BALA Brandon’s 911 for lost and found pets

Darryl Wolski
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For many of us our pets are without a doubt a key part of our homes.  When they go missing, what do you do to locate them other than put up posters on community billboards or local message forums? Now, you have the option of contacting the BALA (Brandon Area Lost Animals) for assistance.

Brandon Area Lost Animals has become Brandon and Westman’s go to resource if your pet has gone missing, or if you have found a stray dog or cat.  Toni Gramiak and husband Chris spend countless hours, as well dollars, helping find homes for these missing animals.   Truly a thankless job.

BDNMB had a chance to sit down with Toni to talk about what makes BALA tick.

BDNMB.CA: Toni how long has BALA existed?
Toni: Since 2012 it was founded and inspired by a greyhound named King, Mark Burgess’s dog. Facebook page Help Find King. Sadly King was never recovered, but the knowledge, experience and equipment gathered for him has saved hundreds if not thousands of animals. Mark will gladly speak to you also.

BDNMB.CA: Financially how do you keep things afloat?
TONI: The BALA Community that donates toward specific animals or projects. Funds for Furry Friends has also assisted with helping with vetting and spays or neuters through their programs.

BDNMB.CA: Is their a specific area or region you cover?
Toni: We assist southwestern Manitoba,with majority of the requests to post being in Brandon. If necessary, we travel outside our area to capture scared dogs. Recently I went to Cromer and captured a pug. He had gone missing from Maryfield Saskatchewan and I delivered him home. I’ve gone to other areas to humanely trap, including Winnipeg, Beausejour, Woodlands, Selkirk.

BDNMB.CA: Do you have any numbers or stats on success stories?
Toni: I haven’t tabulated stats, although sliding through profile photos, the captions indicates the outcome.

BDNMB.CA: How can people help?
Toni: The BALA Community helps by sharing & liking alerts, increasing awareness of BALA, and tagging people who have lost or found a pet we’ve posted.

BDNMB.CA: Will the city or Province be of assistance?
Toni: The City of Brandon assists by supporting BALA. The Animal Control Officers, Police Officers, BPS receptionists. The Mayor has even gone to bat for me, to allow me to postroad signs in Brandon so we could trap Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell is a boxer mix who was running in a blind panic all around the outskirts of Brandon, in the highways and on the busiest streets in Brandon. After we got the signs up, I had her in the Humane trap within 12 hours.

It would be a dream come true if Provincial Animal Welfare would support our trapping endeavors, so we would have somewhere for trapped dogs to go. Then if unclaimed, the dogs would be available for rescue intake. Currently, very few RMs have Animal Services. Then I have a dog with nowhere to go into boarding, to decompress, rest and be held for owners to claim.

Personally, 18 months I lost one of my Samoyeds in a snow storm and within half an hour BALA had found him.  I couldn’t be more thankful for what Toni and her crew of volunteers do.