B.C. SPCA issues call to help care for 119 surrendered dogs

·3 min read
The B.C. SPCA is asking for the public's help in caring for 119 dogs surrendered near Fort Nelson, B.C. (B.C. SPCA - image credit)
The B.C. SPCA is asking for the public's help in caring for 119 dogs surrendered near Fort Nelson, B.C. (B.C. SPCA - image credit)

The B.C. SPCA is asking for the public's help in caring for 119 small dogs surrendered into care from a property near Fort Nelson on March 12.

Eileen Drever, the organization's senior protection officer, says she has never seen anything like it.

"I can say in my 41 years with the B.C. SPCA, I've never experienced so many dogs surrendered at one time," Drever said. "Unbelievable."

Dever says the owners were simply overwhelmed and reached out for help.

"The owners of these dogs were just as vulnerable as the animals we removed," she said.

The SPCA says the dogs are severely matted and undernourished, and will require grooming care as well as treatment for dental and eye issues.

Some of the surrendered dogs are pregnant, and many are fearful of human contact and will require ongoing behavioural support.

"It's just heartbreaking looking into the eyes of these animals," Dever said.

B.C. SPCA say the 103 adult dogs and 16 puppies were matted and malnourished, but the owners were simply overwhelmed and reached out for help
B.C. SPCA say the 103 adult dogs and 16 puppies were matted and malnourished, but the owners were simply overwhelmed and reached out for help(B.C. SPCA)

Marcie Moriarty, chief enforcement and prevention officer for the B.C. SPCA, says there is no evidence the individuals were breeding dogs for sale, and no animal cruelty charges are being recommended in the case at this time.

"They did the right thing in asking for assistance and the SPCA was happy to support them," Moriarty said.

SPCA shelters in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek accepted, assessed and treated 103 adult dogs and 16 puppies. Some are now being transferred to other SPCA facilities in the province to ease the pressure on the two shelters.

The mix-breed dogs included terriers, shih tzus, and papillions.

The B.C. SPCA is hoping animal lovers will help with the animals' ongoing care.

"Managing an unexpected intake of 119 dogs has put a huge strain on our financial resources and, as a non-profit organization, we are very grateful for the public's support," Moriarty said. "In the first three days veterinary costs are already over $14,000." .

The dogs are not currently available for adoption.

BC SPCA say the surrendered dogs are mostly small cross-breeds, including Terriers, Shih Tzus, and Papillions.
BC SPCA say the surrendered dogs are mostly small cross-breeds, including Terriers, Shih Tzus, and Papillions. (B.C. SPCA)

Shawn Eccles, senior manager of cruelty investigations with the BC SPCA, says Fort Nelson RCMP alerted the society about the issue on Thursday.

"Our initial indication was that there were only 25 to 30 dogs on the site," Eccles told Carolina De Ryk on CBC's Daybreak North.

"When we arrived on site, found that we were in excess of 60 or 70 and it turned out to be 119."

Fort Nelson Fire Department and RCMP officers were called into the remote location to help SPCA staff.

Eccles says the SPCA is still investigating why the owners had 119 dogs.

He says they also don't know yet if the owners have had previous experience with animals being seized or surrendered.