31 dogs rescued from property in Clearwater: B.C. SPCA

Three of the 31 dogs rescued by the B.C. SPCA in the province's Interior last week. (B.C. SPCA - image credit)
Three of the 31 dogs rescued by the B.C. SPCA in the province's Interior last week. (B.C. SPCA - image credit)

The B.C. SPCA says it has rescued 31 dogs from an "irresponsible breeder" in Clearwater, B.C., following an animal cruelty investigation.

The owner surrendered the animals after protection officers with the society executed a search warrant for their property on Feb. 15, according to the B.C. SPCA's Eileen Drever.

"These dogs were living in a dark outbuilding with no adequate heating, and the odour of ammonia was quite strong," Drever said. "They were psychologically in distress. They were so fearful, they were terrified of our animal protection officers that were going in there to help them."

The dogs were a mixture of breeds, including dachshunds, poodles and mini schnauzers, Drever said.

One of the dachshunds had an abdominal mass so large it was dragging on the ground and, after the dog was taken to a vet, it had to be put down because there was no way to help it or ease its pain.

The rest of the animals are dealing with a variety of behavioural and physical issues, Drever said.

She said it is yet another example of animals being treated as "commodities" rather than living creatures with their own needs.

"It makes me really, really angry," she said. "The dogs were getting the basics of food and water, but not their other needs."

Drever said the B.C. SPCA is recommending charges against the owner, and is forwarding a report to the B.C. Prosecution Service for assessment.

None of the animals are currently being put up for adoption, as they need significant rehabilitation work, Drever said.

Beware backyard breeders

Drever said the case is yet another reminder of the importance of seeking out reputable breeders or adoption agencies when searching for a pet.

She said breeders should allow potential pet owners to see not just the puppies, but their entire family and the conditions they are being kept in. They should also ask questions about the home the dogs will be moving into, show interest in their welfare, and not appear to be just "making a buck," she said.

"If anyone wants to meet you in a parking lot, that should be a no-go," she said.

She said anyone with concerns about an animal cruelty situation should contact the B.C. SPCA's animal helpline at 1-855-622-7722.