Ontario Provincial Police are investigating the theft of seven beagles from a Lakeshore property following a break-in.
The theft occurred early Saturday morning on Lions Club Road, amid allegations of animal mistreatment on the property in the Windsor-area community.
Philip Byrne, owner of the stolen beagles, is the animal control officer for Tecumseh and LaSalle, but would not offer any comment.
OAPC inspected kennel site
The town of Tecumseh released a statement regarding the condition of the outdoor kennel site where the beagles had been before they were taken.
Laura Moy, director of corporate services and a clerk, said two inspectors with the Ontario Animal Protection Centre (OAPC) were at the kennel site on Friday afternoon.
"The inspectors found the kennels to be in an acceptable condition, as well as the dogs. Given the findings of the OAPC inspection, no change in the relationship between the town and dog control officer is being considered at this time," Moy said.
The municipality of Tecumseh also said it would not change its relationship with Byrne.
A Save The Beagles Facebook group was created to call for better conditions for dogs on the Lakeshore property, alleging the animals were mistreated.
"I hope they're found and I hope they're safe right now," said Jenn Brooks, leader of the Facebook group, which held a protest last weekend calling for better treatment of the dogs.
Brooks's allegations, however, have not been proven.
Sherri Breaton, a member of the Facebook group, was among those at the protest on Saturday.
"I rescue dogs that come from the south that are coming out of situations just like this, so you know, just for me, to see this, these are dogs that we would normally rescue," she said.
"I don't understand how it's acceptable that they're out there like that."
Breaton said she believes the dogs had been treated unfairly, but theft was not something the group wanted.
The municipality of Lakeshore said it became aware June 3 of concerns over alleged mistreatment of animals.
"The provincial animal welfare authorities have been contacted and are investigating the allegations," officials said in a media release on Friday.
The police service is asking anyone with information to reach out to investigators or contact CrimeStoppers.