenue.

Martinelli-Irvine said a staff member arrived to open the doors around 8 a.m., seeing the damage that had occurred shortly before.

“Thank goodness all the animals were locked up and no one was hurt,” she said, adding that the driver, staff and animals in the vehicle were safe. However, the building appears to have suffered considerable damage.

“The glass has been dented and there is structural damage.”

The no-kill charity shelter does not own the building, so the incident will fall under the owner’s insurance, she said. Martinelli-Irvine was still trying to reach the owner of the building a few hours after the accident to find out what the owner planned to do.

The no-kill charity shelter does not own the building, so the incident will fall under the owner’s insurance. (Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press)

Workers were boarding the building and staff were trying to keep themselves and animals warm with portable heaters. A few cats that can normally roam freely indoors had to be caged to prevent them from jumping out of the open space or stepping on shards of glass, Martinelli-Irvine said.

“They’re not too happy about it,” she said.

While the car that broke into the gift shop caused some product to be lost, Martinelli-Irvine said it was an insignificant amount.

More worrying is the loss of space in which to sell its products. She estimated that the shelter brings in around 50% of its income through the shop, adding that the adoption fees themselves bring in nothing.

“It’s going to be a bit of a nightmare for the shelter,” she said. “I’m really trying to focus on the fact that no one was hurt. But it’s not a good wake-up call, that’s for sure.”

Martinelli-Irvine praised the quick action of firefighters and said she hopes the community will support the pet rescue as he recovers. For now, she says, it’s one step at a time, trying to clean up the place and fix things in order.

The shelter currently houses 15 puppies (with several more placed in temporary homes) and 50 cats, Martinelli-Irvine said.

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Cody Sellar

Cody Sellar
Community journalist

Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for The Times. He’s a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, detective, lazy man, book reader and lover of concise biographies. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 204-697-7206.

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