Mission, B.C., animal rescue loses appeal to have 63 dogs returned after SPCA seizure
The operator of a dog rescue in Mission, B.C., has lost her bid to have 63 dogs returned to her care after they were seized by the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
SPCA staff seized the dogs from Dogway Dog Rescue on Jan. 4 after they deemed the animals were facing a range of medical and behavioural problems.
It said the animals were also being kept in substandard conditions in a garage and various rooms inside the home. Welfare officers said the animals were subject to unsanitary conditions, overcrowding and high ammonia levels caused by urine.
At the time of the seizure, 20 dogs still remained at the rescue.
According to the British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board (BCFIRB), Cherry Latour, 74, has been running the Dogway Dog Rescue since 1993 and registered it as a society in 2011.
The SPCA said it has issued more than a dozen notices to the rescue regarding adequate care for animals.
On Jan. 31, Latour filed an appeal the BCFIRB to have the animals returned to her.
The appeal to determine whether the animals were in distress at the time of the seizure and whether it was in the best interests of the animals to return them to the rescue was heard on March 1-2.
Despite Latour and supporters providing testimony and evidence that the rescue was properly caring for dogs and that efforts had been made to improve operations and conditions, the BCFIRB ruled the animals should not be returned.
"The panel finds that [Latour's] efforts have not been sufficient to warrant the return of the animals," read the appeal decision.
"It is clear from the evidence, and in particular the evidence of the expert witnesses, that both medically and behaviourally, all of the animals suffered to varying degrees behaviourally and many were in need of medical treatment at the time of the seizure."
The decision also agreed with the amount of costs the SPCA is seeking from Latour. She has been ordered to pay $75,392.71 for veterinary costs, time in attending the seizure, and housing, feeding and caring for the dogs.
B.C. Supreme Court petition
When contacted by CBC News, Latour did not immediately agree to speak about the appeal decision.
On March 21, a petition was filed in B.C. Supreme Court on her and the rescue's behalf to set aside the appeal decision to not return the dogs because the review board allowed inadmissible and tainted evidence.
The BCFIRB has 21 days to respond to the petition.
The SPCA told CBC News at the time of the dogs' seizure that it supported reputable animal rescues, but there was little oversight in the province for operations.
The SPCA's Eileen Drever said she hoped the case would serve as a lesson about the responsibilities required in caring for an animal.