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'My heart just broke': Manitoba family looks for answers after dogs found beaten, dead

CBCCBC 26/10/2016 Riley Laychuk

Nicole Inkster says she believes her dogs were targeted and says the incident has left her family heartbroken. © Riley Laychuk/CBC Nicole Inkster says she believes her dogs were targeted and says the incident has left her family heartbroken. When Nicole Inkster looked into her backyard in Clanwilliam, Man., last Wednesday, she didn't see her dogs and knew something wasn't right. 

Two of the family's three dogs were nowhere to be found, and the backyard was a mess. A search soon started, as it is unlike her dogs to be away from home. 

After days of looking, she, her husband and the couple's three kids found one of the dogs, a four-year-old Norwegian Elkhound named Duke, severely injured in a ditch about a kilometre from the small village, located about 200 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. 

Dutchess, a four-year-old Husky, was found dead not long after.

"My heart just broke," Inkster told CBC News Tuesday. "I was angry, I was sad, I was upset."

Duke, still alive, was rushed to a vet in Brandon, Man., where he had surgery on his eye which was protruding. He had a number of other injuries and is still at risk of losing a leg, Inkster said. 

"As soon as we found them, we wanted to go and find the person that did it, you know?" she said. 

Inskter isn't sure where her dogs spent the four days they were missing or how they were injured, but believes they were targeted and beaten. The family has reported the incident to the RCMP. 

The family's third dog, a border collie named Pepper, wasn't injured but her dog house was knocked over and a week later, she is still frightened.

Inkster said the incident has left people in the small village looking for answers and wondering who would want to hurt an animal. So are her three kids, aged seven, eight and 12.

"We're such a small community, and we're tight," Inkster said. "It scares everybody."

"I don't even want to let my kids play outside anymore due to the amount of damage that we've been dealing with," Inkster said.

Mounting vet bills have prompted Inkster to start a GoFundMe campaign with the hope of grabbing the attention of close friends and family to help with costs that could go as high as $5,000. 

She said though that since news of the attack surfaced, strangers and others have donated thousands of dollars to the family. 

"I'm so overwhelmed. I don't even know how to even say thank you," she said. "I can't say thanks enough to everyone that's been helping." 

"You don't expect complete strangers to go out of the way and give the amount they give." 

'How do you live with yourself?' 

Inkster said any extra money will be donated back to local animal rescues to help more animals locally. She has a message for whoever hurt her dogs, who are considered family. 

"How do you live with yourself?" she said. "How could you do something like that to an animal who can't even properly defend themselves? What if this was your kid?"  

Inkster hopes Duke can come home in a few days time to finish his recovery after a surgery on Tuesday. Dutchess will be cremated. 

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